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Saudi Arabia Daily Arms Sales Update

Saudi Arabia Daily Arms Sales Update

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Powerful lobbies block efforts to restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Tasmin News, August 1, 2019, Israeli Lobby behind Senate Failure to Overturn Saudi Arms Sale Veto: US Analyst, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/08/01/2066729/israeli-lobby-behind-senate-failure-to-overturn-saudi-arms-sale-veto-us-analyst

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US Senate failed in its latest bid to block the controversial sale of $8.1bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia due to the influence of the powerful Israeli lobby in the United States, an American political analyst said. August, 01, 2019 – 12:18 World Comments Israeli Lobby behind Senate Failure to Overturn Saudi Arms Sale Veto: US Analyst “…Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also allies of Israel, which is extraordinarily powerful in the United States as well. The (US) President has a very close relationship with Israel, and the Israel lobby essentially controls much of the US Congress. The American petroleum industry and other US business interests also maintain massive holdings in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. For these reasons, the President vetoed the resolutions, and the resolutions did not receive enough support in the Senate to override the veto,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of attackthesystem.com, told Tasnim. Keith Preston was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States. He received degrees in Religious Studies, History, and Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard and the chief editor of AttacktheSystem.Com. He has also been a contributor to LewRockwell.Com, Antiwar.Com, Anti-State.Com, Taki’s Magazine, Radix Journal, and AlternativeRight.Com . He is the author of six books, and was awarded the 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize by the United Kingdom’s Libertarian Alliance. Keith has been a featured speaker at conferences of the National Policy Institute, H. L. Mencken Club, and Anarchapulco. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs and internet broadcast, and appeared as a guest analyst on Russia Today, Press TV and the BBC. The following is the full text of the interview. Tasnim: The US Senate has stopped short of forming a majority required to override President Donald Trump’s veto in July of three congressional resolutions aimed at blocking the country’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. What is your take on this? Preston: The three resolutions that were developed by members of Congress concerning Saudi Arabia and the UAE were rooted in four basic concerns. The first of these was Saudi Arabia’s role in orchestrating the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who as a columnist for the Washington Post was a member of the American media. The Washington Post is one of America’s leading publications, and the majority of the American media is supportive of the Democratic Party. The second issue is the ongoing war in Yemen, of which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been the primary instigators, and the de facto genocide that is being imposed on Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition, and the blockade to which Yemen has been subjected. The third consideration is Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s terrible human rights records. Saudi Arabia is a country that imposes medieval punishments for petty offenses and engages in the persecution of religious minorities and political dissidents. The UAE has a terrible human rights record as well. The fourth consideration is Saudi Arabia’s current drive to obtain nuclear technology and fears that Saudi Arabia may be seeking nuclear weapons. However, the Trump administration has been very close to Saudi Arabia and some of President Trump’s personal associates maintain business dealings in the kingdom. Additionally, both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are an important export market for American arms manufacturers, and the arms manufacturers exercise very powerful control over the US Senate, particularly the Republican Party. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also allies of Israel, which is extraordinarily powerful in the United States as well. The President has a very close relationship with Israel, and the Israel lobby essentially controls much of the US Congress. The American petroleum industry and other US business interests also maintain massive holdings in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. For these reasons, the President vetoed the resolutions, and the resolutions did not receive enough support in the Senate to override the veto. Tasnim: Congress has been trying to intervene in Washington’s untrammeled arms sales to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which have been leading an invasion of Yemen since March 2015. Congress also aimed at attempting to pressure the Saudi government to improve its human rights record. Why did Trump win the veto fight? Preston: The President specifically stated that he has vetoed these resolutions because of the perceived importance of Saudi Arabia as a trading partner and military ally of the United States. The range of economic, foreign policy, and international interests that have a stake in maintaining the US-Saudi and US-UAE relationships exercises considerable influence over the President’s thinking and policy actions. Tasnim: Since Trump won the 2016 election, a group of US businessmen has sought to profit on deals to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, while trying to avoid US restrictions designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, the House Oversight Committee said in a new report. Do you believe so? Please explain. Preston: Yes, it is readily apparent that Saudi Arabia wishes to build nuclear power plants, and that various US business interests, including those close to the President, have sought to assist Saudi Arabia with this effort. An effort of this kind would be in violation of US policies that are intended for the purpose of preventing nuclear proliferation. Given Saudi Arabia’s complete disregard for human rights, aggressive stance toward other nations, and support for terrorism, the possibility of Saudi Arabia acquiring nuclear technology is certainly cause for concern.

US can’t produce enough oil to replace Gulf oil if the Strait is shut-down

Matthew Petti is a national-security reporter at the National Interest, 8-1, 19, U.S.-China Competition Meets the Climate Challenge, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/us-china-competition-meets-climate-challenge-70651?page=0%2C1

Dimitri K. Simes, President of the Center for the National Interest, noted that with American energy independence, the growing tensions in the Persian Gulf have not led to increased oil prices until now. But he asked if this situation will remain the case if the crisis deepens. Even though the United States can blunt the impact of Middle Eastern oil producers on world markets, Saunders responded, “the U.S. is not producing enough oil and gas to support the global economy if the Persian Gulf is shut down.”

Veto override failed. Trump can sell arms to the Saudis

PBS, July 29, 2019, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-senate-vote-to-override-trump-vetoes-fail-allowing-saudi-arms-sales, WATCH: Senate vote fails to override Trump vetoes, allowing Saudi arms sales

The Senate has failed in a bid to override a series of vetoes issued by President Donald Trump, allowing the administration to move forward with plans to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Trump’s decision to sell the weapons in a way that would have bypassed congressional review infuriated lawmakers from both parties. In bipartisan pushback, Democrats and Republicans banded together to pass resolutions blocking the $8.1 billion weapons sales to the U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. A vote Monday to override Trump’s vetoes failed, 45-40. A two-thirds vote was needed.

Jobs are 3 one hundreths of one percent and they are jobs that are being exported to Saudi Arabia

Wiliam Hartung, July 30, 2019, Hartung — Ec the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. I am the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). My previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrations, Economics Sholdn’t Determine US-Saudi Arms Sales, https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhartung/2019/07/30/economics-shouldnt-determine-us-saudi-arms-sales/#6d6175eb39f2, Forbes

An independent assessment based on the actual value of U.S. arms transferred to Saudi Arabia on an annual basis indicates that Trump’s figures are wildly inaccurate. A reasonable figure for U.S. jobs flowing from weapons exports to Riyadh is in the range of 20,000 to 40,000, one-tenth or less of Trump’s estimate. That’s less than three-one hundredths of one percent of the total U.S. labor force of roughly 160 million people. Hardly an economic boon, especially when one considers that many of these jobs will reside in Saudi Arabia as a result of coproduction deals with Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and other U.S. weapons makers. And the process of exporting jobs to Saudi Arabia as part of arms packages is only likely to accelerate in the years ahead if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s goal of having 50% of the value of Saudi arms purchases produced in Saudi Arabia by 2030.

Better targeting weapons falsely assume civilians aren’t targeted

Casandra Stimson and William Hartung, 2019, Hartung — Ec the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. I am the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). My previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrationshttps://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/fb6c59_bd62e10ae7b745069e9a6fa897de6a39.pdf, US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia: The Corporate Connection

In total, civilian casualties from the fighting in Yemen total over 11,700, two-thirds of which are due to actions by the Saudi-led coalition – estimates that are likely underreported. Many casualties are directly linked to approximately 20,000 Saudi-led coalition air raids, which have employed U.S. bombs, missiles, and combat aircraft.8 Still, the Trump administration has pursued an aggressive arms sales agenda toward Saudi Arabia and its allies. The U.S. military has attempted to address concerns regarding civilian casualties through training of Saudi troops and the transfer of precision-guided bombs. However, confidence that more precise targeting will lead to lower civilian casualties assumes that civilians are not being purposefully targeted – a claim increasingly difficult to substantiate.

Casandra Stimson and William Hartung, July 2019, Hartung — Ec the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. I am the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). My previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrationshttps://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/fb6c59_bd62e10ae7b745069e9a6fa897de6a39.pdf, US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia: The Corporate Connection

Surges of violence around Yemen, a naval blockade implemented by the Saudi-led coalition, and obstruction by the Houthi-led opposition have limited humanitarian aid and restricted movement of goods, leading to immeasurable suffering. Already, over one million people have contracted cholera in the largest outbreak ever recorded, which neared 30,000 new cases a week in 2019.9 The United Nations estimates that 14 million people may be affected by famine, and that 230,000 Yemenis will have died over the course of the war by the end of 2019, 140,000 of them children.10 Over 255,000 people have been displaced in just the past six months.11 These numbers may be too large to conceptualize, but suffice to say that the war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.12

UAE has not completely withdrawn from Yemen

Casandra Stimson and William Hartung, 2019, Hartung — Ec the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. I am the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). My previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrationshttps://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/fb6c59_bd62e10ae7b745069e9a6fa897de6a39.pdf, US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia: The Corporate Connection

Though Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have pledged humanitarian aid funds, these efforts do little to counteract the overwhelming violence and destruction brought forth by their coalition, especially given recent re- ports that these promised funds have not been disbursed after four months.13 The United Arab Emirates has announced a substantial pullback of its troops from Yemen, but it will maintain a continued presence there, ostensibly to maintain the capability to collaborate with the United States in the fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, as an analysis by the New York Times has noted, the UAE withdrawal from areas involving fighting with the Houthi coalition will not be total: “The Emiratis will maintain a reduced presence in Aden, the main city in the south, and will continue to support a coalition of about 16 Yemeni militias, estimated to number about 20,000 men, who have been doing most of the fighting along the Red Sea coast in the Hudaydah area.”14

New Saudi arms deal allows Saudi Arabia to domestically produce US weapons, triggering missile proliferation and undermining the US defense industrial base

Fahrenkopf, July 24, 2019, Nolan Fahrenkopf is a research fellow at the Center for Policy Research’s Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES) at the University at Albany. GIVING SAUDI ARABIA GUIDED MUNITIONS TECH COULD HAVE HUGE CONSEQUENCES, https://warontherocks.com/2019/07/giving-saudi-arabia-guided-munitions-tech-could-have-huge-consequences/

The Trump administration also granted the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon permission to engage in technology transfers and support the domestic production of critical guidance components and equipment in Saudi Arabia for the Paveway smart bombs that are being used extensively in Yemen. While both the Senate and House have already moved to block the deal, it is unclear if they will be able to override a likely presidential veto. Beyond the debate over the ethical and strategic concerns over how these weapons are used in Yemen, the transfer of sensitive military technology will likely contribute to the increasingly alarming proliferation of advanced missile and guided munitions throughout the world. Saudi Arabia is hungry for strategic technology. Part of the “Saudi Vision 2030” plan is to turn the kingdom into a major producer of advanced military goods and other strategic technology. This plan includes nuclear technology transfers from the United States — which have drawn close scrutiny — and a renewed interest in a domestic ballistic missile production capacity. This new arms deal has the potential to help jumpstart the Saudi missile program and contribute to the rampant proliferation of ballistic missiles and related technologies. The Trump administration is not only fueling a Saudi missile program, it also risks undercutting its own “Buy America” arms policy by helping to create a less discerning potential competitor. If Congress cannot overcome a presidential veto, it should work to, at the very least, eliminate the domestic production portion of the deal. Such a change will not impede the ability of Saudi Arabia to continue its fight against Iranian aligned Houthi forces in Yemen and will protect the Trump administration’s “Buy America” policy. While the Paveway is a bomb rather than a missile system, the guidance systems it employs can be applied to both types of weapons. Paveways are conventional bombs that are equipped with a kit to make it a precision strike weapon. Think of the Paveway as a guidance “kit” that can be installed on pre-existing “dumb bombs.” These kits include both software and hardware with advanced guidance algorithms, laser-guidance technology, GPS guidance technology, and digital signal processors to analyze large amounts of guidance information quickly. All this technology is important to broader missile production endeavors, whether they are cruise missiles or ballistic missiles.

Technology spill-over means the deal rapidly expands Saudi capabilities

Nolan Fahrenkopf is a research fellow at the Center for Policy Research’s Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES) at the University at Albany. GIVING SAUDI ARABIA GUIDED MUNITIONS TECH COULD HAVE HUGE CONSEQUENCES, https://warontherocks.com/2019/07/giving-saudi-arabia-guided-munitions-tech-could-have-huge-consequences/

So why is this a problem? Some technologies are more readily applied to strategic arms programs than others. Ballistic missiles, not surpisingly, can be applied to a nuclear weapons program. Academic research has found that there is a spillover effect between different types of military production efforts. Military production programs can fuel one another. Scientists, technicians, and managers don’t operate in a bubble. What they learn about producing guidance technology can be beneficial for other projects because the organizational, technical, and scientific demands are often similar or even building blocks for more advanced weapons. Tacit knowledge — which is hard to transfer or teach — and explicit knowledge from one arms program can bolster the human capital states can bring to bear on other proliferation efforts. Policymakers and academics are increasingly seeing this proliferation spillover. Research has shown this spillover effect in space technology, cruise missiles, nuclear weapons, and ballistic missile programs. What Saudi Arabian scientists, technicians, and program managers learn from guidance technology production can translate into advances in other realms, such as missiles and even nuclear weapons technology. By approving this deal, Washington is granting Riyadh immensely valuable knowledge and experience and providing a key cog in its growing missile production endeavor. The spillover effects from this deal may prove to be particularly powerful given Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in missile and nuclear technology and the lack of a proper strategic trade control infrastructure. Saudi Arabia has been investing significant resources in the development of a domestic ballistic missile production capacity, including secret missile deals with both Ukraine and China. The deal with Ukraine included the Saudi-financed production of a new missile system, the Grom 2, which has already begun to enter critical test phases. Recent research has also found that Saudi Arabia may have begun to construct missile production facilities. The new facilities at the al-Watah missile base seem to include engine production and test facilities to accommodate advanced solid-fuel engines. Together, these efforts indicate that Saudi Arabia’s desire for missile technology has gone beyond simply purchasing foreign systems. Riyadh has also recently benefited from a nuclear technology transfer deal with Washington. This deal includes civil nuclear technology and the all-important technical support and training. What is particularly troublesome is Riyadh’s refusal to accept a “123” safeguards agreementnine nonproliferation principlesThe rejection of the 123 safeguards agreement, Saudi demand for enrichment capabilities, and a long simmering interest in acquiring nuclear weapons — especially if it looks like Iran will do so first — greatly increases the risks of this deal. So, within a single year, the Trump administration could be jumpstarting both the missile and nuclear legs of a Saudi strategic weapons program. Granting Saudi Arabia access to guidance technology will advance their missile production efforts, adding another potentially destabilizing supplier of missile technology into the world. This is particularly worrisome given mounting evidence that U.S. weapons given to Saudi Arabia may not be fully secure.

Missile co-production deal is a tacit signal of US support for Saudi missile development

Nolan Fahrenkopf is a research fellow at the Center for Policy Research’s Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES) at the University at Albany. GIVING SAUDI ARABIA GUIDED MUNITIONS TECH COULD HAVE HUGE CONSEQUENCES, https://warontherocks.com/2019/07/giving-saudi-arabia-guided-munitions-tech-could-have-huge-consequences/

Missile proliferation experts have pointed out that ballistic missiles aren’t beyond the budgets or capabilities of states if the demand is high enough. The best way to prevent ballistic missile proliferation is therefore by reducing demand and increasing the cost. Increasing costs can take the form of slowing proliferation by reducing access to critical technology and equipment through export controls and sanctions as well as sanctions that punish a state beyond proliferation efforts, such as many of the sanctions leveled at North Korea. Since technology acquisition is such a major component of missile proliferation, the Trump administration’s recent arms deal would significantly lower the cost of such efforts. Political pressure is another way to increase the costs. The United States has frequently used such tactics to limit the proiliferation ambitions of allies, such asSouth Korea. With this arms deal and the nuclear deal, the United States is doing the opposite: providing invaluable technology and signaling that is is tacitly accepting Saudi actions. The “Saudi Vision 2030” plan may be an expensive and futile project, but Trump’s deal and the signal it would send would help Saudi Arabia achieve one of the plan’s steps, with strategic consequenecs that are not proportional to the costs Riyadh would normally have to bear.

Saudis can’t get the advanced munitions from elsewhere

Nolan Fahrenkopf is a research fellow at the Center for Policy Research’s Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES) at the University at Albany. GIVING SAUDI ARABIA GUIDED MUNITIONS TECH COULD HAVE HUGE CONSEQUENCES, https://warontherocks.com/2019/07/giving-saudi-arabia-guided-munitions-tech-could-have-huge-consequences/

The United States is not the only producer of advanced guided weapons. Russia, China, Japan, India, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, as well as other Western European NATO members can produce at least limited precision-guided munitions. The United States does not have a monopoly on the proliferation of this technology. Even NATO member states don’t always see eye to eye on the export of such munitions, as illustrated by the French and U.K. export of the Storm Shadow cruise missile that irked the United States (at least initially). Saudi Arabia is seeking to take advantage of this competition by diversifying its arms imports to increase its ability to leverage better deals. In fact, many of these states have a history of transferring military technology, including for missile systems. However, transfers of this nature and caliber are often strategic. Without U.S. support, Saudi Arabia will likely struggle to gain access to advanced guidance technology, let alone permission to produce it. And even if it does, access to the technology and production methods behind Paveway guidance units, given their advanced nature, would be a coup for the Saudi missile program.

