Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Why The U.S. Senate Hasn't Approved Any New Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia in Over A Year

Created: 28 November, 2018
Updated: 21 November, 2022
4 min read

The last time the U.S. Senate leadership brought up a resolution to approve another round of arms sales to Saudi Arabia was June 2017, and it was nearly defeated– passing by a narrow 53 to 47 votes.

That's because Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has had his sights set on ending U.S. arms sales to the Gulf Kingdom since long before the shockingly brazen, premeditated murder this October, of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A permanent resident of the United States living in Virginia, Khashoggi was lured to the Saudi embassy in Turkey where he was gruesomely tortured and killed by Saudi agents close to Mohammad bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:

"We don’t condone Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. But the kingdom is a powerful force for Mideast stability."

It's precisely because Rand Paul sees the Saudi kingdom as a force for instability in the Middle East, and the U.S. federal government's alliance with Saudi Arabia as a risk to the American people, that he has quietly built up a bipartisan coalition of Senators who aren't afraid to walk away from a bad deal.

Pompeo's words in the Wall Street Journal are hard to reconcile with the leaked private emails of John Podesta to Hillary Clinton, Pompeo's predecessor at the State Department, which included an unambiguous reference in 2014 to the State Department's awareness of Saudi support for the jihadist militant group ISIL:

"We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region."

A State Department diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2009 revealed the United States knew about Saudi Arabia's destabilizing influence in the Middle East back then too:

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide. While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority...More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources."

The Associated Press reported in August of 2018 that the Saudi government– a Sunni Islamic Theocracy– has secretly been working with Al Qaeda in its war in Yemen against the Shi'a Muslim Houthis who had nearly stamped out Al Qaeda and ISIL as they overthrew the repressive Hadi regime in an Arab Spring uprising:

"A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns the militants had seized across Yemen and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself."

It's surreal to say the least, that the administration of a U.S. president from New York City is continuing to align the United States with a coalition of forces in Yemen that includes Al Qaeda.

And while Donald Trump warned us that Hillary Clinton would be a war hawk in the Oval Office, and promised a stark departure from Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East, he has actually stepped up Barack Obama's unprecedented campaign of drone missile strikes in Yemen, with a staggering human cost.

In a recent interview with Margaret Brennan on Face The Nation (CBS), Sen. Rand Paul says he now has a veto-proof majority to block any future rounds of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The $110 billion "arms deal" touted by President Trump after touring Saudi Arabia in 2017 is approved piecemeal over a number of years by the U.S. Senate with resolutions passed by unanimous consent (if no one objects, the resolution is passed).

But these are "privileged resolutions," meaning any Senator can object to passing one by unanimous consent, and require every Senator to individually vote Yea or Nay– if it's brought up by the Senate leadership, that is. Paul says they haven't brought any new arms resolutions to the floor for approval because they know his tough on Saudi Arabia coalition has the votes to block it.

Read more

fair maps
Gerrymandering Reform: Are We Asking the Wrong Question?
Photo Credit:  ...
01 March, 2024
7 min read
joined hands
10 Reasons Why Americans Are Not as Divided as You Think
Photo by on  Party leaders, politicians, and media pundits and talking heads would have US voters b...
28 February, 2024
7 min read
LetUsVote: New Campaign Launches to End Discrimination Against Independent Voters
Open Primaries, in partnership with Unite America, announced the launch of LetUsVote Wednesday, a nationwide initiative that aims to mobilize and empower independent voters, who make up the largest voting bloc in the US but are treated like second-class voters....
27 February, 2024
4 min read
For Good or Bad, Primary Changes May Be Coming to Elections Near You
Photo Credit:  The last couple of years have seen an increase in states looking to change their prim...
26 February, 2024
4 min read
The Primary Problem: Only 8% of Voters Elect 83% of Our Representatives
In his latest podcast, former Democratic presidential candidate and Forward Party Co-Founder Andrew ...
26 February, 2024
3 min read
Blame This One on Secretary of State Weber
Eight years ago, there was a competition still in play between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wh...
26 February, 2024
4 min read