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Senate preserves Trump arms deal with Saudi Arabia

Senate preserves Trump arms deal with Saudi Arabia

The disputed sale of guided missiles is a small part of a major, $110bn package of arms - including M1 tanks, Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters - arranged by Trump on his May 20 visit to Riyadh.

Besides their intervention in Yemen, the USA and Saudi Arabia, along with a number of their regional allies, stand accused of providing weapons and funding various militant groups wreaking havoc in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

But Schumer, one of Trump's most outspoken critics within the government, took a remarkably different approach to a almost identical motion past year when a small group of senators attempted to block a Saudi arms deal approved by the administration of then-President Barack Obama. Toomey and Casey asking for support of Senate Joint Resolution 42, which would forbid export of advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia.

Trump's decision to move ahead with the sale appeared to reverse an Obama administration decision to hold sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia's armed forces after a Saudi airstrike on a funeral in Yemen past year killed more than 140 people. Proponents argue the sale would involve the United States in a proxy war in Yemen, arguing they need to take a stand against the humanitarian crisis that is taking place. "Why would we give weapons to a country that's funding ISIS?"

Under the Arms Control Act of 1976, Congress requires presidents to notify it of any pending arms sale, and in the case of sales to the Middle East to certify that any shipments would not adversely affect Israel's qualitative military advantage over its regional neighbours.

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"The flaws of the Saudi government are real", said Sen. In a June 8 statement, Joanne Lin, senior managing director for advocacy and government affairs at Amnesty International, stated that "by selling arms to Saudi Arabia, knowing that they may well be used to kill civilians in Yemen, the USA government may be complicit in serious violations of international law, including war crimes".

"There is no classified evidence that they purposely tried to kill civilians, and in fact we have the opposite, and they already own the bombs, and we're helping them not kill civilians". If anything, it has exacerbated it, and it has associated our name with Saudi Arabia's tactics in Yemenis' minds.

Make no mistake, Saudi Arabia has a very troubled record.

Murphy said while the vote didn't go their way, "displays the growing discomfort that the U.S. Senate has in the current Saudi policy", during a call with reporters after the vote. "The Saudi-led coalition is dropping the bombs, but the United States is making the bombs, refueling the planes, providing logistics support and otherwise enabling the coalition's war crimes".

"I'm afraid this vote is somewhat about some members wanting to get a piece of President Trump's hide", Corker said.

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