Given what we know about Saudi Arabia’s broader proliferation objectives and the spillover of capabilities between related proliferation realms, the U.S. arms deal should not include technology transfer or domestic production guarantees. And while full details of the technology transfer and domestic production guarantees have yet to be negotiated by Raytheon, guidance technology is so critical it will help to jumpstart the growing Saudi missile program. Such a program will likely have broader consequences to regional and global security, as it may be only one leg of a future strategic weapons program. Congress should continue in its bipartisan efforts to block at least the guidance technology portion of the deal. Given Saudi Arabia’s broader production ambitions that will benefit from this deal, it would be in the best interest for both Raytheon and the Trump administration to re-think it as well.

US strengthening military ties with Saudi Arabia to deter Iran in the Gulf

Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef, July 18, 2019, Wall Street Journal, U.S. Military Returns to Saudi Arabia in Response to Iran, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-military-returns-to-saudi-arabia-in-response-to-iran-11563488620

WASHINGTON—The Pentagon is sending hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia as part of a buildup to counter potential threats from Iran and its allies, U.S. officials said, marking a U.S. return to the kingdom after its 2003 withdrawal. U.S. forces will again be stationed at the Prince Sultan Air Base, which had been closed to the American military since the fall of Baghdad following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, officials and experts said. The move comes amid a standoff between the Trump administration and Congress over arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, and U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen, and represents a new demonstration of Washington’s strategic interest in Riyadh. The military already has begun to deploy more than 500 U.S. service members to Prince Sultan Air Base, about 150 kilometers southwest of Riyadh, officials said. Saudi officials didn’t respond to requests for comment. Officials from U.S. Central Command, which overseas the Middle East, declined to comment. The deployment comes after Iran said it had seized a tanker in the region and the U.S. on Thursday said it downed a drone that came too close to an American warship. Iran has targeted at least six commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz in recent months, U.S. officials have said, prompting the additional deployment of forces to the region. CNN reported the U.S. troop deployment Wednesday. The U.S. deployment signals an acknowledgment that, despite congressional opposition to arming Saudi Arabia over the Yemen war and over the brutal killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a hit team from Riyadh last year, the U.S. military still sees Saudi Arabia as vital to U.S. interests in the region, and that Riyadh still needs the U.S., experts said. Prince Sultan Air Base, or PSAB as it’s known within the military, was used as the central combat-air-operations command for the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But American officials opted soon after the 2003 invasion to move that command from Saudi Arabia to Qatar because of restrictions placed on U.S. operations by Riyadh, which also was coming under internal political pressure over the presence of American military forces. Acting on intelligence assessments in April that showed Iran loading missiles onto small boats and on other evidence the U.S. hasn’t shared publicly, the U.S. Central Command’s Gen. Frank McKenzie requested more military personnel and equipment be sent into the Middle East. That included accelerating the deployment of an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, deploying B-52 bombers to Al Udeid air base in Qatar, and sending additional forces into the region. Such moves amount to a significant reversal for the U.S. Over the last two years, as U.S. military planners focused on emerging potential threats to the U.S. from China and Russia, the Pentagon turned its attention away from the counterinsurgencies in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. U.S. Central Command, which has monopolized much of the military’s resources over the years as it fought those conflicts, had been shrinking in recent years to allow the military to focus on other priorities. Deployments of aircraft carriers, once an enduring presence in the region, had been reduced. Troops had been redeployed out of the Middle East, and last year, the Pentagon withdrew four Patriot batteries from the region. But military officials say that with the emergence of Iran as a threat, Gen. McKenzie and others have pushed to restore U.S. capabilities in the region. Over the past few months, Iran’s Islamic Republican Guard Corps, the elite arm of Iran’s military, has targeted a number of commercial ships in the region with missiles, magnetic mines and other weapons, military officials say.

Their evidence is biased – -Saudis are funding the think tanks their authors work at

Alex Graf, July 19, 2019, https://theglobepost.com/2019/07/19/trump-arms-sales/, Trump Administration Prioritizes Arms Sales Over Stability, Human Rights

U.S. Representative and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard echoed similar concerns in a recent interview on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.

When you look at … the people who testify in front of Congress, coming from very well known global think tanks that specialize in foreign policy, they don’t have a placard on their desk … saying ‘we receive funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE,’” Gabbard said. “All these different countries are spending a lot of money funding these think tanks that then come forward, push policies and ideas to leaders in Congress that not coincidentally, benefit the countries that are funding them.” Max Abrahms, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Northeastern University, told The Globe Post that the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies( FDD), for example, is “destroying the nuclear deal” with Iran. The FDD has an extensive list of financial backers who have historically funded pro-Israel organizations, including Home Depot Co-Founder Bernard Marcus and business magnate Sheldon Adelson. “They have this White House’s ear,” Abrahms said, arguing the think tank is an unreliable source of information and has been “rabidly hostile” towards Iran.

Strait critical to 20% of global energy supplies and there are no alternate routes

Stanley & Schaus, July 19, 2019, Andrew J. Stanley is an associate fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. John Schaus is a fellow with the CSIS International Security Program., Oil Markets, Oil Attacks, and the Strategic Straits, https://www.csis.org/analysis/oil-markets-oil-attacks-and-strategic-straits

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil chokepoint. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data exports of crude oil and petroleum products through the strait amounted to 20.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, accounting for approximately one-third of world maritime oil trade (or 21 percent of global oil consumption). Some of the oil that transits the strait could reach global markets through slower and less efficient channels, but closing the strait could reduce global oil supplies by up to 15 million b/d. The importance of the Strait of Hormuz to global liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets as well should not be overlooked. Working from BP data, 25.6 percent of global LNG exports make their way through this passage primarily by way of Qatar but also from the UAE. And while maritime natural gas trade represents a relatively small proportion of global natural gas demand (with these flows only accounting for 3 percent of global consumption) the more regional and less global nature of the gas market (relative to oil), means that any disruptions to these flows could have severe energy pricing impacts for LNG dependent importers. The vast majority of oil production in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iran is exported to customers via the strait. Alternative routes to this passage are severely limited. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the only two countries with operating bypass pipelines to get oil to port outside of the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia has the East-West pipeline, and the UAE maintains the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline. Combined they could accommodate an additional 3.5 million b/d or 17 percent of current Hormuz oil exports. However, even these routes have not been free from attempted attack. In May, Saudi Aramco reported two drone attacks on the East-West pipeline and a total of four tankers were sabotaged in and around the UAE port of Fujairah.

US depends on 1 million barrels of oil per day from the strait

Stanley & Schaus, July 19, 2019, Andrew J. Stanley is an associate fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. John Schaus is a fellow with the CSIS International Security Program., Oil Markets, Oil Attacks, and the Strategic Straits, https://www.csis.org/analysis/oil-markets-oil-attacks-and-strategic-straits

More than 75 percent of exports that leave the strait are destined for Asia. In terms of volumes, China is the largest importer of oil from the region; however, given the size of its overall demand for oil, it is not the most reliant country on these flows. Japan, South Korea, and India are particularly dependent on these exports, with these volumes accounting for the vast majority of their imports. And even though the United States is quickly transitioning towards net oil exporter status, it still imported 1.35 million b/d via the strait in 2018.

Strait-blocked oil shock will slow the global economy

Stanley & Schaus, July 19, 2019, Andrew J. Stanley is an associate fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. John Schaus is a fellow with the CSIS International Security Program., Oil Markets, Oil Attacks, and the Strategic Straits, https://www.csis.org/analysis/oil-markets-oil-attacks-and-strategic-straits

The above chart shows the immediate vulnerability of Japan, South Korea, and India to any potential disruption at the strait. However, given the fungibility of oil markets, the pricing impacts of an extended disruption would not be confined to these markets alone but would be felt globally. The net oil import dependence of Japan, South Korea, India, and China though, would mean that the economic impacts of an oil price shock caused by any cutoff at Hormuz would be much more severe when compared to the United States, which is nearly a net exporter and may soon become a beneficiary of higher prices. The U.S. economy, however, would not escape unscathed. The global inflationary knock-on effects caused by an oil price shock would severely limit world economic growth, which would ultimately translate into damaging effects for the U.S. economy by way of reduced demand and investment, not to mention the damaging effects that significantly higher domestic gasoline prices would cause.

US provides key military capabilities to any coalition defending the straits

Stanley & Schaus, July 19, 2019, Andrew J. Stanley is an associate fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. John Schaus is a fellow with the CSIS International Security Program., Oil Markets, Oil Attacks, and the Strategic Straits, https://www.csis.org/analysis/oil-markets-oil-attacks-and-strategic-straits

Any coalition of forces defending the Strait of Hormuz and other regional waters will be made up of countries that are able to contribute elements of an effective force; but so far, the United States has been the glue that holds them together. This “glue” often comes in the form of providing key military capabilities that other countries don’t have—or don’t have enough of. In fact, recent comments made by the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, suggest the U.S. effort would increase presence with certain types of U.S. vessels at the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb, namely those that can provide command and control capability, and additional reconnaissance assets, to enable more effective multinational escort operations through these vital waterways, as allies and partners contribute additional forces of their own.

No alternative to US protection of the strait

Stanley & Schaus, July 19, 2019, Andrew J. Stanley is an associate fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. John Schaus is a fellow with the CSIS International Security Program., Oil Markets, Oil Attacks, and the Strategic Straits, https://www.csis.org/analysis/oil-markets-oil-attacks-and-strategic-straits

On the second point and over the long term, barring significant leadership from senior U.S. political figures, the question over whether the United States will be willing to continue patrolling the waters in the gulf will remain. Should the United States choose to step back, it is not clear whether any other state would have the capability and will to do so. Presently, only China and Russia have that capability. However, it is an open question whether either country would be willing to undertake such an effort. Moreover, if the U.S. national security strategy is to be believed, it is also unclear that the United States would be willing to cede its role in a vital global energy chokepoint to countries viewed as geostrategic rivals.

No real risk Iran will close the strait

Stanley & Schaus, July 19, 2019, Andrew J. Stanley is an associate fellow with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. John Schaus is a fellow with the CSIS International Security Program., Oil Markets, Oil Attacks, and the Strategic Straits, https://www.csis.org/analysis/oil-markets-oil-attacks-and-strategic-straits

Despite these recent events, the possibility of Iran successfully closing off the Strait of Hormuz for an extended period remains highly unlikely. First—regardless of the comments made by the president questioning the need for the United States to protect these waterways—any immediate and significant drawdown of U.S. military presence appears improbable given the goals of the current national security strategy and the fact that U.S. forces have bolstered in recent weeks. Second, damaging effects resulting from any cut off at the strait to numerous economies would be met with widespread international condemnation, which could quickly mobilize force to neutralize any such action. Finally, Iran itself, albeit at significantly reduced volumes, is still exporting through the strait, and its tactics to date have leaned toward plausible deniability of causing disruption rather than brazen violations of international law.

US supported deterrence in the Gulf critical to prevent the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, which would destroy the global economy and trigger nuclear escalation

FromHerz, 7-17, 19, ALLEN JAMES FROMHERZ is Professor of History and Director of the Middle East Studies Center at Georgia State University. He is the author of Qatar: A Modern History, Why the Strait of Hormuz Is Still the World’s Most Important Chokepoint The Strait of Hormuz links the majority of the world’s people who live along the shores of Asia and East Africa to the heart of the Middle East. Long before the discovery of oil, it was the world’s carotid artery. Cut off the blood supply almost anywhere else and the world would adapt. Here, however, an interruption could be fatal: 90 percent of oil exported from the Gulf, about 20 percent of the world’s supply, passes through Hormuz. Shipping through the strait, which is a mere 21 nautical miles wide at its narrowest point, is concentrated and hazardous. In Musandam, the Omani exclave on the strait’s southern side, you can hear Persian radio from Iran as often as Arabic. Along the rocky shorelines, islets and peninsulas thrust precipitously into the sky. Heat, humidity, and a scorching wind make the climate inhospitable; many mountain ranges and valleys near Hormuz remain sparsely inhabited. Although Persia tried to claim it, no one group has ever actually controlled the entire Strait of Hormuz. On Musandam, Shihuh mountain groups and Dhahoori fishermen have historically maintained some autonomy from Muscat. On the northern, Persian side, Iran is as vulnerable to disruption as are many of the ships that pass through the strait. Iran based its oil terminal on Larak Island, in the strait, after Iraq attacked its previous installation on Kharg Island further inside the Gulf. Larak, Hormuz, Qeshm Island, and the Persian Gulf coast of Iran are inhabited by a mixture of Persians and Sunni Arabic speakers who migrated there from the Arabian Peninsula before the rise of international maritime boundaries and who differ from the majority population in Iran. There has long been trouble for Iran brewing in the hills. The Baluchis inhabit mountains nearby and the Makran Jundallah (Soldiers of God), a Sunni Baluchi separatist movement, have mounted deadly attacks against Iran, including killing 15 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in a 2009 bombing. The diversity on land is eclipsed only by the sheer number and variety of ships passing through the strait. Without a single controlling power, it is in the interest of the United States, as the foremost naval power in the world, to serve as the ultimate guarantor of trade through Hormuz. Historically, that has meant preventing the pendulum from swinging too far in one direction or the other. In 1987, the United States intervened in the Iran-Iraq War to prevent attacks against Kuwaiti ships. In 1988, the United States sank Iranian warships and patrol boats during the so-called tanker war. Just a few years later, the United States began the first Gulf War to stop Iraq from seizing Kuwait. Iran has learned from that history, realizing that the most effective strategy, in its attempt to gain a better negotiating posture and to end crippling sanctions, is not outright conflict but subterfuge. It has begun sending small, lightweight vessels to harass and attack huge tankers and container ships. No one group has ever actually controlled the entire Strait of Hormuz. The stakes in the strait today are much higher than they were in the 1980s and 1990s, as a confrontation over shipping could lead to a full-blown war between Iran and the United States, one that could even turn nuclear. Instead of assuring the region’s security, however, the United States has pursued short-term benefits, selling arms to Gulf partners and taking sides in largely fruitless inter-Gulf squabbles, driving partners such as Qatar toward Iran and allowing the Saudis to take too many risks, such as by intervening in the Yemeni civil war. One reason for this destabilizing opportunism may be the faulty assumption by U.S. policymakers that the Carter Doctrine, under which the United States vowed to use military force to protect its interests in the Gulf, no longer applies. As the United States consumes less oil from the Middle East, the argument goes, its need to ensure the security of the region also decreases. That, however, misunderstands both history and geopolitics. The United States depends on Gulf security for more than oil. First, and most crucially, the rising possibility of nuclear conflict, as Iran has rapidly started enriching uranium after the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal, has changed the security dynamic in the region. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are both now more interested in acquiring nuclear technology, and have better access to it, as even the United States has provided them with sensitive nuclear materials and know-how. The security of the strait now matters not simply because of trade; a conflict in Hormuz could spark a firestorm that could quickly spread beyond the Gulf. Second, the amount of trade that passes through Hormuz has grown rapidly with the rise of the wealthy oil states along the Gulf. Finally, the United States has invested heavily in naval bases, in Bahrain, Qatar, and elsewhere, that are accessible by sea only through Hormuz. The Strait of Hormuz will remain the world’s most valuable and vulnerable trade and maritime chokepoints, no matter how much oil prices might decline. The persistence of U.S. commitment to the region is difficult for many Americans to accept. Given how many lives and how much money the United States has sacrificed in the Middle East, many Americans on the right and the left want to abandon the region altogether. But no matter how much petroleum American and Canadian producers extract, the United States will still be on the hook for Gulf security. The global system of trade on which U.S. prosperity depends simply cannot function without the safe passage of ships through the Strait of Hormuz and the prevention of any further nuclear escalation in the region. Most Read Articles When Stalin Faced Hitler Who Fooled Whom? Stephen Kotkin Trump’s Incendiary Rhetoric Is Only Accelerating Immigration The Crisis at the Border Is of Washington’s Own Making Tom Nichols The Carter Doctrine is, therefore, still necessary but it is not perfect. Although the United States has the most powerful military in the region, it often does not take into account the complex human geography of the strait. Unlike the United Kingdom, which secured Gulf trade routes from 1820 to 1970, the United States does not have deep relationships with non-state actors. This applies to both sides of the strait. To the south, Oman, the Switzerland of the Gulf, has served as a crucial intermediary between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. But the incumbent sultan, Qaboos bin Said, is 78 and has no clear successor. The British kept a telegraph station on Musandam and the peninsula is still probably a listening post for Oman, which likely shares it with allies including the United States. Washington would be wise to better understand the complex political and social dynamics of the Musandam Peninsula in the unlikely event that there is not a smooth transition after the death of Sultan Qaboos. It is unlikely, but possible, that many factions and groups within Oman and Musandam could start to assert some sort of autonomy if the transition leads to turbulence. Washington can prepare for the post-Qaboos era by fostering and supporting other potential negotiating partners, such as Kuwait, and by further agreeing to support Qaboos’ successor if he or she agrees to continue the Sultan’s current policies toward the Strait. Qaboos’ stabilizing and wise leadership will not be easily replaced. Washington should not take it for granted. When it comes to the northern, Iranian side of the Strait, the United States should develop a more nuanced understanding of the many factions and fractures that divide Iran. Crude U.S. policies toward the Iranian people might drive those who oppose the regime toward Tehran. There are many instances of foreign threats, such as the Iran-Iraq War, that helped solidify the rule of the Ayatollah, when diverse Iranians united against an outside aggressor. Attacking Iran along the Gulf coast or at the Larak Island military base and oil terminal where many Omanis emigrated in the past and where a mix of Arab and Persian Iranians live and work, might, turn potential dissidents on the coasts into supporters of Tehran. The United States has little interest in repeating the role of the British Empire or the protectorate it created with the Gulf states beginning in 1853 and ending in the 1970s. But it has every interest in continuing, with its partners, the role of umpire. The United States’ tense history with Iran means that not everyone in the region will see Washington as an impartial arbiter. But no other power can keep the Strait of Hormuz clear of interference and no other power has the ability to stop the game from getting too far out of bounds on either side. Without an umpire, games can quickly turn into wars that no one wants. Most of the players in the Gulf, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia to Iran, share a desire to keep the game from getting out of control. Despite crushing sanctions, Iran knows that it would not benefit from a war. That’s why Tehran has often vehemently denied responsibility for the recent attacks on Western shipping in the strait. Yet to avoid escalation at the last minute, as President Donald Trump did when he rightly called off an attack on Iran in reaction to the downing of a U.S. unmanned drone, is not enough. Hormuz needs a steady guarantor of security, even an imperfect one.

