A procedural proposal from Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul was rejected by a vote of 67 to 30, amid a recent impasse in Congress over US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is one of America’s most steadfast allies. But Saudi Arabia has had a leading role in the civil war in adjacent Yemen, which has blocked supplies of basic necessities such as fuel, food and medicine to Yemen. Also, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has a role in the assassination of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. These events have tested the strength of the country’s relationship with America.
“We could have stopped this war if we really wanted to do it,” Paul said in the Senate. The whole of America should be shocked by the humanitarian disaster caused by the Saudi blockade in Yemen.
Paul was accompanied by liberal leaders such as Utah Republican Sens Mike Lee, Vermont MP Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts MP Elizabeth Warren and Washington MP Patty Murray in the effort to curb arms sales.
This is not the first time a bipartisan group of lawmakers has tried to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Congress has repeatedly tried to stop former President Donald Trump from selling Arab weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Biden himself vowed during his presidential campaign in November 2019 that he would in fact not sell any more weapons to the Saudis. But since the election in 2020, Biden has taken a different step.
In a statement, the administration condemned efforts to halt the sale, arguing that “it would undermine the President’s commitment to aid in the defense of an ally in Saudi Arabia in light of an increase in missile and drone attacks against civilians.” .”
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who supports arms sales, said stopping it would further reduce American influence in the world. He also argued that countries like Russia or China would take advantage of this gap and provide them with weapons.
AP Surbhi Manisha