US Congress blocks Saudi arms sales in rebuke to Trump

Clay Curtis
July 20, 2019

Mr. Trump is likely to veto the measures, which were approved in three votes along party lines, and would be the third of his presidency and the second regarding Saudi Arabia.

The arms package, worth an estimated $8 billion, includes thousands of precision guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate - but not a veto-proof majority - objected to the move, which would replenish part of the Saudi arsenal that lawmakers say has been used against civilians in Yemen's long-running civil war.

Citing the humanitarian crisis in the Yemeni conflict and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the U.S. Congress has put on hold the pending arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He called the resolutions "extraordinary but necessary" to stop "a phony emergency to override the authority of Congress".

Opposition to Saudi arms sales has expanded since Congress restricted roughly $2 billion worth of weapons over concerns the kingdom was using them in the military campaign in Yemen and in response to the murder of USA -based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an outspoken Saudi dissident.

Court in Gibraltar Extends Iranian Tanker’s Detention for 30 Days
British media quoted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as saying Iranian authorities have also seized a Liberian-flagged tanker. Last week, a British warship in the Gulf warned off armed Iranian boats that tried to stop a United Kingdom supertanker.

"When we see what's going on in Yemen, it's so important for the United States to take a stand", House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel said on the House floor.

"Iran is stretching its tentacles of terror across the Middle East", said Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The GOP-led Senate has already passed the three bills, which will now go to Trump's desk.

Trump had in May bypassed the Congress to fast-track the sale of weapons worth Dollars eight billion to Saudi Arabia and the other two Gulf countries, citing escalating tensions with Iran in the region.

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