US doesn’t need Gulf oil

Sea, July 18, 2019, George Seay is chairman of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Chairman of the Texas-Israel Alliance. America No Longer Needs the Middle East, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/america-no-longer-needs-middle-east-67637

What is the game changer that almost no one has fully recognized or appreciated? American shale oil and gas. America no longer needs oil and gas from the Middle East. Whether domestic supply or other suppliers outside the Middle East, there are ample fossil fuel resources to supply our energy needs for as long as we rely predominantly on oil and gas.

UAE reducing its military presence in Yemen

Reuters, July 9, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-emirates/uae-troop-drawdown-in-yemen-was-agreed-with-saudi-arabia-official-idUSKCN1U31WZ, UAE troop drawdown in Yemen was agreed with Saudi Arabia: official

DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates had been planning its recent troop drawdown in Yemen for over a year and coordinated its move with key ally Saudi Arabia, a senior Emirati official said on Monday. FILE PHOTO – Soldiers from the United Arab Emirates walk past a military vehicle at the airport of Yemen’s southern port city of Aden August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Nasser Awad The UAE, a leading member of the Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, is reducing its military presence as worsening U.S.-Iran tensions threaten security closer to home, Reuters reported last month. The Gulf state has pulled some troops from areas including the southern port of Aden and the western coast, but says it remains committed to the internationally-recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The drawdown “was not a last-minute decision” and had been discussed extensively with Riyadh, said the official, who declined to be named. “Our discussion over our redeployment has been ongoing for over a year and it has been heightened after the signing of the Stockholm agreement in December,” the official told reporters in Dubai.

UAE reducing its military presence in Yemen

Reuters, July 9, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-emirates/uae-troop-drawdown-in-yemen-was-agreed-with-saudi-arabia-official-idUSKCN1U31WZ, UAE troop drawdown in Yemen was agreed with Saudi Arabia: official DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates had been planning its recent troop drawdown in Yemen for over a year and coordinated its move with key ally Saudi Arabia, a senior Emirati official said on Monday. FILE PHOTO – Soldiers from the United Arab Emirates walk past a military vehicle at the airport of Yemen’s southern port city of Aden August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Nasser Awad The UAE, a leading member of the Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, is reducing its military presence as worsening U.S.-Iran tensions threaten security closer to home, Reuters reported last month. The Gulf state has pulled some troops from areas including the southern port of Aden and the western coast, but says it remains committed to the internationally-recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The drawdown “was not a last-minute decision” and had been discussed extensively with Riyadh, said the official, who declined to be named. “Our discussion over our redeployment has been ongoing for over a year and it has been heightened after the signing of the Stockholm agreement in December,” the official told reporters in Dubai.

Russia-Saudi ties increasing

DIMITRI SIMES JR., Saudi Arabia Is Quietly Cozying Up To Russia: What Does It Mean For The Middle East? , July 7, 2019, https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/08/saudi-arabia-quietly-cozying-up-to-russia/ During the G20 summit earlier this month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. After the meeting, Putin announced that Russia and Saudi Arabia had agreed to extend an oil production cut agreement for another nine months. When the extension was formalized several days later, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo touted the deal as a “Catholic marriage” and boasted that it would last an “eternity.” Such cooperation between the two countries would have surprised many international observers just a few years ago. Back then, Saudi Arabia and Russia appeared headed for showdown over Syria and global oil prices. Now however, one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East and one of its leading adversaries are increasingly finding common ground. At a time when many foreign investors are leaving Russia, Saudi Arabia is investing billions of dollars into the Russian economy. Moreover, Saudi Arabia and Russia are increasingly coordinating to influence global oil prices. In a few instances, Saudi Arabia has even sided with Russia over the United States. For example, Riyadh has publicly opposed further U.S. sanctions against Moscow and abstained from several UN votes condemning Russian actions in Ukraine. (RELATED: Saudi Arabia Is Trying To Execute And Possibly Crucify Teen Who Participated In Protest When He Was 10 Years Old: Report) Dmitry Frolovsky, an independent Moscow-based geopolitical analyst, told The Daily Caller that the current level of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Russia is “unprecedented.” “The convergence with Saudi Arabia over the past several years in many ways is surprising even to Russian strategists because no one expected that Russia’s campaign in Syria could help improve relations with the Persian Gulf monarchies so much,” he said. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) sits beside Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as they attend a meeting on the digital economy at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019. (Photo by Jacques Witt/AFP/Getty Images) Riyadh and Moscow have historically had a contentious relationship. As recently as 2013, Saudi Intelligence head Prince Bandar bin Sultan tried to persuade Putin to alter his position on Syria by raising the prospect of terrorism at the Sochi Olympics games, according to a report from The Telegraph. However, the Obama administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East made Saudi Arabia rethink its approach to Moscow. Riyadh was alarmed by the Obama administration’s favorable reception of the Arab Spring, which swept away several prominent pro-American dictators in the region. When the United States signed the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, the kingdom regarded the move as a betrayal. On the other hand, Russia’s military intervention in Syria left a strong impression on Saudi Arabia. Thus, at a time when Saudi Arabia sought to hedge its bets against Washington, Russia seemed likely a formidable option. In 2016, Saudi Arabia and Russia signed their first deal on limiting oil production to combat falling energy prices. Saudi King Salman visited Moscow the subsequent year, becoming the first Saudi monarch to set foot in Russia. Economics is increasingly at the forefront of Saudi-Russia cooperation. While many Western investors shunned Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea, Riyadh instead expanded its portfolio in the country. In 2015, Saudi Arabia pledged to invest $10 billion into the Russian economy. A quarter of that sum has been invested so far. Last October, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund became a partner of a Russo-Chinese investment fund and contributed $500 million to the project. That month Saudi Arabia also promised to provide $5 billion for an LNG project in the Arctic by Russian gas company Novatek. Some in Moscow are optimistic that 2019 could be a breakthrough year for Saudi investment in Russia. Kirill Dmitriev CEO of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, recently told Saudi website Argaam that Russia and Saudi Arabia were exploring investing $2 billion this year on 25 different joint projects.

Systemic human rights violations in Saudi Arabia

Anthony Harwood is a former foreign editor of the Daily Mail and US Editor of the Daily Mirror, July 5, 2019, Newsweek, https://www.newsweek.com/saudi-arabia-statue-liberty-1447722 For the millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island as they entered America over 100 years ago, the torch that Lady Liberty held up was a beacon of hope. How then has she come to be used at a month-long festival in Jeddah, a port city in a country which could not be more undeserving of “The Lady in the Harbor”? For, if you live in Saudi Arabia you have no hope if you are a woman, gay, in favor of free speech or democratic rule. That the Statue of Liberty can be associated with such a place is an insult to those who cherish everything it represents: America the beacon of the world, America the melting pot of nations, America the land of the free. But the fact that the Saudis feel emboldened enough to use her to claim some sort of solidarity with America is all down to Donald Trump. When the rest of world recoiled in horror at the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the imprisonment of women rights activists, the execution of people for being gay or the bombing of school buses in Yemen, he was not swayed. Despite the most heinous of crimes, Saudi Arabia was still a “great ally” and a great supporter of America, he would say. As long as lucrative arms deals are providing jobs back home, the bromance will continue with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, of whom a UN report last month said there was ‘credible evidence’ he was involved in the killing of the Washington Post journalist, Khashoggi. It’s not surprising that the Saudis carry on regardless. However, if you accept that the Statue of Liberty represents the very best of America and her place in the world, then by extension you have to also accept that Donald Trump is an “un-American” President Lady Liberty and he just do not share the same values. Thankfully, most American senators and congressmen still know what being a true American means, as they continue to pass laws saying the US should punish those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder and end its support for the Saudi war in Yemen. According to the UN, by November 2018 nearly 7000 civilians had been killed there and 10,768 injured, most by Saudi Arabia-led air strikes, with 10 million more on the brink of famine. But on Yemen, Trump exercised his veto and on Khashoggi he just chose to ignore the Magnitsky Act. On migrants and the border wall, he tried to block a $4.5billion aid bill which included new standards for migrants in custody following reports that children were being kept in terrible conditions. The problem is not that there aren’t any “American” politicians on Capitol Hill, it’s that there aren’t enough of them to override an ‘un-American’ presidential veto. So, for now, we’re treated to the grotesque spectacle of the Statue of Liberty being wheeled out on the Jeddah Corniche as part of some tacky display of Americana, along with a Hollywood sign, a Welcome to Vegas sticker, an Uncle Sam hat and an Elvis Presley statue—all set to the Bruno Mars song, Uptown Funk. The truth is that if Liberty were to suddenly get down off her pedestal and start reading the poem inscribed on it she would be arrested and thrown behind bars before she could say: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” The whole thing gets even more perverse when you consider that in New York the “Mother of Exiles” was welcoming poor and downtrodden immigrants, and today Saudi Arabia uses the hated kefala system of sponsored labor, described as modern-day slavery. Take Nepalese workers, for example. In 2016 the country was responsible for the most Nepalese labor deaths from natural causes in the world, including 60% of traffic accidents, according to the International Labor Organisation. Last year, Saudi Arabia cited a United Nations job application as evidence against the women’s rights activist, Loujain al-Hathloul, still behind bars for campaigning for women’s right to drive and an end to the male guardianship system. Loujain also allegedly “confessed” to to being in contact with human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

US supported Gulf deterrence ensures a stable supply and price of oil

Gabriel Collins is a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Energy Studies. The opinions and positions expressed in this analysis are exclusively the author’s private views and do not represent the views of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, July 8, 2019, Shale is Not Forever: Why America Should Continue Protecting Gulf Oil and Gas Flows Shale is Not Forever: Why America Should Continue Protecting Gulf Oil and Gas Flows A stout U.S. military deterrent to those who might threaten oil and gas flows from the Gulf does not guarantee stable prices, but it helps reduce the risk of both damaging spikes and the geopolitical risk premium that markets generally price-in during periods of instability in the region. by Gabriel Collins De Beers tells us that “a diamond is forever.” But the carbonaceous cousin of diamonds, U.S. unconventional oil, may “not be forever.” U.S. energy-security policies towards the Middle East and Gulf region should take this reality into account. Thus, American voters and their elected representatives must educate themselves on the importance of continued U.S. leadership in protecting energy flows out of the Gulf. Reducing America’s Gulf oil security role is politically tempting. The American public is tired of the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts and oil output in Texas alone is now larger than that of every individual OPEC member save for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco now sends more than 70 percent of its crude oil exports to Asia and U.S. direct oil imports from the Gulf region have declined significantly. These factors are already influencing policy. Consider the weak U.S. response thus far to at least six recent attacks on shipping near the Strait of Hormuz—epitomized by Washington’s recent attempt to shovel responsibility for Gulf area maritime security onto allies rather than leading. But what if the dynamic American industrial and transport economy still depends on crude oil in 2035? In this very probable scenario, American security abdication in the Gulf could undermine some of our most vital strategic interests. U.S. oil prices rapidly reflect global events no matter how much oil we produce domestically. Also, being the world’s largest single oil producer does not decouple our economic and strategic wellbeing from happenings in the Gulf region. Thus, U.S. policymakers should stop and think hard before pulling back from a vital regional security architecture that took decades to build—and which works best with strong U.S. leadership.

Iran could not shut down the Strait of Hormuz for any significant length of time. This deters Iran

Sidharth Kaushal, July 7, 2019, Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/shutdown-showdown-how-strait-hormuz-factors-us-iran-crisis-65596?page=0%2C1, Dr. Sidharth Kaushal is the Research Fellow for Seapower at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London. The recent mining of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, attributed to Iran by the United States, offers an important window into the strategic thinking of Iran and similarly situated regional powers. The incident is notable because the act of mining a limited number of vessels makes relatively little sense when viewed through the lens of traditional patterns of coercive behavior. Limited coercive acts typically have little value with regards to gaining concessions from a determined opponent. Generally, these acts may serve as a visible demonstration of a state’s willingness to enact some other, more substantial threat, such as shutting down the Strait of Hormuz outright. However, this requires the state making the threat to have the capacity to make good on its more substantial threats and for its opponents to believe that it is willing to incur the risks entailed. Iran, however, could not shut down the Strait of Hormuz for very long even if it wished to—something noted by President Donald Trump—and is unlikely to incur the substantial risks that an attempt would entail. Iran’s opponents, then, clearly don’t see its limited provocations as harbingers of something worse.

Iran’s threat to close the Strait for a limited period of time is not credible

Sidharth Kaushal, July 7, 2019, Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/shutdown-showdown-how-strait-hormuz-factors-us-iran-crisis-65596?page=0%2C1, Dr. Sidharth Kaushal is the Research Fellow for Seapower at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London. If Iran cannot shut down the Strait of Hormuz, or convince either the United States or its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia that it can do so, then it becomes attendant to ask what the value of limited coercive acts is. One argument goes that limited actions can achieve disruption and price spikes with regards to oil irrespective of whether Iran can shut down the Strait o Hormuz. However, it is unclear how this would help coerce either the United States or Iran’s regional adversaries. Driving up the price of oil globally does not hurt regional countries, which rank among the world’s major oil producers, and will likely have mixed effects on the economic health of the United States, which is an increasingly large player in the energy market. To the extent that limited attacks could serve a coercive role, it would be as costly signals of Iran’s willingness to shut down the Strait of Hormuz entirely—something that would have a major effect on regional powers which rely on the straits for up to 90 percent of their imports and exports. Given that Iran’s ability to sustain such an operation is limited, however, and given that shutting down the Strait of Hormuz entirely entails unacceptable escalatory risks , it is unclear why decisionmakers in Tehran would expect their counterparts in Riyadh or Washington to treat the threat to do so as being credible irrespective of Iran’s limited provocations. Even if leaders worry that they might have miscalculated Tehran’s intentions, the fact remains that Iran’s capabilities cannot sustain the closure of the Strait of Hormuz for a prolonged period of time. To make this threat credible then, Iran’s likely opponents would have to believe that Iran would risk heavy retaliation, the possible dismantlement of IRGCN facilities at Abu Musa and Farsi and a postwar settlement which would almost certainly be negative in order to create a temporary closure of the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran doesn’t have the capabilities to close the Strait

Sidharth Kaushal, July 7, 2019, Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/shutdown-showdown-how-strait-hormuz-factors-us-iran-crisis-65596?page=0%2C1, Dr. Sidharth Kaushal is the Research Fellow for Seapower at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London. While the Iranian Navy and IRGC(N) retain the capabilities to, on paper, substantially disrupt transit through the Strait of Hormuz, a scenario specific analysis illustrates that the ability of Iran to accomplish this end is overstated. Take, for example, Iran’s significant stockpile of around five thousand naval mines. To close the Strait of Hormuz, the Iranians would have to emplace at least one thousand such mines across the twenty-five kilometers strait unobserved. The IRINs Kilo class submarines, which are twenty-five meters from the keel, would struggle to navigate these waters. Alternatively, Iranian forces could rely on the IRGCNs fleet of small boats or requisitioned civilian vessels to accomplish this end but would struggle to avoid detection if it mustered the number of vessels needed to do this in a short time span. Moreover, given that usable shipping channels span around 20 percent of the strait’s width, this would entail a modest concentration of around two hundred mines per channel. To open the straits for shipping in the short term, the United States and its allies would need to open one or more shipping channels, not clear every Iranian mine in the area. Iran could attempt to disrupt minesweeping efforts with anti-ship missiles like the Chinese C-802 launched from shore-based launchers or the IRGCNs fleet of guided missile boats. However, firing missiles requires targeting data from vulnerable shore-based radar—which will likely be hit early in a conflict scenario. Moreover, the particularities of the Gulf operating environment do not favor missile salvos. Cruise missiles guided by heat and infrared seekers that rely on differentials between an object’s heat emissions and the background temperature would have their operations confounded by gulf climatic conditions and would struggle to approach targets such as mine clearing vessels or civilian vessels, which do not emit a distinctive heat signature. Radar-guided missiles would also lose effectiveness amid the cluttered environment of the Gulf, which is characterized by features such as islets and oil rigs all of which have a radar cross section sufficiently large to divert a missile. Kinetic and non-kinetic missile defense by U.S. destroyers in the form of jamming radars, spoofing seekers and shooting down missile salvos would further degrade the effectiveness of cruise missile salvos. Perhaps most notably, however, the islands which house the IRGCNs fast-attack craft would likely come under sustained air assault and perhaps occupation. During Operation Earnest Will, for example, the U.S. Navy considered the bombardment and occupation of Abu Musa and Farsi Island as a means of cutting off the IRGCNs fast-attack craft. As such, launching salvos of potentially ineffective cruise missiles entails uncertain benefits and substantial risks with regards to the expansion of the war to Iranian soil.

