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No Weapons Deal With Saudi Arabia

No Weapons Deal With Saudi Arabia


The Saudi-led war in Yemen has killed over 10,000 civilians and left 17 million Yemenis on the verge of starvation. President Trump's $110 billion weapons deal with the Saudi government directly supports this horrific Saudi bombing.

Congress can stop the U.S. from aiding and abetting the bloodshed in Yemen. Use your voice to urge your representatives to vote against this arms deal – and against U.S.-backed atrocities in Yemen.



Resources on the U.S. $110 Billion Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

On May 20, Donald Trump announced the sale of $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia during his first stop on his first international trip as U.S. president (fact sheet and joint strategic vision). At this time it is difficult to determine what items and services would be new and which would be carryover from the Obama administration, as well as when sales would be notified to Congress for their review. Media analysis suggests that perhaps about $24 billion dates to the Obama era, with the provision of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system being the most identifiable new potential sale.

On May 21, Trump addressed the Arab Islamic American Summit where he touted the deal and said, "We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship." That and other statements were widely interpreted as indicating that human rights would not be a factor in arms sales and other dealings with Saudi Arabia.

Precision Guided Munitions Sale Proposed - First Battle in Congress

On May 19, Congress was notified of the potential direct commercial sale of approximately $510 million in precision-guided munitions and related services, reversing a suspension that President Obama instituted in December 2016 due to concerns regarding civilian deaths caused by Saudi actions in Yemen. (Since 2015, the United States has supported a Saudi-led coalition aligned with ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi that has been fighting to capture territory in Yemen from the Houthi, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.)

On May 25, Senators Paul, Murphy and Franken introduced a resolution (S.J. Res 42) to block the sale. Six Representatives introduced (H.J. Res 102) the same resolution in the House. Many of these members of Congress were also involved in efforts to block a US-Saudi tank deal in 2016.

In related efforts, Senators Murphy, Paul, Durbin and Franken introduced S.J. Res 40 to suspend certain air-to-ground munition deliveries until the U.S. president certifies that the Saudis show commitment to fighting terrorism, facilitating the flow of humanitarian and commercial goods, and to protecting civilians in Yemen. Additional sponsors have since signed onto the resolution, which would apply to precision-guided munitions in this proposed sale. A similar resolution was introduced in the House on May 25 with 6 co-sponsors -- H.J. Res 104.

Congress can block the president from concluding an agreement if both chambers pass resolutions of disapproval within 30-days of notification of a proposed deal -- in this case that appears to be June 20. As of June 1, no date had yet been set for votes on S.J. Res 42 or H.J. Res 102, but the Senate at a minimum is expected to vote before the 30-day period ends. (Congress also can block a sale at any time up until delivery.)

On May 30, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination Stephen O'Brien addressed a special Security Council meeting on Yemen. In his testimony, O'Brien said Yemen now faces the world's largest food security crisis, "with more than 17 million people who are food insecure, 6.8 million of whom are one step away from famine." Alarmingly, a cholera outbreak has occurred, with 60,000 suspected cases since April and 150,000 new cases expected in the next six months. O'Brien predicted than an attack on Hodeida "will directly and irrevocably drive the Yemeni population further into starvation and famine." 

Now that Ramadan has begun, an invasion by Saudi-UAE led forces on the port of Hodeida appears less likely until after the holiday concludes in the last week of June. Numerous members of Congress and other leaders have expressed opposition to invasion of the port, through which the majority of humanitarian and commercial goods flow into Yemen despite damage to cranes and a de facto blockade.