UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — US President Donald Trump ignored Congressional objections and approved the sale of $ 8 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, saying there was a national emergency because of tension with Iran.
The Trump administration told congressional committees on Friday it would go ahead with 22 arms deals with the three countries, while MPs were angered by Congress’s review of such sales, a long-standing procedure.
Members of Congress have been blocking the sale of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for months, worried about the massive civilian deaths caused by Yemen’s air campaign in Yemen and human rights abuses, including the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Some congressional deputies and congressional aides warned this week that Trump, frustrated by Congress’s disruption of arms sales, including the Raytheon precision-guided bomb deal for Saudi Arabia, is considering exploiting a loophole in the arms control law to push ahead with a national emergency.
“President Trump is using this gap only because he knows Congress will not agree … there is no new ‘contingency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop them in Yemen, and doing so will only perpetuate the humanitarian crisis there,” said Senator Chris Murphy.
Murphy, a Democrat on Twitter, said on Wednesday that Trump was considering exploiting the loophole in the arms control law to approve sales.
A number of Republican Trump colleagues, as well as Democrats, said they would oppose such a plan, fearing that it would destroy Congress’s ability to prevent the sale of weapons not only during the Trump presidency but also for future presidents.
Mike McCall, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the administration’s conduct was “regrettable” and would probably harm future White House interactions with Congress.
“I would have been much better used by the administration to review the long-standing sale of arms,” he said in a statement.
Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo said in a statement that US partners in the Middle East needed to complete arms contracts to help deter Iran and that the decision to bypass Congress was a “one-time” measure.
In documents sent to Congress and viewed by Reuters, Pompeo has included a wide range of products and services to be supplied to the three countries.
This includes precision guided munitions from Raytheon and support for Boeing’s F-15s and Jafflin anti-tank missiles produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
“I am disappointed, but I am not surprised that Trump’s administration has once again failed to prioritize our national security interests in the long term or to support human rights, and instead give preference to tyrannical states such as Saudi Arabia,” Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement.
Menander is a member of Congress who reviews such deals because he is the largest Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Republican chairman Jim Reese said he had received formal notification of the administration’s intention to proceed with “a number of arms deals.”
“I am reviewing and analyzing the legal rationale for this procedure and its associated implications,” Reish said in a statement.
In his memo to Congress to justify the deals, Pompeo recounted Iranian actions over the years.
“The evil Iranian activity is a fundamental threat to stability in the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad,” he said, citing “a number of alarming and alarming signs and warnings” from Iran.
Trump also announced that he would send an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East, most of them under preventive measures as tensions with Iran escalated.
Members of Congress from the Democratic and Republican parties are concerned that Trump is heading toward war with Iran.
Clark Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs, said the administration was responding to the important needs of partners.
“This is about deterrence, not war,” Cooper told Reuters by telephone.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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