US lawmakers seek delay in arms sale to Saudi Arabia

September 1, 2016
In The News

A bipartisan group of 60 lawmakers has signed a letter seeking to delay the Obama administration’s planned sale of $1.

15 billion in arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia, citing the growing number of civilian casualties in Yemen caused by the Saudi-led military coalition's airstrikes.

The letter, addressed to President Barack Obama, cites the growing number of civilian casualties in Yemen caused by the Saudi-led military coalition and the Obama administration’s failure to rein in its Arab ally.

“This military campaign has had a deeply troubling impact on civilians,” the letter, addressed to President Obama, said, noting that the Obama administration had failed to rein in its Middle East ally.

The letter, obtained by Foreign Policy magazine, said, “Just in the last several days, a Saudi airstrike on a school in Yemen killed 10 children — some as young as 6 years old — and a Saudi airstrike on a [Médecins Sans Frontières] hospital in Yemen killed 11 people.”

In a statement, Congressman Ted Lieu, a Democrat who led the letter campaign, said the “multiple, repeated airstrikes on civilians look like war crimes.

The proposed sale, approved by the State Department on Aug 9, includes up to 153 tanks, ammunition, hundreds of machine guns, and sundry other military equipment.

Congress has 30 days to block the sale, but the lawmakers appear irritated that notification of the sale came in the middle of their summer recess.

“Any decision to sell more arms to Saudi Arabia should be given adequate time for full deliberation by Congress,” wrote the lawmakers.

“We are concerned, however, that the timing of this notification during the August congressional recess could be interpreted to mean that Congress has little time to consider the arms deal when it returns from recess within the 30-day window established by law.”

Human Rights Watch has uncovered evidence that the Saudi regime has used cluster bombs, the American-made illegal munitions in the war.

The 18-month military campaign in Yemen has killed nearly 10,000 people, according to the United Nations.

The conflict has allowed terrorists to deepen their foothold in the impoverished country.