Senate votes to support Trump's weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

Senators Can Save Yemen From Saudi-Imposed Famine: They Must Act

Schumer noted that the Trump administration "has not clearly articulated how the US will put pressure on Saudi Arabia to end their support of Wahhabi schools, even as it claims President Trump's recent visit to Riyadh was focused on curtailing terrorism in the Middle East".

Senate Democrats will give their support to Republican Senator Rand Paul in opposing a segment of an arms deal agreed by US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia.

Vote to support the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

Selling more than $100 billion worth of arms - including $500 million in precision-guided munitions - to Saudi Arabia while they continue to commit alleged war crimes is a disgusting and unsafe plan.

The vote Tuesday was 53-47, clearing the way for the sale to be finalized.

On Monday, Paul went on CNN to voice his concern with Trump's Saudi deal.

"We would stop this evil by sending a loud message to the President and a loud message to Saudi Arabia that we are not going to blindly support the arms race, we are not going to be blind to human rights transgressions", Paul said.

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"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".

He also quoted Hillary Clinton's email to John Podesta, released by Wikileaks, in which she urges the use of "diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region".

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 USA support for Saudi Arabia in the conflict is not unconditional. "Today, I stand up for the millions of voiceless children in Yemen who will be killed by the Saudi blockade", Paul said on the Senate floor.

Opponents of the sale also pointed to the mushrooming humanitarian crisis in Yemen, as the war is marked by cholera and starvation.

Republican Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, a Democrat, suspended the planned sale of precision-guided munitions in December because of concerns over civilian casualties in Yemen, where the civil war pits Iran-allied Houthi rebels against the government backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.

Saudi Arabia is not alone in receiving weapons from the United States - 103 nations bought weapons from the USA from 2012 to 2016. "Values do mean something.' And that we shouldn't be offering our weapons and our support to a country with these terrible abuses", Paul said. "There's a lot more we can do than sell them a weapons system without any constraints". The vote was framed by critics of the sale as a rebuke of Saudi Arabia's activities in the Yemen civil war. "Saudi airstrikes have completely destroyed Yemen with US -sold weapons", said Kate Kizer, from the Yemen Peace Project, one of the activist groups leading the effort.

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