Saudi Arms Sale Clears Contentious Senate Vote

In the end, just a handful Democrats joined most Republicans in backing Mr. Trump, resulting in a 53-47 vote of approval for his deal to proceed.

Yemen's spiraling humanitarian crisis, in which 18.8 million people are in dire need of aid, and Trump's increasingly cozy relationship with Riyadh have human rights advocates and humanitarian workers anxious that the coalition will continue its war in Yemen with impunity.

This week, they'll get that chance when the Senate votes on my resolution to stop this weapons sale.

In a statement Monday, Schumer expressed concerns that sending the Saudi's more than $500 million worth of precision-guided munitions will worsen the humanitarian crisis in the region.

The bipartisan effort to block Trump's arms deal is lead by Sens.

The precision munitions are part of Trump's proposed $110 billion arms package to Riyadh, which the administration said would create while also improving a key ally's military capability.

The agreement, which will take effect immediately, was hailed by the White House as "a significant expansion of the security relationship" between the two countries. Paul cast the vote as a referendum on US support for the Saudi air campaign and Congress' opportunity to assert its war-making responsibilities.

The group believes the arms deal will exacerbate many problems in the Middle East, such as the civil war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is supporting the ousted government.

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"Despite increased U.S. support in the form of training and smarter weaponry to lessen civilian casualties, it has become clear that several unaddressed flaws in Saudi Arabia's targeting process, not the precision of the munition or targeting skill, are the principal cause of harm", read a letter signed by Oxfam and 40 other humanitarian groups and sent to every member of the U.S. Senate.

The Obama administration expressed concern over the way Saudi Arabia was conducting its military operations in the Yemen civil war when barring the sale a year ago.

Opponents of the sale also pointed to the mushrooming humanitarian crisis in Yemen, as the war is marked by cholera and starvation. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, and Sen. Many Democrats who just a year ago voted to back a tank deal negotiated by President Obama voted against Mr. Trump's deal.

Critics of the arms deal pointed to allegations that Saudi aircraft have killed Yemeni civilians with US weapons while attacking rebel forces backed by Iran.

At the time, Schumer voted against rejecting Obama's deal.

The handout provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 22, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump waving as they board Air Force One before leaving Riyadh.

Republicans argued that though Saudi Arabia does not have a great track record on human rights or terrorism, it remains an important ally in the fight against ISIS and efforts to counter Iran.

  • Myrtle Hill