Democrats to back Republican opposition of Saudi arms deal

Democrats to back Republican opposition of Saudi arms deal

Initially negotiated under the Obama administration but never approved by Congress, the munitions sale is part of the much bigger, $110 billion package of military equipment president Trump recently pledged to send the kingdom during his visit there last month.

"Senate preserves Trump arms deal with Saudi Arabia".

Paul, who challenged Trump for the GOP presidential nomination as a leader of the party's non-interventionist wing, sharply criticized Saudi Arabia during remarks on the Senate floor.

The U.S. Senate narrowly voted 53-47 along largely partisan lines to approve a $510 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Democrats expressed stronger dissent over the weapons deal this time around than they did for a $1.15 billion deal made last September under the Obama administration, when just 27 senators voted against the sale.

"I can list 20 reasons why I'm very concerned about giving them weapons, but one of those things also coming up this week is we're unhappy with Iran for developing ballistic missiles".

Today's unprecedented opposition to yet another arms sale to Saudi Arabia is a welcome step towards restoring sanity and common sense to America's foreign policy.

Nonetheless, the resolution's supporters argue that if the measure receives backing from a substantial number of senators, it could send a message to Riyadh and its allies, particularly in regards to the conflict in Yemen, that US support for Saudi Arabia in the conflict is not unconditional. The United States has provided other assistance in the form of intelligence and refueling for Saudi aircraft on bombing missions.

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The Senate, which rejected Paul's plan on Tuesday, should have finally told the Saudis no more support until they stop the abuses.

Tuesday's vote "sends an overwhelmingly clear message that it's not going to be business as usual between the USA and Saudi Arabia", Andrea Prasow of Human Rights Watch told FP.

FCLN notes: "S.J.Res. 42, originally introduced by Senators Paul, Murphy and Franken, is a resolution of disapproval for the $550 million sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that replenishes stockpiles of weapons the kingdom is using in its war in Yemen".

But senators backing the deal argued that the specific arms being sold to Saudi Arabia in this agreement would actually help them avoid civilian casualties.

He mentioned blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced by the Saudi government to ten years in prison and a thousand lashes for insulting Islam in his blog. "Values do mean something.' And that we shouldn't be offering our weapons and our support to a country with these awful abuses", Paul said.

The handout provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 22, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump waving as they board Air Force One before leaving Riyadh.

Paul did not expect his resolution to advance or be taken up by the House but said there was a "certain symbolism" in it and it was about sending a message to the Saudis.

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