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Rand Paul wants the Senate to stop Trump’s plan to pump weapons into Saudi Arabia

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Unread 05.24.17, 04:33 AM
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Rand Paul wants the Senate to stop Trump’s plan to pump weapons into Saudi Arabia

05.23.17 11:20 AM

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants to force a Senate vote on the $110 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia signed by President Donald Trump during his first trip overseas.

Trump on Saturday signed the defense agreement, saying it would help the Saudis do more to fight terror and instability in the Middle East.

“That was a tremendous day,” Trump said of the deal. “Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The deal would crank up production within the U.S. military industrial complex to provide the Saudis with combat ships, personnel carriers, missiles, bombs, munitions and missile defense systems.

But Paul argues the U.S. should avoid providing additional armaments to Saudi Arabia to avoid dragging American service members into a worsening Saudi-led civil war in Yemen.

It’s a fear shared by Human Rights Watch, which said of the situation in Yemen:
The scars of unlawful airstrikes can be found across Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition has carried out scores of attacks that hit homes, schools, markets, and hospitals since March 2015, when it began its military campaign against the Houthi armed group and forces loyal to the former longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Human Rights Watch has documented 81 apparently*unlawfulcoalitionattacks over the last two years, many possible war crimes. In almost two dozen of these cases, including the attack on the funeral hall, we were able to identify the US weapons that were used.

According to the United Nations, at least 4,773 civilians have been killed and 8,272 wounded since this conflict began, the majority by coalition airstrikes. The war has driven Yemen, already the poorest nation in the Middle East, toward humanitarian catastrophe. Both the coalition and Houthi-Saleh forces have blocked or restricted critical relief supplies from reaching civilians. Seven million people face starvation, and cholera ravages parts of the country.

Trump should be urging the Saudis to shift course by abiding by the laws of war and holding those responsible for past abuses to account. Instead he will effectively be telling them to continue as before and not to worry – the flow of US weapons will not stop.

Paul, who protested similar weapons deals from the Obama administration, is expected to produce legislation later this week that would allow lawmakers to weigh in on the potential consequences of going through with the deal.

Despite Trump’s talk about changing the U.S.’s role in the Middle East during the campaign, a successful effort to stop the arms deal would be more surprising than the*president’s decision to promise weapons to the Saudis. That’s because Saudi Arabia has intimate ties to the U.S. military industrial complex going back decades.

When it comes to foreign policy, the Washington political establishment and the House of Saud go hand in hand. For a contingent of Trump voters concerned about the Saudis past failures to denounce Islamic terror, that was much of the reason to reject former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bid for president. Clinton’s leaked emails and a paper trail at her family foundation provided reason to believe that a Clinton administration would guarantee rubber stamp approval for all Saudi actions.

Trump mentioned Saudi Arabia several times on the campaign trail– but he focused largely on the nation’s awful human rights record rather than how he planned to continue the tradition of arms dealing to a country with questionable ties to terror organizations.

Similar legislation produced by Paul to halt a $1.5 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia was shot down in the Senate in September.

The post Rand Paul wants the Senate to stop Trump’s plan to pump weapons into Saudi Arabia appeared first on Personal Liberty®.

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