The US Senate’s leadership has cleared the way for a series of votes on Thursday expressing disapproval of $8bn in US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE approved last month by President Donald Trump.
The Senate vote sets up a symbolic rejection of Trump’s claim that “emergency” circumstances require the US to provide Riyadh more precision-guided bombs because of “Iranian threats.”
Senator Bob Menendez, a top Democrat leader on foreign affairs, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican and political ally of Trump, are leading the challenge to the Saudi arms sales.
At least four Republicans have said ”they would join 47 Democrats to support the arms sale disapproval…These weapons won’t counter Iranian threats.”
”This is all about using them in Yemen,” Menendez said in remarks to the Senate.
Trump and his advisors used the emergency declaration to bypass a requirement in the Arms Export Control Act that Congress approve such arms sales amid growing opposition by politicians to providing US precision-guided weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The planned sale also provides for co-production and manufacture of high-tech bomb components in Saudi Arabia for the first time.
Al Jazeera/Olajumoke Adeleke