Partial shut-down useless to Iran’s objectives

Sidharth Kaushal, July 7, 2019, Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/shutdown-showdown-how-strait-hormuz-factors-us-iran-crisis-65596?page=0%2C1, Dr. Sidharth Kaushal is the Research Fellow for Seapower at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London. One might argue that Iran does not need to shut down the flow of oil through the Gulf completely—merely destroy enough ships for commercial companies to avoid the straits or insurance companies to raise premiums to levels inimical to commerce. However, if historical precedent is anything to go by, even sustained attrition of commercial vessels may not accomplish this. During the Iran-Iraq tanker war, for example, traffic through the Gulf continued partially because shipping companies higher premiums were offset by could charge customers higher rates on delivery as prices came to factor in the risks undertaken. This, moreover, was the case in a scenario where both parties were able to impose significant costs on the others shipping for a protracted period—something unlikely to be the case if Iran tries to close the Strait of Hormuz today. As such, demonstrations of force in the straits have little utility for Iran vis-a-vis either the United States or Gulf states. A limited act of coercion typically only makes sense as a signal of one’s willingness to take an even more escalatory step if pushed further. Given just how poorly placed Iran is to make good on such a threat regardless of its intentions, it is unclear that limited coercive steps serve this role.

Military deterrence in the Gulf critical to prevent Iran from closing the Strait.

Sidharth Kaushal, July 7, 2019, Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/shutdown-showdown-how-strait-hormuz-factors-us-iran-crisis-65596?page=0%2C1, Dr. Sidharth Kaushal is the Research Fellow for Seapower at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London. U.S. Military Guarantees for Gulf Oil Flows: A Demonstrably Effective Division of Labor America’s Gulf partners bring the world a substantial portion of its total oil needs and a U.S.-led security architecture protects the flows, whether they be to Rotterdam, Seoul, Shanghai or Houston. The system functioned well during the Iran-Iraq War (Operations Earnest Will and Praying Mantis), Gulf Wars I and II, and subsequently. Now, for the first time since the late 1980s, oil shipments out of the Gulf face bona fide kinetic threats. While the oil market has evolved, the rationale for U.S. military protection of oil and gas flows remains strong. The American military apparatus (backed by diplomacy and a deep economic toolkit) is the most appropriate available instrument for securing the world’s key oil producing regions and the maritime transit arteries through which crude oil flows. Just as Saudi and OPEC spare capacity reassures oil consumers that supplies can fulfill demand, a robust U.S. military presence deters conflict and keeps the global commons open. Each party bears significant financial costs for its contribution to a vital global economic good—OPEC members by carrying spare production capacity and the United States by keeping ships, planes, and troops forward-based and on standby. Yet the strategic benefits ultimately far outweigh the financial outlays needed to achieve them.

Politics – Saudi Arabia plans would have to overcome a Presidential veto to pass

Friedman, July 4, 2019, Uri Friedman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Global Channel. He was previously the deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy and a staff writer for The Atlantic Wire, Defense One, July 4, https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/07/us-saudi-alliance-brink/158207/?oref=d-river An effort is under way in Washington to fundamentally overhaul, if not end, a decades-old American alliance—but it didn’t come at the direction of the alliance-skeptical Donald Trump. The president, in fact, has paradoxically emerged as the greatest force of resistance to the change. Fed up with the catastrophic human cost of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen’s civil war and appalled by the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Congress seemingly attempts some sort of measure to censure the kingdom every week. Yet at every turn, the White House has blocked or circumvented those moves, standing staunchly by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, while escalating its confrontation with his archenemy, Iran.

Trump’s use of “emergency” power must be restrained

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute. His Independent books include War and the Rogue Presidency, Eleven Presidents, The Empire Has No Clothes, Recarving Rushmore, and No War for Oil, July 3, 2019, Congress Should Nix Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, https://blog.independent.org/2019/07/03/congress-should-nix-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-and-united-arab-emirates/ After decades of acquiescence to vast expansion of executive power, since at least the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a complacent Congress recently has been stirring to mount at least some symbolic pushback against presidential aggrandizement. After the Trump administration’s declaration of a questionable national emergency to transfer funds from defense programs to pay for its border wall after Congress declined to provide funding for it and the administration’s flirtation with declaring another emergency to impose tariffs on Mexico, Congress is mounting resistance to the administration’s declaration of an emergency to get around required congressional approval for $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In its notification to bypass the Arms Export Control Act’s normal requirement for a 30-day congressional review period for a sale, the administration cited another questionable emergency to expedite the export—that of Iran’s behavior in the Middle East. The administration needs some opposition to this excessive use of “emergencies” to get what it wants. To begin with any such presidentially declared emergency, or law allowing it, is constitutionally suspect. The framers of the Constitution, concerned about tyranny by the central government or a rogue executive, provided for no such emergency proviso in the document. In fact, the only “emergency” power provided in the Constitution is listed in Article II–which enumerates congressional powers, not executive ones—and concerns the suspension of habeas corpus (the right of people to challenge their detention by the government in court) during the extreme cases of an invasion or insurrection. The last thing the framers would have wanted was a muscular executive declaring numerous emergencies, especially to circumvent Congress on mundane things like a border wall, import tariffs, and arms sales to foreign countries. In addition, if Iran’s behavior supporting friendly proxy groups in the Middle East isn’t exactly stabilizing, the behavior of U.S. allies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, certainly hasn’t been any better. UAE has its Special Forces all over the region and is currently conducting an air war against the Houthis in Yemen, with Saudi Arabia, that has likely committed war crimes by killing many civilians. The regime in UAE has also helped Saudi Arabia impose a trade embargo on Qatar, which has friendly relations with Iran—the regional archrival of those two nations. And Muhammed bin Salman (MBS)–the despotic ruler of Saudi Arabia and a protégé of Muhammed bin Zayed (MBZ), the undemocratic ruler of UAE–seems to have gone rogue. In addition to the failed war in Yemen and ineffectual embargo against Qatar, MBS has led a crackdown against opponents, including the brutal murder overseas of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the lock-up and shakedown of rich Saudis to get money for his regime. Thus, the Trump administration’s labeling of Iran as not only a troublemaker in the region, but one of emergency proportions, is curious—given the wildly unacceptable behavior of allies that are even less democratic than its designated villain. The single biggest foreign-policy error of the administration so far was its exit from the Iran nuclear deal, which at least delayed Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon for a decade or more. However, the administration fell victim to allies in the region that wanted to use a U.S. war to cripple their nemesis in the region. The president should avoid completely demonizing Iran and being dragged into war, as his hardline and neoconservative advisers seem to desire. The president pledged during his campaign to avoid needless wars, especially in the Middle East. However, he regularly uses threats to get countries to the negotiating table—as he has done with North Korea, China, Canada, and Mexico—and seems, in contrast to his hawkish advisers, to want to do the same with Iran. He appears to want to wrap up U.S. reentry into the Iran nuclear deal with an Iranian agreement to curtail its missile program and discontinue aid to proxy groups in the Persian Gulf region. But Congress needs to help Trump toward a more balanced policy in the region–to create more trust in Iran for any such negotiations–by nixing the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE. Such votes will likely will be only a symbolic action because the president will probably veto the resolution of disapproval, as he did with Congress’s negation of his border state of emergency and its vote to discontinue assistance to Saudi Arabia and UAE in their war with Yemen; but it will be another step to a more even-handed US policy in a region of declining importance to U.S. security and a much needed, if modest, pushback on executive power long gone rogue.

US-Saudi relations protect crony capitalism

Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin, New York Review of Books, June 27, 2019, Reckless in Riyadh, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/06/27/mohammad-bin-salman-reckless-riyadh/ Kushner’s bond with MBS similarly reflects class affinity, shared financial interests, and their self-conceptions as men who matter. In policy, it reflects a disregard for human rights, a desire to curtail Iranian influence across the region and to see the clerical regime in Tehran crippled or replaced, and an impulse to recast Middle Eastern politics not just by humbling Iran but by cutting the Gordian knot of Israeli–Palestinian animosity. Their relationship also embodies the self-dealing crony capitalism that keeps Middle Eastern regimes—and increasingly the United States—afloat.

Despite Congressional opposition, Trump will protect US relations with Saudi Arabia

Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin, New York Review of Books, June 27, 2019, Reckless in Riyadh, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/06/27/mohammad-bin-salman-reckless-riyadh/ Stirred up by the controversy surrounding the secret nuclear deal-making and the execution in April of thirty-seven Saudis, most of them Shias, on terrorism charges, Congress will continue to protest. Despite the unusual degree of bipartisan agreement on the issue—and Senator Lindsey Graham’s unusual break with Trump over renewed arms sales to the kingdom—this is unlikely to have any real effect. Significant action, if there is any, will come only when the White House changes occupants.

No European alternative suppliers – they are restricting sales

Stratfor Worldview Situation Report, June 26, 2019, https://worldview.stratfor.com/situation-report/saudi-arabia-new-setbacks-arms-imports-us-europe

The British government announced on June 25 that it will deny new licenses for military goods and technology exports to Saudi Arabia and its Yemen war allies in response to a June 20 ruling by the British Court of Appeals that such exports are unlawful, though the government said it would seek to overturn the ruling. Meanwhile, the Swiss government said on June 26 that it would ban Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus from working in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because of the conduct of these two powers in the Yemen war, SWI swissinfo.ch reported. And in the United States, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced an act on June 25 limiting how the president can make sales under the Arms Export Control Act, a measure U.S. President Donald Trump has used to make arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Why It Matters: These developments show how political and legal forces in Western nations are aligning to restrict arms purchases by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Even as executives often try to maintain such business relationships, activists and legislative forces continue to work to limit them.

Cutting arms sales to Saudi Arabia means Iranian aggression and war

Harold Hutchison has 15 years of experience covering military issues for multiple outlets, Harold Hutcison, June 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-is-the-least-bad-option-for-the-us, Arms sales to Saudi Arabia is the least bad option for the US Yemen sits on the Bab el Mandeb, a maritime choke point that is the southern entrance to the Red Sea. It is, essentially, Israel’s maritime back door. Aden, in the south, is also a major port, used by the United Kingdom as a military base until 1967. If the Houthis take control and drive out the government, it means that the Iranian-sponsored rebels will have the ability to contest passage through the Bab el Mandeb. They have already fired on an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer on multiple occasions and attacked a vessel that delivered humanitarian aid. 00:38 00:53 Commentary Editor Tim Carney on the expanded Washington Examiner magazine Watch Full Screen to Skip Ads That doesn’t even begin to touch Iran’s record. Since 1979, Iran has taken Americans hostage, sponsored terrorist attacks, provided insurgents in Iraq weapons that were used to kill American servicemembers, and leaders of the regime have openly and repeatedly expressed the desire to wipe Israel off the map. In the last two weeks, Iran has mined two oil tankers and fired on two American unmanned aerial vehicles, shooting one of them down. Why does America not reach out to Turkey? Turkey has not exactly been a reliable ally during the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The decision to yank the F-35 from that country is the right one, even if the Erdoğan regime’s purchase of the S-400 air-defense system is the wrong reason. If we can’t trust Turkey with the F-35, can we trust them with other weapon systems? The answer would appear to be no. Again, noting that the Saudis are not angels should not blind us to the fact that they have helped America out in the past. As Historians Peter Schweizer (in his 1994 book, Victory) and Larry Schweikart (whose biography of Ronald Reagan was released earlier this year) noted that in the 1980s, their increase of oil production helped bring down the Soviet Union. Furthermore, when America has turned its back on those who fought alongside us or who were friendly, it hasn’t worked out well. Did things get better or worse in the Middle East when we abandoned the Shah of Iran over his bad human rights record? Did things improve in Egypt when we turned our back on Hosni Mubarak in favor of the Arab Spring? What evidence is there that dumping Mohammed bin Salman over human rights and Khashoggi will work out any better for America – or the world, for that matter? Nobody wants to see a war break out between the United States and Iran. But cutting off weapons sales to Saudi Arabia is a good way to make war more likely, not less. If Saudi Arabia is weakened, Iran will be more likely to continue to be aggressive as the Trump administration keeps the pressure on that regime. A stronger Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, leaves Iran less room to maneuver. In the Middle East, America must often choose between a number of options that are less than ideal. Sticking with the Saudis is the least bad option the United States has at this time.

US arms sales responsible for human rights atrocities in Yemen, 90,000 dead

Barbara Boland is TAC’s foreign policy and national security reporter, , Arms Dealers and Lobyists Get Rich as Yemen Burns, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/arms-dealers-and-lobbyists-get-rich-as-yemen-burns/ Chronic human rights violator Saudi Arabia is using American-made weapons against civilians in the fifth-poorest nation in the world, Yemen. And make no mistake: U.S. defense contractors and their lobbyists and supporters in government are getting rich in the process. “Our role is not to make policy, our role is to comply with it,” John Harris, CEO of defense contractor Raytheon International, said to CNBC in February. But his statement vastly understates the role that defense contractors and lobbyists play in Washington’s halls of power, where their influence on policy directly impacts their bottom lines. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have waged war against Yemen, killing and injuring thousands of Yemeni civilians. An estimated 90,000 people have been killed, according to one international tracker. By December 2017, the number of cholera cases in Yemen had surged past one million, the largest such outbreak in modern history. An estimated 113,000 children have died since April 2018 from war-related starvation and disease. The United Nations calls the situation in Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis on earth, as over 14 million face starvation. The majority of the 6,872 Yemeni civilians killed and 10,768 wounded have been victims of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Nearly 90 coalition airstrikes have hit homes, schools, markets, hospitals, and mosques since 2015, according to Human Rights Watch. In 2018, the coalition bombed a wedding, killing 22 people, including eight children. Another strike hit a bus, killing at least 26 children. Advertisement American-origin munitions produced by companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Raytheon were identified at the site of over two dozen attacks throughout Yemen. Indeed, the United States is the single largest arms supplier to the Middle East and has been for decades, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. From 2014 to 2018, the United States supplied 68 percent of Saudi Arabia’s arms imports, 64 percent of the UAE’s imports, and 65 percent of Qatar’s imports. Some of this weaponry was subsequently stolen or sold to al-Qaeda linked groups in the Arabian Peninsula, where they could be used against the U.S. military, according to reports. The Saudi use of U.S.-made jets, bombs, and missiles against Yemeni civilian centers constitutes a war crime. It was an American laser-guided MK-82 bomb that killed the children on the bus; Raytheon’s technology killed the 22 people attending the wedding in 2018 as well as a family traveling in their car; and another American-made MK-82 bomb ended the lives of at least 80 men, women, and children in a Yemeni marketplace in March 2016. Yet American defense contractors continue to spend millions of dollars to lobby Washington to maintain the flow of arms to these countries. Pentagon Chief Shanahan Steps Down, Former Raytheon Executive Steps Up Cronyism in Action: Government’s Cozy Ties to Big Tech and Big War “Companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and other defense contractors see countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE as huge potential markets,” Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, told TAC. “They see them as massive opportunities to make a lot of money; that’s why they’re investing billions and billions of dollars. This is a huge revenue stream to these companies.” Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have all highlighted business with Saudi Arabia in their shareholder reports. “Operations and maintenance have become a very profitable niche market for U.S. corporations,” said Richard Aboulafia, a vice president at Teal Group. He added that defense contractors can make as much as 150 percent more profit off of operations and maintenance than from the original arms sale. U.S. weapons supply 57 percent of the military aircraft used by the Royal Saudi Air Force, and mechanics and technicians hired by American companies repair and maintain their fighter jets and helicopters. In 2018 alone, the United States made $4.5 billion worth of arms deals to Saudi Arabia and $1.2 billion to the United Arab Emirates, a report by William Hartung and Christina Arabia found. From the report: “Lockheed Martin…was involved in deals worth $25 billion; Boeing, $7.1 billion in deals; Raytheon, $5.5 billion in deals; Northrop Grumman had one deal worth $2.5 billion; and BAE systems…had a $1.3 billion deal.” “Because of the nature of U.S. arms control law, most of these sales have to get government approval, and we’ve absolutely seen lobbyists weighing in heavily on this,” Miles said. “The last time I saw the numbers, the arms industry had nearly 1,000 registered lobbyists. They’re not on the Hill lobbying Congress about how many schools we should open next year. They’re lobbying for defense contractors. The past 18 years of endless wars have been incredibly lucrative for the arms industry, and they have a vested industry in seeing these wars continue, and not curtailing the cash cow that…has been for them.” The defense industry spent $125 million on lobbying in 2018. Of that, Boeing spent $15 million on lobbyists, Lockheed Martin spent $13.2 million, General Dynamics $11.9 million, and Raytheon $4.4 million, according to the Lobbying Disclosure Act website. Writes Ben Freeman: According to a new report…firms registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act have reported receiving more than $40 million from Saudi Arabia in 2017 and 2018. Saudi lobbyists and public relations professionals have contacted Congress, the executive branch, media outlets and think tanks more than 4,000 times. Much of this work has been focused on ensuring that sales of U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia continue unabated and blocking congressional actions that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. … Lobbyists, lawyers and public relations firms working for the Saudis have also reported doling out more than $4.5 million in campaign contributions in the past two years, including at least $6,000 to Trump. In many cases, these contributions have gone to members of Congress they’ve contacted regarding the Yemen war. In fact, some contributions have gone to members of Congress on the exact same day they were contacted by Saudi lobbyists, and some were made to key members just before, and even on the day of, important Yemen votes. Over a dozen lobbying firms employed by defense contractors have also been working on behalf of the Saudi or Emiratis, efficiently lobbying for both the arms buyers and sellers in one fell swoop. One of these lobbying firms, the McKeon Group, led by former Republican congressman and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Howard McKeon, represents both Saudi Arabia and the American defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, MBDA, and L3 Technologies. Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman are the biggest suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia. In 2018, the McKeon Group took $1,697,000 from 10 defense contractors “to, among other objectives, continue the flow of arms to Saudi Arabia,” reports National Memo. Freeman details multiple examples where lobbyists working on behalf of the Saudis met with a senator’s staff and then made a substantial contribution to that senator’s campaign within days of a key vote to keep the United States in the Yemen war. American Defense International (ADI) represents the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s coalition partner in the war against Yemen, as well as several American defense contractors, including General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, L3 Technologies, and General Atomics. Not to be outdone by the McKeon Group, ADI’s lobbyists have also aggressively pursued possible swing votes in the U.S. Senate for the hefty sum of $45,000 a month, paid for by the UAE. ADI lobbyists discussed the “situation in Yemen” and the “Paveway sale to the UAE,” the same bomb used in the deadly wedding strike, with the office of Senator Martin Heinrich, a member of the Armed Services Committee, according to FARA reports. ADI’s lobbyists also met with Congressman Steve Scalise’s legislative director to advise his office to vote against the congressional resolution on Yemen. For their lobbying, Raytheon paid ADI $120,000 in 2018.

