Rand Paul Takes A Stand Against Sale With Saudi Arabia

Aug 15th, 2016 | By | Category: News Posts

Last week, the US approved the potential sale of military arms, including over 130 tanks, hundreds of machine guns and other military gear and supplies valued at $1.5 billion, to Saudi Arabia. In that same week, Saudi Arabia resumed air strikes on Yemen for the first time in three months, which resulted in the death of 14 people and the shutdown of the airport in Yemen’s capital.

Saudi Arabia has bombed virtually every school and hospital in Yemen with US and EU supplied weapons

Saudi Arabia has bombed virtually every school and hospital in Yemen with US and EU supplied weapons

State Department spokesperson, Elizabeth Trudeau, didn’t directly comment on whether or not the State Department was worried that Saudi Arabia was using US weapons against civilians.

The State Department backed the proposed deal, despite concern that the deal would symbolize American approval of Saudi Arabia’s military activities in Yemen. “This proposed sale is aimed toward strengthening Saudi Arabia’s long-term defense capabilities,” David McKeeby, an official from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, said in a statement. He continued, “if finalized, this proposed sale will require major refurbishment of some existing tanks, and manufacturing of the rest over the course of several years.”

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency also backed the sale in a statement, “this proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic regional partner which has been and continues to be a leading contributor of political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.”

Nazarene_Pin_Ad_300pxCongress has thirty days to block the sale and Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul, intends to do so. Senator Paul told Foreign Policy magazine, “I will work with a bipartisan coalition to explore forcing a vote on blocking this sale. Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East.”

However, Sen. Paul isn’t the only one feeling uncertainty about the sale. Connecticut Senator Christ Murphey also spoke out against it, pointing out the high causality rate of civilians in Yemen and the diminishing efforts in Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against ISIS, “I’d like to see them commit to rejoin that fight as part of major new military sales.”

In April of 2016, Senator Paul teamed up with Democratic Senator, Chris Murphey, to introduce legislation that would prevent further support from the United States to Saudi Arabia’s military campaigns that have “led to a devastating humanitarian crisis and a security vacuum that has empowered our terrorist enemies al Qaeda and ISIS.”

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