Senate Votes to Advance $1.15 Billion Saudi Arms Deal


Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) —  The Senate cleared the way Wednesday for a massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia to proceed, after voting against a resolution that would have blocked the transfer of $1.15 billion worth of military equipment to be sold from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia.

The bipartisan resolution was introduced in the Senate earlier this month amidst increased reports of civilian casualties in Yemen at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition.

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, who introduced the resolution, argued in part that by arming Saudi Arabia, the U.S. was complacent in these civilian deaths in Yemen.

Amnesty International said in a statement Monday that a U.S.-made bomb was used in a Saudi airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Yemen that killed 11 and injured 19.

While the humanitarian group expressed disappointment at Wednesday’s vote, they praised the increased “voice of dissent” in Congress regarding U.S. arms sales to Saudi.

“Today’s vote is the latest example of the growing voice of dissent in Congress when it comes to the United States’ selling arms to Saudi Arabia,” Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“U.S. officials know that the Saudi government continues dropping bombs on civilian communities and yet the Obama Administration continues selling it weapons. This arms deal is bad for the people of Yemen, bad for the region and bad for U.S. foreign policy. President Obama should cancel it immediately,” Berry added.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Chris Murphy argued that the situation in Yemen, in addition to being an “ongoing humanitarian disaster,” has also provided an opportunity for al-Qaeda and ISIS to “grow by leaps and bounds.”

“But the scope of this disaster for the purposes of U.S. national security interests is not just the radicalization of the Yemeni people against the United States, it’s not just the thousands of people that have been killed, but the fact that this war has given, has given ground, an opportunity, for al-Qaeda and ISIS to grow, grow by leaps and bounds,” Murphy said this morning, prior to the vote, on the Senate floor.

Following the results of the vote, Murphy said he was pleased about the message that the vote sent, regardless of the results.

“Never before have so many Senators gone on record supporting a rethink of the US-Saudi relationship. Didn’t win, but a strong message,” Murphy said on Twitter, adding, “Lots of Senators who voted for the sale mentioned to me how good it felt to be openly debating foreign policy in the Senate again.”

Sen. Rand Paul echoed Murphy’s sentiments in a tweet, saying, “Today we didn’t just debate Obama’s $1.15 billion Saudi arms deal, we debated constitutional principles and war.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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Senate Votes to Advance $1.15 Billion Saudi Arms Deal


Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) —  The Senate cleared the way Wednesday for a massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia to proceed, after voting against a resolution that would have blocked the transfer of $1.15 billion worth of military equipment to be sold from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia.

The bipartisan resolution was introduced in the Senate earlier this month amidst increased reports of civilian casualties in Yemen at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition.

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, who introduced the resolution, argued in part that by arming Saudi Arabia, the U.S. was complacent in these civilian deaths in Yemen.

Amnesty International said in a statement Monday that a U.S.-made bomb was used in a Saudi airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Yemen that killed 11 and injured 19.

While the humanitarian group expressed disappointment at Wednesday’s vote, they praised the increased “voice of dissent” in Congress regarding U.S. arms sales to Saudi.

“Today’s vote is the latest example of the growing voice of dissent in Congress when it comes to the United States’ selling arms to Saudi Arabia,” Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“U.S. officials know that the Saudi government continues dropping bombs on civilian communities and yet the Obama Administration continues selling it weapons. This arms deal is bad for the people of Yemen, bad for the region and bad for U.S. foreign policy. President Obama should cancel it immediately,” Berry added.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Chris Murphy argued that the situation in Yemen, in addition to being an “ongoing humanitarian disaster,” has also provided an opportunity for al-Qaeda and ISIS to “grow by leaps and bounds.”

“But the scope of this disaster for the purposes of U.S. national security interests is not just the radicalization of the Yemeni people against the United States, it’s not just the thousands of people that have been killed, but the fact that this war has given, has given ground, an opportunity, for al-Qaeda and ISIS to grow, grow by leaps and bounds,” Murphy said this morning, prior to the vote, on the Senate floor.

Following the results of the vote, Murphy said he was pleased about the message that the vote sent, regardless of the results.

“Never before have so many Senators gone on record supporting a rethink of the US-Saudi relationship. Didn’t win, but a strong message,” Murphy said on Twitter, adding, “Lots of Senators who voted for the sale mentioned to me how good it felt to be openly debating foreign policy in the Senate again.”

Sen. Rand Paul echoed Murphy’s sentiments in a tweet, saying, “Today we didn’t just debate Obama’s $1.15 billion Saudi arms deal, we debated constitutional principles and war.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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