Yemen war boosts defense contractors

Barbara Boland is TAC’s foreign policy and national security reporter, , Arms Dealers and Lobyists Get Rich as Yemen Burns, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/arms-dealers-and-lobbyists-get-rich-as-yemen-burns/ In addition to the overt influence exercised by lobbyists for the defense industry, many former arms industry executives are embedded in influential posts throughout the Trump administration: from former Airbus, Huntington Ingalls, and Raytheon lobbyist Charles Faulkner at the State Department, who pushed Mike Pompeo to support arms sales in the Yemen war; to former Boeing executive and erstwhile head of the Department of Defense Patrick Shanahan; to his interim replacement Mark Esper, secretary of the Army and another former lobbyist for Raytheon. The war in Yemen has been good for American defense contractors’ bottom lines. Since the conflict began, General Dynamics’ stock price has risen from about $135 to $169 per share, Raytheon’s from about $108 to more than $180, and Boeing’s from about $150 to $360, according to In These Times. Their analysis found that those four companies have had at least $30.1 billion in Saudi military contracts approved by the State Department over the last 10 years.

US industry doesn’t need the sale, should ban munitioon sales to Saudi Arabia

William Hartung, Phd, June 24, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhartung/2019/06/24/do-u-s-defense-firms-really-need-arms-exports/#d04b10963eb7, Do U.S. Defense Firms Really Need To Export Arms To Saudi Arabia? Forbes But the truth of the matter is that U.S. firms could do without sales to Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes, and they’d still be doing just fine financially. The current Pentagon budget is at one of the highest levels since World War II, and it provides ample funding for procurement and R&D, much of which lands in the coffers of major defense firms that are the leading weapons exporters. This is particularly true when one considers that the most likely outcome would not be a total ban on sales to Saudi Arabia, but a prohibition on weapons most relevant to the Yemen war – precision-guided munitions in particular. Other deals, like a lucrative $15 billion sale of the Lockheed Martin THAAD missile defense system to Riyadh, would likely remain untouched. Arms sales in general are important to key firms like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, which got roughly one-quarter to one-third of their revenues, respectively, from foreign sales in 2018. But the biggest export earners were missile defense systems and combat aircraft exported to allies in Europe and Asia, not bombs being used in war zones.

Gulf partners useless in a conflict against Iran

Exum, June 21, 2019, Andrew Exum U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy from 2015-2016, U.S. Arms Sales to the Gulf Have Failed, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/us-military-support-gulf-all-backwards/592249/ First, let me be impolite but clear: Despite spending billions of dollars on military hardware, our Gulf partners do not have very good militaries. They sport large collections of weapons and equipment—some shiny, some rusted—but not real capabilities. That’s why I raise my eyebrows when administration officials cite the threat posed by Iran as a reason to keep arming these partners over the objections of Congress: In an actual war with Iran, we would likely not ask our Gulf partners to do much more than stay out of the way. We do not, for the most part, trust their ability to participate in what would be a very stressful, very challenging, and highly kinetic conflict. The war in Yemen has been a humanitarian nightmare, but it has also been illuminating from the perspective of defense policy. We can finally see what our various regional partners—the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Bahrainis, the Emiratis—can and cannot do. The result has not, for the most part, been pretty. When I was at the Pentagon in my last job, we determined that the majority of civilian deaths in Yemen were not caused by crimes of malice but by crimes of incompetence: The Saudi-led coalition’s air force simply could not plan and execute an independent air campaign that either accomplished its strategic objectives or, failing to do that, at least minimized civilian casualties. The Saudis realized this, early in the campaign, and they begged us for more help, which we were reluctant to give, because we didn’t want to own any more of their war in Yemen than we already did—especially when we had a fight against the Islamic State on our hands and needed all available resources to defeat it. Compounding these failures is the fact that our Gulf partners have largely invested in those areas where they cannot match the United States, and not in those areas for which the United States could actually use partner capacity. They have spent a lot of money building very expensive air forces, for example, that largely cannot do what their leaders need them to do. But these countries—whose economies depend on their ability to move oil and gas to the market by sea—haven’t spent much money at all on naval forces that can patrol their sea lanes, or minesweepers that can reopen those same sea lanes through either the Strait of Hormuz or the Bab el-Mandeb. That’s why you are more likely to see a U.S. naval vessel escorting an oil tanker through the Strait of Hormuz than you are to see a Gulf naval vessel. As a U.S. military officer wryly lamented to me on a visit to one Gulf country, “Out of the three services here, sir, the navy ranks fourth in terms of priority.” But ground forces don’t fare much better. Like naval surface warfare, ground combat and the things one has to do to be good at it are not sexy. You need to be physically fit (which involves running a lot), spend a lot of time on the rifle range (which involves sweating a lot), and rehearse battle drills and other collective tasks ad nauseam (which involve both running and sweating a lot). I once spent five months doing all that with a light-infantry platoon in the heat of the Kuwaiti desert and … well, it’s not always fun. The sun sucks, the sand sucks, and you’re trying to keep a bunch of teenagers focused in 100-degree heat. I get it. Getting shot by the enemy, though, is less fun, and along the border with Yemen, Saudi ground forces in particular have proved largely incapable of closing with and engaging the enemy—which is the entire point of possessing ground-maneuver forces. The failure of Saudi and allied ground forces has contributed to their overreliance on air forces, which have spent most of the past few decades practicing air-to-air combat (which they’re still not very good at, if we’re not grading on a curve) and were largely unprepared for what they were asked to do over Yemen—as lots of Yemeni civilians sadly discovered. The silver lining to all this bad news is that none of our Gulf partners looks ready to challenge Israel’s qualitative military edge anytime soon, individually or collectively, and we retain some leverage over our partners so long as they remain reliant on us for their collective defense.

More fighter sales won’t deter the Saudis

Exum, June 21, 2019, Andrew Exum U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy from 2015-2016, U.S. Arms Sales to the Gulf Have Failed, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/us-military-support-gulf-all-backwards/592249/ Going forward, we can afford to focus on building our allies’ capacity only when we expect to reap a direct benefit. Especially following large recent sales of aircraft to Saudi Arabia (F-15s), Kuwait (F-18s), and Qatar (F-15s), we’ve probably sold enough advanced fighter aircraft to the region. The Saudis and others will claim they now need F-35s and F-22s to deter Iran, but there is no evidence to suggest that Iran has been in any way deterred by the fourth-generation fighters, so I’m not sure why fifth-generation fighter aircraft would suddenly cause Qasem Soleimani & Co. to change their behavior.

Countries won’t switch suppliers because they want the US as an ally

Exum, June 21, 2019, Andrew Exum U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy from 2015-2016, U.S. Arms Sales to the Gulf Have Failed, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/us-military-support-gulf-all-backwards/592249/ That’s not going to be easy for two reasons: First, unlike Egypt or Lebanon or Israel, the Gulf militaries are not the beneficiaries of U.S. largesse in the form of foreign military financing, a mechanism whereby we give countries funds to spend on U.S. weapons and training. The Gulf states have their own dollars that they can spend as they like, and they don’t have to spend those dollars on U.S. weapons. If we don’t sell them a certain weapon system, they can buy a similar one elsewhere. But they do so at their own risk. If you buy a bunch of Chinese drones and allow Chinese engineers to walk around your air bases, it will not be long before those U.S. aircraft and U.S. military personnel find another base. And our Gulf partners don’t want that. They like keeping us close.

US must stop arms sales to stop the war and end killing in Yemen

David Ray, June 24, 2019, Ray is vice president for policy and advocacy at CARE USA, a humanitarian aid and development organization headquartered in Atlanta, and is managing director of the CARE Action Network, https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/commentary-yemen-needs-us-help-not-bombs-to-stop-humanitarian/article_b29adc98-9422-11e9-a7fd-6f6b4ba7d878.html, Commentary: Yemen needs US help, not bombs, to stop humanitarian crisis For over four years, the war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people and brought millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine. Yet few Americans realize that alongside generous U.S. contributions to provide assistance to Yemeni families, the United States also is contributing to the root cause of their suffering by exporting billions of dollars in bombs and other weapons to some of the countries waging war in Yemen. Although Congress has pursued bipartisan legislation to end U.S. military support for the war in Yemen, these attempts have not yet succeeded, leaving countless innocent lives in the balance. Now is the time for the House and Senate to re-double legislative efforts to finally stop American involvement in this horrible conflict. The scope of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is staggering. More than 24 million people — over 80 percent of the country’s population — need humanitarian aid to survive, and nearly 16 million of those do not know when and where they will get their next meal. Yemen has also seen the worst cholera outbreak in modern history, as the bombardment of hospitals, water facilities and other key infrastructure helps this deadly but preventable disease spread among a vulnerable population displaced by the war. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is entirely man-made, fueled by year upon year of war. My organization, CARE, serves over 1 million Yemenis per month, and aid agencies overall are helping roughly 12 million Yemenis with food, medicine and protection. But the crisis has cut so deep and lasted so long that aid alone cannot keep Yemenis alive and safe. The only thing that will truly ease the suffering of the Yemini people is to end the war which is bolstered by U.S. arms sales. All sides engaged in this war have betrayed the Yemeni people, and the United States must pressure all warring parties to stop fighting, prioritize peace and commit to supporting Yemen to recover and rebuild. Throughout the conflict, the United States has provided logistical and material support for a military campaign led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United Arab Emirates, which has included nearly 20,000 airstrikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, despite consistent evidence that these attacks regularly injure and kill Yemeni civilians. The Saudi-led coalition, including blockades of Yemen’s seaports, airports and roads, have further exposed millions of people to disease, starvation and death. The Houthis also bear responsibility for the catastrophe in Yemen. Their obstruction and interference with humanitarian assistance and indiscriminate attacks on civilians also are unacceptable. Earlier this spring, the White House rejected an attempt by Congress to send this very message, by vetoing a bipartisan measure to cut U.S. support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Last month, President Trump followed up by using a loophole to circumvent Congress and push through over $8 billion of weapons sales. But there are new opportunities for Congress to try again to end this shameful chapter in U.S. foreign policy. We were pleased that Sen. Lindsey Graham supported bipartisan resolutions that the Senate adopted Thursday that formally disapproved the recently announced arms sales. But Congress must further safeguard Yemeni lives by passing binding legislation to ban U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE until the conflict in Yemen is resolved. The upcoming must-pass annual defense authorization bill, which typically includes a range of measures related to U.S. national security, is the perfect opportunity to make this happen. Now is the time for Congress to demonstrate that the will of the American people and the lives of innocent Yemeni civilians are a priority. What comes next is an opportunity to steer US foreign policy, and the policy of coalition partners, in the direction of building up Yemen, and helping to give back the peace it once knew.

Can’t solve German sales

Egyptian Independent, 6-17, 19, https://www.egyptindependent.com/germany-exports-weapons-to-saudi-led-alliance-in-2019/, Germany exports weapons to Saudi-led alliance in 2019 The German government has approved more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) this year in defense exports to members of the Saudi-led coalition directly involved in the war in Yemen, German news agency dpa reported, quoting a document from the country’s Ministry for Economic Affairs.

Most recent sales have no deterrent value – they won’t be delivered for a year

Washington Post, 6-18, 19, https://www.vnews.com/Editorial-Trump-continues-to-kowtow-to-MBS-Congress-has-a-chance-to-say-no-26386151

The administration claims it is justified in using emergency authority to advance the sales because of rising tensions with Iran — a crisis largely of its own making. But as the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul of Texas, pointed out, some of the materiel will not be ready for delivery for more than a year, meaning the sales are not relevant to the current situation in the Persian Gulf or in Yemen. In reality, Trump is establishing a dangerous precedent: that he and future presidents may sell U.S. weapons to any dictator in the world without consulting Congress, simply by declaring a notional emergency.

US sales responsible for 17 million Yemenis being at-risk of death

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog., 6-18, 19, Pompeo Shamefully Covers for the Saudis Again Congress has fighting back against the “emergency” for the last several weeks. Sen. Rand Paul is one of the co-sponsors of the bipartisan Senate effort to oppose the bogus “emergency,” and last week he spoke about the need to block arms sales to Bahrain and Qatar as well. He said, “Proliferating arms in the midst of chaos is a recipe for disaster.” He went on to address the administration’s claim that the expedited arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE are needed to counter Iran: The argument goes that we must arm anyone who is not Iran. We are told that because of Iran’s threat the US must accept selling arms to anyone who opposes Iran, even bone-saw-wielding countries brazen enough to kill a dissident in a foreign consulate. It doesn’t matter how you act, how you behave, or who you kill, we’ll still give you arms. What would happen if we just said no? What would happen if we simply conditioned our arms sales on behavior? Are the Saudis so weak that Iran will run over them and run over the whole Middle East without our arms? Of course not! The Saudis now spend more on their military than the Russians. The Saudis have the third-largest amount of military spending in the world….The Saudis and their Gulf allies spend eight times more than Iran. They’re perfectly capable of defending themselves against Iran. What are the Saudis doing with all the weapons we give them? Well, for one, they’re bombing civilians in Yemen. They’ve been using our bombs and up until recently they were refueling their bombers with our planes. We’ve got no business in the war in Yemen. Congress never voted on it. It’s unauthorized, it’s unconstitutional, and we have no business aiding the Saudis in this massacre. The Saudis have used these bombs to bomb a funeral procession. They wounded over 400…a funeral procession! They wounded over 400 and killed 150. The Saudis recently bombed and killed 40 children on a schoolbus. The Saudis, with our support, continue to blockade one of the main ports of Yemen. As a consequence of this blockade and the Yemeni civil war, 17 million people live on the edge of starvation. In addition, the Saudis indiscriminately fed arms into the Syrian civil war. That is just a portion of Paul’s speech, and I recommend watching the rest of it here. He explains very well why the Saudis cannot be trusted with US weapons. We know in advance that they will be used to commit war crimes, and we know that some of the weapons provided to the Saudis and Emiratis will eventually end up in the hands of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its allies. There is no “emergency” that justifies rushing more weapons to them. On the contrary, the US shouldn’t be providing them with any weapons at all. Pompeo’s decision to overrule his experts again is the latest example of how he puts indulging our despotic clients ahead of any other consideration. The evidence that the Saudi coalition makes extensive use of Sudanese recruits is not in doubt. Mark Perry reported on the coalition’s reliance on Sudanese recruits to wage their war in Yemen in an article for TAC last year. The New York Times also reported late last year on the use of child soldiers from Darfur. The Saudis and Emiratis use the Sudanese recruits as cannon fodder while they remain safely in the rear: Some families are so eager for the money that they bribe militia officers to let their sons go fight. Many are ages 14 to 17. In interviews, five fighters who have returned from Yemen and another about to depart said that children made up at least 20 percent of their units. Two said children were more than 40 percent. To keep a safe distance from the battle lines, their Saudi or Emirati overseers commanded the Sudanese fighters almost exclusively by remote control, directing them to attack or retreat through radio headsets and GPS systems provided to the Sudanese officers in charge of each unit, the fighters all said. Following reports like these that the Saudi coalition has been using child soldiers recruited from Sudan, the State Department’s experts recommended adding Saudi Arabia to the list: State Department experts recommended adding Saudi Arabia to the soon-to-be released list based in part on news reports and human rights groups’ assessments that the desert kingdom has hired child fighters from Sudan to fight for the U.S.-backed coalition in Yemen, the four sources said. There is no question that Saudi Arabia recruits child soldiers to fight in Yemen, and there is no question that it is an outrageous practice that deserves to be condemned by our government. There is also no question that the Trump administration is interested only in catering to Saudi Arabia and the UAE no matter the cost to our interests, values, or reputation.

