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Senate rejects bipartisan bid to block $650 million Saudi arms sales

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NS Senate on Tuesday rejected a proposal from a bipartisan group of lawmakers to prevent the administration of President Joe Biden from selling more than $650 million worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, so that the deal goes ahead regardless. despite the gulf country’s dismal human rights record.

A procedural motion of Sen. Rand Paul a Kentucky Republican, was rejected in a 30-67 vote, just in the latest skirmish in Congress over US arms sales to the country.

Saudi Arabia is one of America’s most staunch allies in a volatile global region. But the country’s leading role in a civil war is nearby Yemen which has blocked the flow of necessities like fuel, food and medicine, as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the assassination of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi has tested the power of that relationship.

“We can stop this war if we really have the will to do it,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “All of America should be appalled by the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Saudi Arabia’s blockade of Yemen.”

Among those who join Paul in trying to stop the sale of weapons is Sens. Mike Lee, a Republican in Utah, as well as libertarians like Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Patty Murray of Washington

“The United States must do everything in our power to bring this brutal and horrifying war to an end,” Sanders said from the Senate floor. “Exporting more missiles to Saudi Arabia does nothing but deepen this conflict and add fuel to the already raging fire.”

This is not the first time a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has tried to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Congress repeatedly tried to block former Donald Trump from selling billions of dollars worth of weapons to the country – forcing the then president to issue some veto power.

Biden himself pledged during his November 2019 campaign to make Saudi Arabia “pariahs” while vowing that he “would practically not sell them any more weapons.”

But since his election in 2020, Biden has had a different strategy.

In a statement, the administration rejected efforts to block the sale, saying such action would “undermine the President’s commitment to support our partners’ defenses.” at a time of increasing missile and drone attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who favors the arms sale, said stopping it would further reduce US influence in the world. He also thinks that countries like Russia or China will step into the void and supply weapons, making this gesture meaningless.

“It will give the world one more reason to doubt the resolve of the United States, and it will give our greatest enemies a new footing in which to exert influence,” the Kentucky Republican said. them for a rapidly changing and important region.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/joe-biden-senate-rand-paul-yemen-washington-b1971737.html Senate rejects bipartisan bid to block $650 million Saudi arms sales

JACLYN DIAZ

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