Over the weekend, President Trump and Saudi King Salman signed several deals regarding military and economic partnerships between the two countries. This includes a $110 billion investment deal as well as another $350 billion over the next 10 years.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has come out in strong opposition to the deals, condemning Saudi Arabia as having a “devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people.”
The congresswoman put out the following statement in response to the deals:
“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.” – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Additionally, she spoke out quite fervently on Twitter over the weekend:
These deals would appear to be in direct conflict with Gabbard’s proposed Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608), which has the stated purpose of ending American taxpayer funding of “weapons, training, and intelligence support to groups like the Levant Front, Fursan al Ha and other allies of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda and ISIS, or to countries who are providing direct or indirect support to those same groups.” Gabbard argues that U.S. arms deals such as these indirectly aid terror groups, as Saudi Arabia is considered by some to be one of the largest state sponsors of terrorism.