Germany will just sell Saudi Arabia the weapons

Duetche Welle, 6-19, 19, https://www.dw.com/en/germany-exports-weapons-to-saudi-led-alliance-in-2019/a-49224987 Germany exports weapons to Saudi-led alliance in 2019 The German government has approved more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) this year in defense exports to members of the Saudi-led coalition directly involved in the war in Yemen, German news agency dpa reported, quoting a document from the country’s Ministry for Economic Affairs. It showed that Berlin approved 56 defense export deals between January 1 and June 5, including €801.8 million worth of exports to Egypt and €26.1 million worth of exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the document, Berlin also approved two defense deals with Saudi Arabia during the period, despite a ban. Ulrich Nussbaum, a senior official in the ministry, said the deals included €831,000 worth of armored vehicles. The document was issued by the ministry in response to a request for information by Omid Nouripour, a lawmaker belonging to the opposition Green Party. Read more: In Yemen war, coalition forces rely on German arms and technology Last year, Germany imposed a temporary halt on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the assassination of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Berlin also cited the four-year war in Yemen when it suspended arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has headed an alliance of Arab states — including Egypt and the UAE — fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. The rebels are being backed by Iran. The conflict has triggered what the UN describes as “the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world.” Watch video02:58 Saudi Arabia, UAE use German-made arms Ineffectual controls Not everyone, however, welcomed the German ban on arms exports. France and the UK, for instance, have pressed Germany to lift restrictions. Both countries have criticized that the Saudi weapons freeze also bars sales of arms manufactured outside Germany that happen to have German components in them. Paris said that Berlin’s arms export policy and complex licensing rules threatened future bilateral defense projects. The pressure from Britain and France forced Germany to partially lift its ban, particularly with regard to exports of weapons with German components. Read more: Yemen: The devastating war waged with European weapons There is also evidence that Germany’s arms export controls are ineffectual: In February, investigations by DW and others revealed that German weapons were being used in Yemen, despite the controls. A report released by the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March showed that Saudi Arabia bought more weapons from abroad than any other country in the world, accounting for 12% of global arms imports. Germany, meanwhile, increased its international arms sales by 13% between 2009–13 and 2014–18, according to the report, with German-built submarines enjoying particularly strong demand abroad.

24 million Saudis at-risk of dying

The US was involved in the Saudi-led war before Trump took office. But by rejecting congressional attempts to end that involvement, he has cemented American fingerprints on one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world: According to the most recent United Nations report, 80 percent of the Yemeni population — 24 million people — is in need of humanitarian assistance.

Unified Democratic and Republican opposition to Saudi Sales

ROBBIE GRAMER, LARA SELIGMAN | JUNE 12, 2019, Foreign Policy, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/12/infuriating-congress-trump-administration-pompeo-pushes-new-saudi-arms-sales-iran-khashoggi-hearing-oversight-state-department/, Infuriating Congress, Trump Administration Keeps Pushing for Saudi Arms Sales A member of the Yemeni security forces loyal to Houthi rebels stands guard at a square in the capital, Sanaa, on June 5. A member of the Yemeni security forces loyal to Houthi rebels stands guard at a square in the capital, Sanaa, on June 5. MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES) Only eight months after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi threw U.S.-Saudi relations into turmoil, the Trump administration appears increasingly bent on selling arms to Riyadh in its campaign to isolate Iran, angering members of Congress. That was evident Wednesday when a senior State Department official faced down indignant Democratic House members over the Trump administration’s plan to push through new arms sales to its Gulf allies waging war in Yemen. Trending Articles Nuclear Disarmament’s Lessons for Climate Change. If we can ban nukes, we can ban carbon emissions. Here’s how. Powered By Lawmakers were fuming about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s move last month to use an obscure emergency provision to advance the sales despite congressional opposition. During the Wednesday hearing, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pledged to use “every possible avenue” to block 22 arms sales worth $8.1 billion to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and, in one instance, Jordan. The fiery hearing marked the latest front in the battle between Capitol Hill and the White House over the administration’s repeated attempts to use the powers of the executive branch to circumvent lawmakers on issues including the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Trump’s long-promised border wall with Mexico. Engel and other Democrats on the committee accused the administration of concocting a “phony emergency” to push through the arms sales during a hearing on Wednesday with R. Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. “There is no emergency. It’s phony. It’s made up. And it’s an abuse of the law,” Engel told Cooper. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized Saudi Arabia’s handling of the war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have died in part due to the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes. They also cast doubt on Riyadh’s reliability as an ally after Saudi officials’ alleged role in the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, in the country’s consulate in Istanbul last year. Cooper defended Pompeo’s decision to push through emergency arms sales as a “one-time event” aimed at helping Gulf countries deter Iran. In addition to backing Houthi rebels, Tehran has supported terrorist groups across the Middle East. Last month, senior U.S. officials accused Tehran of making “credible” threats against U.S. troops in Iraq. Cooper said it was important for the administration to be “sending a message of deterrence to Tehran … sending a message to our partners, that we are with them shoulder to shoulder.” The top Republican on the committee, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, said “the recent use of this emergency authority, in my judgment, was unfortunate.” Other Republicans urged the committee to hold a classified briefing with administration officials to update lawmakers on the threat from Iran. The war in Yemen, considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, has become the center of a protracted battle between Capitol Hill and President Donald Trump over the administration’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia and the U.S. role in prolonging the conflict in Yemen. Trump in April vetoed a bipartisan resolution that would have forced an end to U.S. involvement in the war, which is now limited to training support and arms sales. The administration’s latest move to circumvent Congress’s traditional role in approving arms sales has become a flash point even for lawmakers from Trump’s own Republican Party. It comes just months after the president declared a national emergency to divert military funding for his long-promised wall on the border with Mexico without consent from Capitol Hill. A bipartisan group of senators is advancing 22 disapproval resolutions to block each arms sale in votes that could come as soon as next week, but it’s unclear if they will pass with a veto-proof majority. The resolutions were introduced by Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez, Chris Murphy, Patrick Leahy, and Jack Reed, and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, and Todd Young.

Arms sales to the Gulf key to reassure allies and reassure our allies

Cooper, 6-12, 19, CLARKE COOPER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE, POLITICAL-MILITARY AFFAIRS, BEFORE THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE , https://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA00/20190612/109641/HHRG-116-FA00-Wstate-CooperR-20190612.pdf Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member McCaul, Members: “In recent days, neutral shipping has been attacked… By providing a deterrent against hostile actions, this transfer lowers the risk of a broader conflict. The… determination reflects United States grave concern with the growing escalation in the Gulf and its implication for the security of our friends in the region.” These words could describe the context of the recent Emergency Certification this hearing has been convened to discuss, but they are actually from a State Department announcement from 1984. A hearing took place 35 years ago shortly after that announcement was made, similar to the one we are participating in today. At that hearing, then Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Ambassador Michael Armacost, told Congress of our “need to respond firmly and decisively to requests from the Gulf states for appropriate and justifiable security assistance.” He added that: “The states in the area must be confident that our interests in the Gulf are sufficiently important for us to help in a crisis. The United States has to be seen as a credible partner in the search for stability and security.” Then, as now, Iran’s revolutionary government threatened international shipping in the Gulf. Then, as now, our partners required the reassurance provided by an American demonstration of resolve. And then, as now, the Administration took steps to deter war, not to bring it closer. On May 24th , 2019, the Department of State notified Congress that the Secretary determined that “an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale” of 22 foreign military and direct commercial sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and, in one case, Jordan. These sales included aircraft support, munitions, logistics services, unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, training, and advisory services. These sales and the associated emergency certification are intended to address the military need of our partners in the face of an urgent regional threat posed by Iran; promote the vitality of our bilateral relationships by reassuring our partners; and preserve strategic advantage against near-peer competitors. A combination of factors led the Secretary to determine that the situation constituted an emergency and prompted him to make the Certification, including the significant increase in the intelligence threat streams related to Iran; the clear, provocative, and damaging actions taken by Iran’s government; and the need to respond to military capability requests from our partners. Iran is a malign actor and the leading state sponsor of terrorism. It poses conventional and asymmetric threats to our partners in the Gulf, and to U.S. equities in the region and beyond. While these facts are well-known, we have seen new, troubling and escalatory indications and warnings from the Iranian regime that have prompted an increased U.S. force posture in the region. Members of Congress were briefed on the current threat streams in greater detail in a classified setting in May. In this unclassified setting, I would note my concurrence with the commander of the U.S. Central Command, General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., who late last week described the threats posed by Iran as clear, compelling, very real, and possibly imminent. In May, the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen publicly threatened to increase operations targeting vital military targets in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Saudi-Led Coalition positions in Yemen – sites where many American citizens are present. In addition, Ambassador John Bolton described recent Iranian attacks on commercial shipping off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, recent attacks on pumping stations of the Saudi East-West Pipeline utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles, and a rocket fired into a park about a kilometer from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on May 19th. These malign – even provocative – actions mark a new evolution in the threat Iran poses to the security of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who live and work in the Gulf States, and to the security of the region, and our partners. Our posture regarding Iran remains focused on assuring our partners of our commitment to enhancing their defense capabilities. This action is not intended to be an escalatory military step; instead, it is a loud and clear message to Iran that we stand by our regional partners. This set of cases demonstrate the United States’ resolve to stand with our partners and to ensure we remain their partner of choice. In the Memorandum to Congress, the Secretary explained that “Iranian malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad.” He noted that “Iran’s actions have led directly to the deaths of over six hundred U.S. military personnel in Iraq, untold suffering in Syria, and significant threats to Israeli security,” and he observed that “current threat reporting indicates Iran engages in preparations for further malign activities throughout the Middle East region, including potential targeting of U.S. and allied military forces in the region.” While the law requires the Department of State to notify Congress, Members of the Committee should understand clearly that the intended audience of this notification extends beyond Congress or even Iran. As the 2017 National Security Strategy makes clear, we are in an era of global competition against near-peer adversaries, including Russia and China. That competition includes security and defensive relationships that have political, military, and economic ramifications. In such an environment it is crucial that the United States remain the partner of choice and be trusted as a dependable provider of defense capabilities – including materiel – to our partners. Our National Security Strategy describes the invaluable advantages that our strong relationships with allies and partners deliver. While the United States continues to build and offer our partners with the most capable, advanced, defense technologies, we do not have a monopoly on fostering or maintaining reliable security relationships. The National Security Strategy makes clear that the United States must compete for positive relationships around the world as China and Russia target their investments in the developing world to expand influence and gain competitive advantages against the United States. Our adversaries, including Russia and China, have adopted deliberate, long-term strategies of trying to disrupt our partnerships by seeking to replace the United States as the credible supplier of choice. We simply cannot allow openings that our adversaries will exploit to disrupt partnerships, to reduce our regional influence, to impact our defense industrial base, and to spread chaos. Remaining a reliable security partner to our allies and friends around the world is also in the interest and furtherance of our values. When our adversaries sell weapons of war, they do not place the same, if any, premium that we do on addressing the risk that the capabilities we provide may contribute to abuses of human rights or violations of international humanitarian law. China does not work to expand transparency on the battlefield, and there is no Russian Conventional Arms Transfer Policy that requires action to facilitate partner efforts to reduce civilian casualties, which is a policy we have had in place since 2018. When President Trump issued the updated Conventional Arms Transfer Policy in 2018, a centerpiece of the new Policy was its unprecedented directive that we work with partners to reduce the risk of civilian harm in their military operations. We are working on the implementation of that directive to shape future engagements, including with partners in advance of conflict situations. Before I close, let me address a few other aspects of these sales and the emergency certification that may be of interest to you. First, the step recently taken by the Secretary to certify an emergency has ample precedent. The statutory authority in the Arms Export Control Act has been exercised three other times in past Administrations, both Republican and Democratic. In two of those cases, it was also for sales to Saudi Arabia due to threats posted by other countries in the region. There is, however, one element of the most recent emergency notification that is new: unlike previous instances this authority has been invoked, Congress was provided with an unclassified Memorandum of Justification by the Department of State. Second, we value deeply this Committee’s and Congress’ role more broadly in the review of the arms transfer process. We take pride in the depth and detail of the working relationship the Department – and the Bureau of Political Military Affairs in particular – have with the Committees in the course of this process. As the Secretary made very clear, we intend for this certification to be a one-time event for a discrete set of cases, utilizing statutory authority provided by Congress. As such, we view the Secretary’s action as an affirmation of the value that we continue to place on our engagement with you on arms transfers and broader security assistance issues. We will continue to use the Tiered Review process, the informal review that this Committee, and its Senate counterpart, conduct of pending arms transfers, before those transfers are formally notified. In fact, since the emergency notification on May 24, 2019, the Department of State has already utilized the tiered review process for a new sale of F-16s to Bulgaria worth more than $1.6 billion. Third, none of these sales constitute introductions of fundamentally new capabilities to the region; none fundamentally alter the military balance of power; none are of a nature or category that Congress has not previously reviewed and supported for these partners. Finally, many Members – indeed, many Americans – are concerned about the end use of the arms we provide overseas, including in the context of the Yemen civil war. These concerns are appropriate and we share them. From the beginning of this conflict we have maintained that a political solution is urgently needed, and supported the UN-led effort working toward that objective. In addition, we have worked with the Saudi-led Coalition over the course of its operations to reduce the occurrence of civilian casualties. Our support in this regard has included the provision of training on targeting and the supply of more precise munitions, to mentoring and advising the Coalition on best practices to reduce civilian casualties – such as the standing up and operationalization of the Saudi Joint Incident Assessment Team – to training on international humanitarian law, and direct engagement with political leadership on this topic. While more work is undoubtedly needed, our engagement with the Coalition has improved its ability to avoid civilian casualties in its operations. So that is the global, steady-state picture: the need to remain engaged with partners; to ensure we, rather than near-peer adversaries, are their primary security partners; to make clear that we support our partners in the defense of their realms and the security of the regions; and to deter our shared adversaries from disrupting those objectives. Or, as Ambassador Armacost put it to Congress all those years ago, “Our decisions were a prudent yet clear response to an escalating emergency which threatens Saudi Arabia” (and the Gulf). “They satisfied a clear military need. In addition… we sent a political signal of both reassurance and deterrence. It was a measured response which promotes regional stability and security.” Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, Committee Members: Those were the purposes for which President Reagan certified an emergency in 1984: and, within the context of the imminent threat posed by Iran, they are the purposes for which Secretary Pompeo invoked the same authority two weeks ago. Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.

Strong relations with Saudi Arabia necessary to deter Iran and protect US interests in the Middle East

Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. He was deputy national security advisor for strategic planning, presidential envoy to Iraq, and ambassador to India in the George W. Bush administration, May 7, 2019, Foreign Policy, Trump Deserves More Credit for His Foreign Policies, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/07/trump-deserves-more-credit-for-his-foreign-policies/ The murder of Khashoggi was as abhorrent as it was stupid. But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is accused of ordering the murder, is the most powerful man in Saudi Arabia and its likely future king. He is 33 years old and could easily rule the kingdom for the next four decades and beyond. Making an enemy of him now is not a good idea, especially given the many other challenges the United States faces in the region. In addition, Mohammed bin Salman, though authoritarian, espouses a moderate and modern message (in Saudi terms) and is the leader most likely to keep extremist forces from gaining power and influence in the kingdom. An unstable Saudi Arabia would be a preeminent source of potential terrorists and radical ideology. Further, without Saudi Arabia, the United States cannot have a coherent and effective policy to counter Iran’s hegemonic activities in the Middle East. And although the United States has dramatically reduced its dependence on Saudi oil, the global economy and the economies of U.S. treaty allies depend on energy from the kingdom.

