September 23rd, 2016
Come Wednesday, Saudi Arabia will buy tanks and other armed equipment worth $1.15 billion according to a bill cleared by the U.S. Senate. This news comes in the face of the growing opposition of the incessant civilian killings in Yemen by US weapons. A total of 27 senators threw their support in the matter. The U.S State Department also announced their plan to sell military aircraft of $60 billion to Saudi Arabia in order to buttress a region perpetually overshadowed by Iran.
The bill saw backing of a bunch of lawmakers who described it as the beginning of an important diplomatic relation between the U.S and the Saudi. Andrew Shapiro, the Assistant Secretary of State for political-military affairs said in a speech, “We think it will enhance regional security and stability rather than diminish it”. Although the move has disappointed the UK, yet it diplomatically endorsed Obama’s policy of selling a record number of arms and ammunitions to the Saudi Arabia and other allies of the U.S in the war-ravaged Middle East.
The U.S administration under President Barrack Obama announced the deal last month on the same day when the Saudi Arabian coalition forces attacked and bombed a potato chip factory in the occupied Yemeni capital. Saudi Arabia has been ruling and bombarding Yemen since March 2015. In the following week, the Saudi Arabia forces bombed a children’s school, its principal’s house, a hospital and a bridge which was used for transporting humanitarian aid to the capital of Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is fighting against the Houthis, an ally of Iran. The Houthis had openly protested against the U.S move to send arms and supports to Saudi Arabia. The war has so far killed 10,000 people approximately and has made 3 million people homeless.
The U.S has been supplying Saudi Arabia with weapons worth $20 million for the past 18 months. Along with that, they have been regularly providing intelligence support and fuel for its air force. That comes to a total amount of $115 billion worth weapons which Obama government has sold to the Saudi Arabian forces.
On August 9, the Pentagon announced that the State Department have given nod to the sale of 130 Abrams tankers, 20 recovery vehicles fully armoured and other important war equipment to Saudi Arabia. The Defense Security Corporation Agency announced that the principal contractor of the sale will be the General Dynamics Corp.
Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn, and Rand Paul openly protested against the bill. Paul and Murphy said that if their resolution was successful, they would pursue a binding legislation. Murphy said, “It’s time for the United States to press ‘pause’ on our arms sales to Saudi Arabia.” Questioning U.S’s warmonger attitude, he further added, “Let’s ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the United States getting slowly, predictably, and all too quietly dragged into yet another war in the Middle East.“
Senator Al Franken, D-Minn strongly opposed the move said he support the resolution because, “very fact that we are voting on it today sends a very important message to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that we are watching your actions closely, and that the United States is not going to turn a blind eye to the indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children.”