r/worldnews – The Trump administration has formally notified Congress that it intends to sell nearly $500 million in precision bombs to Saudi Arabia, a transaction that will fuel criticism from lawmakers who oppose arming the Persian Gulf nation over its record of human rights abuses and role in the war in YemenDecember 24, 2020
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The Trump administration has formally notified Congress that it intends to sell nearly $500 million in precision bombs to Saudi Arabia, a transaction that is probably going to fuel criticism from lawmakers who object to arming the Persian Gulf nation over its record of human rights abuses and stifling dissent and role in the war in Yemen.
An particular person aware of the sale, who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to remark to the information media, mentioned the deal consists of 7,500 “Paveway IV” precision-guided bombs, price $478 million, which beneath the phrases of the settlement could be produced in the kingdom.
The proposed transaction, which has been in the works since early final yr, additionally consists of an inner safety communications programs price $97 million. Bloomberg first reported that the State Department despatched the notification on Tuesday.
William Hartung, director of the arms and safety program at the Center for International Policy, mentioned the sale shouldn’t go forward.
“Saudi access to tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions thus far has not diminished the civilian toll in Yemen, so Pentagon claims that more accurate bombs will reduce civilian casualties don’t hold up to scrutiny,” he mentioned in a assertion.
In August, the State Department mentioned its inspector basic discovered that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn’t break the regulation when he used an uncommon emergency declaration in 2019 to bypass bipartisan congressional opposition to a bigger arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
The gulf monarchy, with which the Trump administration has solid shut ties, has been the topic of bipartisan criticism over its war in neighboring Yemen, the place Saudi jets, utilizing U.S. precision munitions, have repeatedly bombed civilian targets as the kingdom has sought to weaken Iranian-linked rebels there.
Scrutiny of the longtime U.S. ally intensified after Saudi brokers carried out a brutal 2018 operation in opposition to Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributing columnist who was killed and dismembered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. U.S. intelligence officers concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.
Under arms sale guidelines, lawmakers have 30 days from the day of notification, or till Jan. 21, to move a decision of disapproval.
Congressional aides mentioned it was uncertain a vote on congressional disapproval would happen between now and when a new Congress takes over Jan. three as a result of it wouldn’t be veto proof. At the similar time, President Trump might subject an emergency declaration, as he did final yr, overriding any congressional objection, at any level.
A consultant for President-elect Joe Biden declined to touch upon the sale. Earlier this yr, Biden mentioned he would reassess the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia over its record on human rights and, particularly, the demise of Khashoggi, promising to guarantee that the United States would “not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.”
More just lately, Biden tapped retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, who has served as a member of Raytheon’s board, as his nominee to be protection secretary.
Addressing the new Raytheon transaction, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, mentioned Biden “should immediately reverse course if this deal does go through.”
A Democratic congressional aide mentioned the Trump administration was “trying to ram through even more arms sales to human rights abusers in its last month in office over clear congressional objections.”
A spokesman for Raytheon didn’t instantly present a remark.
In addition to the Saudi sale, the Trump administration despatched further arms sale notifications to Congress this week, together with small arms and small arms elements for Canada, Philippines and Mexico.
Officials are anticipated to ship notifications for plane missiles and different gadgets for Egypt.