Congress should unconditionally ban the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia

Scott Paul is a Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor at Oxfam America, June 6, 2019, https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2019/06/end-the-arms-sales-yemen-congress-ndaa/, End the arms sales, end the suffering The votes in Congress are there to stop the US from selling weapons that fuel the war in Yemen. But will our leaders follow through? President Trump recently declared an “emergency” to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It’s the kind of move that only entrenches the US further as a key enabler of the war in Yemen. Following years of unconditional support for the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition, our Congressional leaders must now take bold, comprehensive action that will have an immediate and positive impact for those most in need. They must suspend the transfer of weapons for the Yemen war in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The US is fueling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis The Trump administration could not make its priorities more clear: pick friends and sell them weapons, as many as possible, no matter the consequences for people who will suffer the fallout. The real emergency is the millions of Yemenis who are still suffering from hunger and a broken economy. Over four years of war have left too many families struggling to survive. Disease continues to spread rapidly, with the world’s largest recorded cholera outbreak devastating families throughout the country. Now the conflict is at a critical juncture. Peace negotiations are as fragile as ever. Oxfam and other humanitarian organizations are facing huge obstacles to deliver life-saving aid that is desperately needed in hard-to-reach communities. Powerful states must demand a political agreement for the millions of Yemenis trapped in the conflict. The kind of arms ban that will matter A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation to block President Trump’s recently announced arms sales, but it faces a likely presidential veto. Even if it could overcome a veto, it will not stop the billions of dollars worth of bombs, tanks, and other military equipment that Congress approved in past years and which are already scheduled for delivery. In short, while standing up to President Trump’s recently announced arms sales will call needed attention to the issue here in the US, it won’t convince anyone fighting in Yemen to pursue peace with any greater urgency. The most powerful way for Congress to stand up for Yemen is to simply suspend the transfer of weapons to Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition countries in the upcoming NDAA, a law that Congress passes each year to outline the budget and expenditures of the US Department of Defense. To be precise, the arms sale suspension in the NDAA should include the following elements: It should be long enough to matter (ideally two years); It should be unconditional and without any presidential waiver with respect to aerial bombs, which have been consistently used in violation of the law of war; If other weapons (other than aerial bombs) are conditioned, they should be conditioned on progress toward a political settlement and support for the economy and aid delivery; It should apply to all member countries in the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition; and It should apply to all transfers of arms, even those already licensed. This approach actually enjoys broad support. The Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, introduced by senior Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, includes an arms transfer suspension with almost all of these elements (it applies only to Saudi Arabia, not other members of the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition). Congress is poised to act—if our leaders are focused and brave It’s likely that majorities would vote for a strong arms sale ban in both the House and Senate—but Congressional leaders may not give them the chance. Instead, rather than take on the arms industry and President Trump, they may try to include weaker arms transfer language that will be easy for the Trump administration and the parties fighting in Yemen to ignore. In the Senate, Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-NE) have indicated they oppose blocking the Trump administration’s arms sales and would prefer a softer touch to Yemen. In the House, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) are working on Yemen-related legislation that they may propose adding to the NDAA, but it remains to be seen whether they will support strong action. The support of Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) will be critical for a strong suspension to move forward. Ironically, the House’s Democratic leaders, who vocally championed the Yemen War Powers Resolution that President Trump vetoed this Spring, have not yet stated their support for a strict approach to arms transfers. But it’s worth remembering that many of those same leaders only committed to the War Powers Resolution following substantial public demand. An unconditional ban on bomb transfers—the kinds of weapons that are most likely to be put to use to destroy schools, hospitals, and family homes—will only become law if House and Senate leaders make it a top priority in the NDAA. But in full view of the Trump administration’s morally bankrupt Yemen policy—and following Democratic promises to right that wrong—we cannot demand anything less. Share this story:

Morality answer – We need to work with the Saudis to protect our national interest

Caschetta, 7-20, 19, A.J. Caschetta is a Ginsburg-Ingerman fellow at the Middle East Forum and a principal lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology, US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of ‘realpolitik’, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/453544-us-saudi-arabia-policy-needs-a-dose-of-realpolitik

Iran has spent the past several months demonstrating that it poses the greatest threat to American interests in the Middle East and beyond. In addition to sabotaging and seizing oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, it has left its fingerprints on virtually every conflict that concerns us: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and even Central and South America, especially Venezuela. Working with Saudi Arabia to defeat Iran and Iranian proxies is smart policy, even if many believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) is a barbarian. In diplomatic parlance, this is called “realpolitik,” a term coined by Ludwig von Rochau in the 19th century to indicate an essentially amoral approach to foreign policy. Rather than choosing only allies that share ideals (in our case, freedom, democracy and enlightenment principles), a realpolitik approach insists that our national interests take precedence over morality. Put another way, in realpolitik, pursuing one’s national interests is the highest moral goal. U.S. history is steeped in the realpolitik tradition of helping less-threatening autocrats fight those who pose greater threats. We partnered with Joseph Stalin to defeat Adolf Hitler, and after that we partnered with a variety of brutal dictators to stop the spread of communism. In Iran, we backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi instead of his communist and Islamist enemies. In Egypt, we backed Hosni Mubarak and, later, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi instead of the Muslim Brotherhood. When Ayatollah Khomeini’s forces seemed poised to overrun Iraq in the mid-1980s, we provided information to Saddam Hussein to prevent an Iranian victory. Nobody was under the illusion that Stalin or Saddam shared our morals, but Hitler and Khomeini were worse, so we chose to work with bad actors to fight worse ones. It should surprise no one, then, that President Trump has drawn closer to Iran’s primary Muslim rival, Saudi Arabia. However, a large chorus of voices appears determined to sabotage this strategic partnership. Naturally, the loudest voices are on the left, which is locked into an “oppose-everything-Trump” mindset and is especially eager for the U.S. to rejoin the Obama nuclear deal. Less predictable are the Republicans in Congress who oppose the U.S.-Saudi alliance. Shortly after Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey last fall, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced that MbS has “got to go.” Looking into the TV camera, Graham said: “Saudi Arabia, if you’re listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose. … MbS has tainted your country and tainted yourself.” Since Graham knows that Saudi subjects don’t choose their rulers, his comments appeared to signal his approval for a coup. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) opined that relations with the Saudis tarnish the U.S. and that “there isn’t enough money in the world to purchase back our credibility on human rights.” Responding to smug remarks by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) noted last October that “it takes a lot of damn gall for Saudi Arabia — a dictatorship with 3,000 political prisoners held without trial — to lecture anyone in the U.S. on the presumption of innocence.” Paul is correct, but his policy recommendations are misinformed by his belief that Saudi Arabia is “the worst actor out there promoting terrorism.” That distinction belongs to Iran. A perhaps apocryphal story from the Harry Truman era suggests a way forward. After meeting with the Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza García, Truman was assailed by his outraged advisers, who purportedly asked, “Don’t you know what a bastard he is?” Truman responded with a confident, “Yeah, but he’s our bastard.” Not too long ago, MbS was ostracized by so many world leaders that pundits from Al-Jazeera to The New Yorker were questioning whether he could survive the fallout from the brutal, amateurish hit on Khashoggi. But he did survive, and he wants to fight Iran. Rather than casting him aside and waiting for a more democratic leader to emerge, we should be squeezing him — making him, as Truman would say, “our bastard,” our fighter.

Saudi, UAE, Jordan drones come from China

James Reinl, June 3, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-06-03/cheap-drones-are-changing-calculus-war-yemen, Cheap drones are changing the calculus of war in Yemen Hi-tech military drones are currently built, deployed and exported by Israel, Turkey and Iran. Other countries — such as Saudi, the UAE, Jordan and Iraq — possess UAVs, often bought from China.

Unified political opposition to Saudi Arms sales

Stephanie Sundier, June 7, 2019, A bipartisan mix of senators on Wednesday issued 22 separate resolutions to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Senators move to block Trump administration arms sales to Saudi Arabia, https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/06/senators-move-to-block-trump-administration-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/ The Arms Export Control Act typically allows Congress 30 days to review potential international arms sales. The Trump administration, though, indicated last month that it intended to use an emergency provision of the act that would bypass the review and allow an immediate $8.1 billion weapons sale. The administration is justifying the use of the emergency provision by citing its invocation during previous administrations, including Reagan’s use during the Iran-Iraq War. Senator Bob Menendez, though, explained that the “Trump administration’s effort to sell billions of US weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is yet another example of an end-run around Congress and a disregard for human rights.” Additionally, relations with Saudi Arabia have been divisive in the US. The Trump administration continues to support close ties despite evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Congress, however, has sought to hold Salman responsible. These factors have resulted in a broadly unified senate coalition.

France sales to Saudi Arabia increasing

Reuters, June 4, 2019, https://news.yahoo.com/french-weapons-sales-saudi-jumped-105836307.html, French weapons sales to Saudi jumped 50 percent last year France’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia rose 50 pct in 2018 despite the government calling for an end to the “dirty war” in Yemen, figures released on Tuesday showed. An annual government report showed that total arms sales rose 30 percent to 9.1 billion euros in 2018, driven by a sharp increase in sales to European allies. France sold about 1 billion euros worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, with the main item being patrol boats. A partial naval blockade of ports controlled by the Houthi movement is one of the tactics used by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that has been criticized by campaigners for worsening a humanitarian crisis. “With such transfers revealing a geopolitical alliance with these regimes and total violation of international commitments, one can only expect worsening conflicts in Yemen or the Horn of Africa, where the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are beginning to redeploy in partnership with France,” said Tony Fortin at the Paris-based Observatory for Armamanent. The French government says its arms sales are governed by strict procedures that are in line with international treaties. “Maintaining economic relations with these countries means keeping a presence in key regions for our security interests and our energy supplies. It is also about fighting terrorism and protecting our nationals on the ground,” Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said in a preface to the report. France is among the world’s leading arms exporters, its sales surging in recent years on the back of its first lucrative overseas contracts for Rafale fighter jets, notably to India and Qatar, as well as a multi-billion submarine deal with Australia. Paris has sought to increase its diplomatic weight in the Middle East through the sale of naval vessels, tanks, artillery and munitions to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That has brought with it criticism from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and some lawmakers who have urged it to scale back support for Arab states that are part of the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen against fighters from the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement that controls the capital. French arms exports to the Middle East increased to 4 billion euros from 3.9 billion last year, but because of bigger increases elsewhere now make up a smaller share of the total. The bulk of those sales came from Qatar, which ordered Rafale-fighter jets and helicopters accounting for about 2.4 billion euros. Qatar is a rival of Saudi Arabia and is not part of the coalition fighting in Yemen. In contrast, sales to Egypt, which has been one of France’s top customers over the last five years, stagnated at about 270 million euros and orders from the United Arab Emirates, the other key member of the coalition in Yemen, fell sharply. France has also been pushing for more sales within the European Union as it looks to stem an aggressive sales policy from the United States and increase the bloc’s security independence. The report showed a stark improvement on that front with 25 percent of orders coming from Europe compared to just 10 percent the previous year, including from Belgium and Spain, which bought helicopters and heavy armored vehicles.

Anti-Saudi resolution could pass by a 2/3 vote

KFGO, 6-4, 19, https://kfgo.com/news/articles/2019/jun/05/us-lawmakers-to-push-back-against-trump-on-saudi-weapons-sales/, U.S. lawmakers to push back against Trump on Saudi weapons sales Backers of the plan also said it was possible, given the level of congressional anger over Trump’s use of the emergency declaration, that some of the resolutions would garner the two-thirds majorities in the Senate and House needed to override a Trump veto.

Blocking the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia is critical for Congress to reassert its own power

Doana Ohlbaum and Rachel Stohl, 6-6-19, Diana Ohlbaum (@dohlbaum) is senior strategist and legislative director for foreign policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, leading a team of 10 lobbyists seeking a more ethical and effective U.S. approach to national and global security. She also chairs the board of the Center for International Policy, Rachel Stohl (@rachelstohl) is the managing at the Stimson Center and directs the Center’s Conventional Defense Program. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to the international arms trade, including drones, small arms and light weapons, and children in armed conflict, , An “Emergency” Arms Deal: Will Congress Acquiesce in Another Blow to Its Authority? https://www.justsecurity.org/64413/an-emergency-arms-deal-will-congress-acquiesce-in-another-blow-to-its-authority/ Congress is not without options in responding to this assault on its powers, however. Republican and Democratic senators are joining together to disapprove all 22 “emergency” sales proposed by the president. Even if there is insufficient time to pass resolutions of disapproval for these particular sales before the agreements are signed, Congress could pass a law to prohibit the delivery of these weapons systems. It could also override the president’s veto of its resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which would require the support of Republican senators. It could impose a ban or strict conditions on all future weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. And it could rewrite the procedures for consideration and review of arms sales. Instead of allowing weapons to be transferred unless two-thirds of both houses vote to override the inevitable presidential veto of attempted blocking legislation, Congress could treat major arms sales with at least the seriousness it treats trade agreements, which require affirmative congressional approval to move forward. In short, Congress must fight to reclaim its relevance as an active participant in foreign policy and national security decisions. Returning from its Memorial Day recess, Congress has no lack of foreign policy emergencies to respond to – walking the administration back from the brink of war with Iran chief among them. But if it can’t stand up to protect its own prerogatives on arms sales, then its chances of being heard on anything else will be permanently diminished. 

Congress must override Trump and block the newest round of sales to Saudi Arabia

Mohamad Bazzi, a journalism professor at New York University, is a former Middle East bureau chief at Newsday. He is writing a book on the proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Trump wants to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia. Congress must stop him, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/08/saudi-arabia-trump-weapon-arms-sales-must-be-stopped On the Friday before Memorial Day, when few Americans were paying attention, the Trump administration announced that it would circumvent Congress and sell $8bn in new weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It was Donald Trump’s latest attempt to give a blank check to two US allies leading a disastrous war in Yemen. UK arms exports are still playing a central role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis Anna Stavrianakis Read more If Trump succeeds in getting around Congress, these weapons sales will prolong suffering in Yemen and eliminate one of the last levers that allowed the US to exert influence over Saudi and Emirati actions: the threat of Congress blocking arms deals. On 5 June, a bipartisan group of senators said they would try to block the administration from going ahead with the sales by introducing 22 “resolutions of disapproval” – one for each of the deals cleared by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The effort is led by two unlikely allies: Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey and frequent Trump critic, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who is one of Trump’s biggest supporters. The two senators agree on one thing: that Saudi Arabia should face more scrutiny of its actions in Yemen after Saudi agents murdered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Since then, members of Congress have tried to force the Trump administration to reexamine its alliance with the kingdom – especially its relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, the brash and ruthless crown prince often considered an architect of the Yemen war. But Trump and his senior aides have made clear that they still support the prince and won’t try to isolate him, despite a CIA assessment that concluded, with “high confidence”, that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing of Khashoggi. The Saudis have been dropping the bombs on civilians, so if there is an emergency, it’s a humanitarian emergency Senator Chris Murphy The senators’ effort, which includes seven co-sponsors, is yet another example of Congress trying to claw back its constitutional responsibilities. On 24 May, when Pompeo notified Congress that the administration would move ahead with the $8bn deals without congressional approval, he cited a rarely used provision of the Arms Export Control Act which allows the president to bypass Congress if he determines there is an emergency that impacts national security. Pompeo invoked the Trump administration’s favored bogeyman: an increased threat of “Iranian aggression”. The latest major Trump resignations and firings Read more But over the past month the administration has inflated the threat posed by Iran to US troops and allies in the Middle East and several hawkish Trump aides, especially national security adviser John Bolton, have pushed for a new confrontation with Tehran. At Bolton’s request, the Pentagon updated plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. The administration is using similar scare tactics to justify its end-run around Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Advertisement As Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut and one of the earliest critics of US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, wrote on Twitter: “To state the obvious, there is no new emergency reason to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia to drop in Yemen. The Saudis [have] been dropping the bombs on civilians, so if there is an emergency, it’s a humanitarian emergency caused by the bombs we sell the Saudis.” Trump’s supposed desire to end US involvement in foreign wars – in Syria and Afghanistan – clearly hasn’t superseded his wish to keep Saudi Arabia and the UAE happy and continuing to purchase American weapons. This willingness to prolong the suffering of millions of Yemenis also underlines the administration’s single-minded obsession with countering Iran. Trump and his advisers repeatedly try to justify a prolonged war in Yemen by blaming Iran and its support for the rebel Houthi militia. This narrative ignores the fact that the Houthis did not receive significant help from Iran before Saudi Arabia intervened in March 2015. With the administration firmly behind its Saudi and Emirati allies, Congress offers the best hope to end the American role in a war that has triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. In early April, the House voted to cease military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, finally approving a bill to restrain presidential war powers that has taken years to pass both chambers of Congress. On 16 April, Trump vetoed the bill. Two weeks later, the bill’s supporters in the Senate tried to override the veto but fell short, 53-45. (It takes two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes, to override a presidential veto.) But the measure was still a turning point because it focused attention on the extent and unpopularity of military support for Saudi Arabia and its allies. Trump is provoking a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. What could go wrong? Simon Tisdall Simon Tisdall Read more As the political jockeying unfolded in Washington, the United Nations Development Programme issued a report underscoring the extent of the humanitarian disaster being fueled by US weapons and logistical support. The report warned that the death toll in Yemen could rise to 233,000 by the end of 2019 – far higher than previous estimates. (The projection includes an estimate of 102,000 deaths from combat and 131,000 indirect deaths due to the lack of food, health crises like a cholera epidemic and damage to Yemen’s infrastructure.) “The current conflict in Yemen is one of the greatest preventable disasters facing humanity,” the report said, adding that the conflict has turned into a “war on children”, with a Yemeni child dying every 12 minutes. The report estimated that 140,000 of those killed by the end of 2019 would be children under the age of five. Advertisement Despite a majority of Congress voting to end support, American assistance to the Saudi-led war persists, thanks to Trump’s veto. In their latest effort to stop the weapons sales, congressional critics of the war will likely need to secure a veto-proof majority. It is a matter of moral and political urgency.

Arms sale would be blocked without Trump’s use of the emergency power

Gregory Aftandilian is a lecturer at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and is a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst, June 2, 2019, Trump likely to prevail over Congress on Saudi and UAE arms sales, https://thearabweekly.com/trump-likely-prevail-over-congress-saudi-and-uae-arms-sales It seems certain that, had this new arms sale gone through the normal congressional review process, it would have been blocked. Last year, US Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, put a hold on $2 billion worth of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over their conduct in the Yemen war. This particular arms sale is part of the $8 billion package that the Trump administration is planning to move forward by invoking an emergency. Some members of Congress, such as Menendez, objected to the Trump decision by claiming it runs roughshod over congressional prerogatives. Even prominent Republicans are voicing concern. US Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement calling the administration’s decision “unfortunate,” adding that it would “damage certain future congressional interactions.” Other Republicans suggested that the invoking of the emergency clause by the Trump administration sets a dangerous precedent because it might be used by a Democratic president at some point against the will of a Republican-led Congress. Pompeo, once a member of Congress, seems cognisant of that sentiment. He emphasised that bypassing of the normal congressional review process in this case was “a one-time event” and would “not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress.” Still, relations between the Trump administration with some members of Congress, particularly Democrats, are so frayed that the latter are loth to take the administration’s word for any development. Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and a prominent critic of US policy in support of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, charged that there “is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen.” Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted that “Congress wrote the law so that weapons sales would reflect broad consensus on foreign policy consistent with our values, and the notion that there’s an emergency that justified upending our checks and balances is false, plain and simple.”

