This past weekend, President Donald Trump flew overseas to the Middle East, making stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel. While parked in the Saudi kingdom, Trump signed a $460 billion arms deal to “support Saudi Arabia’s defense needs.”
The deal enraged anti-war Americans and Trump supporters alike, while many in Washington paraded it. However, two representatives have stood in opposition.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) believes that the arms deal may drag the US into yet another unnecessary war, this time in Yemen. He hopes to force the US Senate to vote on the deal, as the Arms Export Control Act permits him to do. In September of last year, Paul attempted to block a similar deal with the Saudis.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is also less than enthused about the deal. Gabbard stated in a press release,
“Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. The hypocrisy in the Trump administration’s actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef’s ‘excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.’
This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world today. This arms deal will enable Saudi Arabia to use U.S.-made weapons in their war crimes against Yemeni civilians in a brutal civil war, and continue perpetuating human rights atrocities at home and abroad.”
Time will tell if more representatives in Washington will stand opposed to fraternizing with the nation which helped fund the 9/11 attacks on our soil, but at the moment, it appears Paul and Gabbard stand alone.