Courts defer to the President now, sale to Saudi Arabia hurts Trump’s relations with Congress

Gregory Aftandilian is a lecturer at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and is a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst, June 2, 2019, Trump likely to prevail over Congress on Saudi and UAE arms sales, https://thearabweekly.com/trump-likely-prevail-over-congress-saudi-and-uae-arms-sales They may have taken heart that a federal judge in California recently blocked Trump’s plans to use Pentagon funds to build part of his border wall and perhaps believe that another federal judge will issue an injunction on the foreign arms sale. However, working in Trump’s favour is that the US Constitution gives the president broad foreign policy powers. Although Congress has the “power of the purse” (meaning the appropriations process), the courts have generally been deferential to presidents on the conduct of foreign affairs. Because the Arms Export Control Act does contain an “emergency” clause that has been invoked (albeit sparingly) previously, congressional lawyers would have to make a compelling case that the present situation was not an emergency and find a judge who would want to weigh in on a foreign policy matter that does not involve appropriations. While the first would not be too difficult to do, the second would be a challenge. Hence, Trump is likely to prevail in this fight but at the cost of damaging relations with Congress, even among some of his fellow Republicans.

Arms sale would be blocked without Trump’s use of the emergency power

Gregory Aftandilian is a lecturer at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and is a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst, June 2, 2019, Trump likely to prevail over Congress on Saudi and UAE arms sales, https://thearabweekly.com/trump-likely-prevail-over-congress-saudi-and-uae-arms-sales It seems certain that, had this new arms sale gone through the normal congressional review process, it would have been blocked. Last year, US Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, put a hold on $2 billion worth of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over their conduct in the Yemen war. This particular arms sale is part of the $8 billion package that the Trump administration is planning to move forward by invoking an emergency. Some members of Congress, such as Menendez, objected to the Trump decision by claiming it runs roughshod over congressional prerogatives. Even prominent Republicans are voicing concern. US Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement calling the administration’s decision “unfortunate,” adding that it would “damage certain future congressional interactions.” Other Republicans suggested that the invoking of the emergency clause by the Trump administration sets a dangerous precedent because it might be used by a Democratic president at some point against the will of a Republican-led Congress. Pompeo, once a member of Congress, seems cognisant of that sentiment. He emphasised that bypassing of the normal congressional review process in this case was “a one-time event” and would “not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress.” Still, relations between the Trump administration with some members of Congress, particularly Democrats, are so frayed that the latter are loth to take the administration’s word for any development. Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and a prominent critic of US policy in support of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, charged that there “is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen.” Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted that “Congress wrote the law so that weapons sales would reflect broad consensus on foreign policy consistent with our values, and the notion that there’s an emergency that justified upending our checks and balances is false, plain and simple.”

Courts defer to the President now, sale to Saudi Arabia hurts Trump’s relations with Congress

Gregory Aftandilian is a lecturer at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and is a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst, June 2, 2019, Trump likely to prevail over Congress on Saudi and UAE arms sales, https://thearabweekly.com/trump-likely-prevail-over-congress-saudi-and-uae-arms-sales They may have taken heart that a federal judge in California recently blocked Trump’s plans to use Pentagon funds to build part of his border wall and perhaps believe that another federal judge will issue an injunction on the foreign arms sale. However, working in Trump’s favour is that the US Constitution gives the president broad foreign policy powers. Although Congress has the “power of the purse” (meaning the appropriations process), the courts have generally been deferential to presidents on the conduct of foreign affairs. Because the Arms Export Control Act does contain an “emergency” clause that has been invoked (albeit sparingly) previously, congressional lawyers would have to make a compelling case that the present situation was not an emergency and find a judge who would want to weigh in on a foreign policy matter that does not involve appropriations. While the first would not be too difficult to do, the second would be a challenge. Hence, Trump is likely to prevail in this fight but at the cost of damaging relations with Congress, even among some of his fellow Republicans.

Continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia destroys US human rights leadership

Lizamaria Arias is a Fall 2018 Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow focusing on the effects of emerging technologies on crisis stability, May 30, 2019, https://lobelog.com/once-again-trump-elevates-arms-sales-over-human-rights/, Once Again, Trump Elevates Arms Sales Over Human Rights The Trump administration’s work to prolong U.S. involvement in Yemen’s war and its sanctions campaign against Iran have been devastating to both Yemenis and Iranians. It should also go without saying that a war with Iran would not only undermine American interests, but also cause people in the region immeasurably more harm. And as panelists reminded attendees during an event in Washington DC last week on the Saudi government’s targeting of women’s rights activists, the Trump administration’s unwavering support of the Saudi government is not enhancing the security of Saudi citizens either. One of the activists targeted by the Saudi government is Loujain al-Hathloul, a tireless advocate for an end to male guardianship and women’s right to drive. At the event, Loujain’s siblings, Walid and Lina al-Hathloul, spoke about their sister’s work and her subsequent imprisonment. Loujain was arrested before the announcement of the end of the female driving ban and has remained in government detention since. During a prison visit last December, Loujain disclosed to her family that she had been repeatedly tortured. And today, despite efforts to go through official channels for information, her siblings have no clear sense of her situation or wellbeing. Meanwhile, Trump has routinely overlooked these gross violations of human rights and failed to hold Saudi Arabia to account. Consequently, both lawmakers and the American public at large must question the U.S. role in emboldening the Saudi government’s brutal policies. As journalist Safa al-Ahmad pointed out to the event’s audience, while the U.S. cannot force change in Saudi Arabia, it can curb its support for the monarchy and send a message that human rights abuses will not go unpunished. For the sake of true “stability” in the region, the United States must stop supporting dictators. Undeniably, the U.S.’ history with human rights makes us a poor champion—and our domestic record proves we have a ways to go before the U.S. can become any sort of authority on the subject. But the least the administration can do is stop enabling those who violate the rights of Saudi citizens and bomb Yemeni civilians. The Trump administration must leverage the United States’ close relationship with the Saudi government to the benefit of human rights, not just to line the pockets of defense contractors. By continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the United States sends a clear signal that the Saudi government is free to continue its brutal torture and imprisonment of advocates like Lujain al-Hathloul, as well as its indiscriminate bombardment of civilians in Yemen, without incurring meaningful consequences. If Congress wants to disrupt this message, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle must push for legislation to “block the transfer, sale, or authorization for license of bombs and other offensive weapons” to Saudi Arabia and assert loudly that—despite the Trump administration’s best efforts—the blank check the U.S. has given to Saudi Arabia is approaching its expiration.

US arms sales empower a tyrannical Saudi regime that is committing atrocities in Yemen

Sjursen, May 30, 2019, Danny SjursenMajor Danny Sjursen is a US Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author in an unofficial capacity and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Command and General Staff College, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US government, The Nation, America’s Allies in the Middle East Are the Real ‘Troika of Tyranny’https://www.thenation.com/article/americas-allies-in-the-middle-east-saudi-arabia-israel-egypt-the-real-troika-of-tyranny/ More recently, in the Syrian civil war, Saudi Arabia even backed the al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda franchise. That’s right, an American partner funded an offshoot of the very organization that took down the twin towers and damaged the Pentagon. For this there have been no consequences. In other words, Washington stands shoulder to shoulder with a truly abhorrent regime, while simultaneously complaining bitterly about the despotism and tyranny of nations of which it’s less fond. The hypocrisy should be (but generally isn’t) considered staggering here. We’re talking about a Saudi government that only recently allowed women to drive automobiles and still beheads them for “witchcraft and sorcery.” Indeed, mass execution is a staple of the regime. Recently, the kingdom executed 37 men in a single day. (One of them was even reportedly crucified.) Most were not the “terrorists” they were made out to be, but dissidents from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority convicted, as Amnesty International put it, “after sham trials that…relied on confessions extracted through torture.” During the Arab Spring of 2011, the Saudi royals certainly proved anything but friends to the budding democratic movements brewing across the region. Indeed, its military even invaded a tiny neighbor to the east, Bahrain, to suppress civil-rights protests by that country’s embattled Shia majority. (A Sunni royal family runs the show there.) In Yemen, the Saudis continue to terror bomb civilians in its war against Houthi militias. Tens of thousands have died—the exact number isn’t known—under a brutal bombing campaign and at least 85,000 Yemeni children have already starved to death thanks to the war and a Saudi blockade of what was already the Arab world’s poorest country. The hell unleashed on Yemen has been dubbed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It has already produced millions of refugees and, at present, the world’s worst cholera epidemic. Through it all, Washington stood by its royals time and again, with The Donald far more gleefully pro-Saudi than his predecessors. His first foreign excursion, after all, was to that kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, where the president seemed to relish joining the martial pageantry of a Saudi “sword dance.” He also let it be known that the cash would keep flowing from the kingdom into military-industrial coffers in this country, announcing a supposedly record $110 billion set of arms deals (including a number closed by the Obama administration and ones that may never come to fruition). Son-in-law Jared Kushner even continues to maintain a bromance with the ambitious and brutal ruling Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. In other words, with fulsome support from Washington, sophisticated American weapons, and a boatload of American cash, Saudi Arabia continues to unleash terror at home and abroad. This much is certain: If you’re looking for a troika of tyrants, that country should top your list.

Arms sales support human rights abusers and end up in the hands of terrorists

Thalif Deen, May 30, 2019, US “Emergency” Arms Sales, https://consortiumnews.com/2019/05/30/us-emergency-arms-sales/ Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, told IPS that President Donald Trump’s decision to circumvent Congress and authorize billions of dollars’ worth of arms sales to serial human rights abusers Saudi Arabia and the UAE is extremely unfortunate and reckless. “Both these countries have used U.S.- made weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen, a country mired in conflict that has been made worse by the conduct of the UAE and Saudi led coalition,” he added. Nassif pointed out that the atrocious human rights records of these governments — where executions, extrajudicial killings, mass incarceration, torture and indefinite detentions are part of daily life — is made worse by the U.S. continuing to arm them. “Now that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will receive new American weapons, we can expect a continuation of the hell that has been brought upon Yemen, where 11 million people are suffering from famine, hundreds of thousands have been displaced, and thousands killed,” Nassif said. “We can also expect weapons to fall into the wrong hands, such as Al Qaeda, or be sent to other conflict zones where the Saudi’s and UAE are backing ascending autocrats, such as Hafar in Libya.”

Saudi Arabia is a test case for constraints on Presidential power

Joseph Parrott Assistant Professor of History, The Ohio State University, May 29, 2019, Congressional action on Yemen may be the first salvo against presidential war powers, https://theconversation.com/congressional-action-on-yemen-may-be-the-first-salvo-against-presidential-war-powers-113707

Congressional action on Yemen may be the first salvo on presidential war powers, https://theconversation.com/congressional-action-on-yemen-may-be-the-first-salvo-against-presidential-war-powers-113707 Yet history shows how difficult it will be to seriously alter the dominant national mindset and the executive-legislative balance of power in foreign affairs. How Congress responds to the president’s ongoing efforts to aid Saudi Arabia – and how it uses its powers to limit unilateral executive actions more broadly – will prove whether it is truly reasserting its constitutional authority.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia put pressure on Iran and risk war

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and The American Conservative, May 28, 2019, Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and The American Conservative. Trump’s Decision to Arm the Saudis Against Iran Will End in Disaster Developments in the Persian Gulf are heating up, and they are heating up fast. An additional 1,500 U.S. troops are packing their bags for the region—this on top of an accelerated deployment of an American aircraft carrier battle group and B-52 bombers. Add to that pledges of steadfast resistance from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and personal animus between American and Iranian officials, and you’ve got a very real possibility that an abrupt miscalculation could become a war that almost no one wants. It’s obvious what this situation calls for: a direct line of communication between Washington and Tehran with the express purpose of calming the waters and preventing a conflagration. And yet the Trump administration seems to be gunning for the opposite—more bellicose threats, more military assets, and more sanctions. More weapons sales are also evidently part of the picture. Last Friday, the administration officially informed Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, that it would leverage a little-used loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to expedite the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief regional adversary. President Trump has declared that “an emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States.” That allows him to completely bypass Congress and finalize the sale on his own. Advertisement The provision, meant to be used in only the most dire emergencies, essentially eviscerates the congressional review process and steals power away from lawmakers who would ordinarily need to sign off on such a move. One envisions National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whispering in Trump’s ear as he sits behind the big desk in the Oval that sending more weapons to Riyadh will deliver a message of resolve (a favorite Beltway buzzword) to the Iranians. But there aren’t enough adjectives in Webster’s dictionary to describe just how counterproductive, and, well, plain dumb this would be. First, such a decision would demonstrate total and complete contempt for a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress that just two months ago voted to pull U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. President Trump went on to veto the resolution shortly thereafter, rendering the effort moot. Yet the fact that the measure passed was a clear-cut expression of congressional intent—the first time in history that the 1973 War Powers Act was used successfully in an attempt to withdraw the United States from an overseas conflict that wasn’t authorized by Congress. Trump would be spitting in the face of the legislative branch were he to continue this aggressive stance towards Iran. On War With Iran, It’s Trump Versus the Founding Fathers Is America Ready for John Bolton’s War With Iran? Trump, of course, has shown that he doesn’t particularly care much about Congress’s concerns. But presumably, he does care about getting the United States out of the Middle East’s proxy conflicts and sectarianism-infected rivalries. This is one of the main reasons more weapons to the Saudis is such a colossal mistake. By tying Washington to the Kingdom so closely, it reinforces a narrative already prevalent among the Gulf monarchies that Trump is a man who can not only be bought but used. The fact that Washington is selling these weapons to Riyadh rather than giving them away doesn’t make this ordeal any less pathetic. The president may not grasp the connection, but by opening up America’s arsenal to the Saudis, he is indirectly deepening America’s role as a combatant in a Saudi-Iranian rivalry that has torn the Middle East apart and done next to nothing to make the American people safer. At a time when the United States should be rebalancing its force posture and taking a hard look at where and how it allocates its limited military resources, Trump is bringing us deeper into a region of diminishing geopolitical importance. Finally, we need to evaluate this latest arms sale through the prism of today’s events. American-Iranian relations are in the pits. Direct communication between the two nations is likely nonexistent. Washington is passing messages and warnings to Tehran through intermediaries like the Iraqis, Omanis, and Swiss. And the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps remains on high alert status, monitoring moves by U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf that could be construed as aggressive or preparations for an attack. Trump has talked rightly about war being the last thing he wants and has broached the idea of a bilateral negotiation with Tehran on issues of concern. Establishing more communication nodes with the Iranians is the correct approach. More weapons in the hands of the Saudis, however, sends Iran the opposite message—that the United States is only interested in talking if the topic is full surrender. And if Iran remains resistant to the idea, Washington will sell munitions to its adversaries until it‘s ready to sign off like the Japanese in 1945. It should go without saying that this is not something the Iranians will respond kindly to. The administration is confident that maximum pressure will eventually frighten Iran to the table where it will give up everything. More likely is the opposite—the Iranians will stiffen their spines. It’s not too late for President Trump to reverse a potentially calamitous decision. For the good of America’s security, one hopes he has second thoughts and recognizes that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia don’t always align.

There is no emergency, and Congress needs to restrain Trump on this matter to stop Trump’s warmongering

Ron Paul, May 28, 2019, Congress Fiddles While Trump Lurches Toward War on Iran, https://original.antiwar.com/paul/2019/05/27/congress-fiddles-while-trump-lurches-toward-war-on-iran/ Congress, and particularly the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, seems determined to see the end of the Trump Administration before the 2020 vote. Although House Speaker Pelosi claims she is not seeking impeachment, she’s accusing the president of “covering up” something. However, she won’t say what until she can do more investigating. But Trump’s opponents on both sides of the Congressional aisle don’t seem so enthusiastic about challenging the president when he actually does abuse his Constitutional authority to pursue a more aggressive policy overseas. Late last week, for example, President Trump declared a national security “emergency” brought about by unspecified “Iranian malign activity” – a “loophole” allowing him to bypass Congressional review of some $8 billion in US weapons to be sold to Saudi Arabia. Congress had been reluctant to approve yet more arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the President vetoed a bi-partisan House and Senate-approved bill requiring the US to end its military support for the Saudi war of aggression against Yemen. What might this new Iran “emergency” be? As with the lead-up to the Iraq war, the Administration claims important secret intelligence — but of course we have to just trust them. From what we have heard from the Administration, it looks pretty flimsy. Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, has outright claimed that the so-called “sabotage” of four container ships at port in the UAE is the doing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. But even Abu Dhabi didn’t claim Iranian involvement in the mysterious incident. Could it have been a false flag? Admiral Gilday also claims, without providing proof, that the recent firing of a small rocket in the general vicinity of the US Embassy in Iraq is the work of the Iranians. “We believe with a high degree of confidence that this [recent attacks] stems back to the leadership in Iran at the highest levels,” he said. What would Iran gain by shooting off an insignificant rocket, exposing itself to US massive retaliation with no gain whatsoever? They don’t say. The Trump Administration has been lacking any coherent foreign policy strategy for some time. It often seems the President is fighting more with his own appointees than with his opponents on Capitol Hill. As soon as he announces that ISIS is defeated and US troops must come home, his employees like National Security Advisor John Bolton “clarify” Trump’s statements to mean that troops are staying. Trump goes to Hanoi to cut a deal with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Bolton shows up with a poison pill that blows up the deal. Bolton announced plans for 120,000 US troops to the Middle East to help push the war on Iran he’s been hocking for 20 or so years. Then we heard it was 10,000. Then 1,500, of which 600 are already there. Whether Trump is on board or not, his Administration is clearly dragging the US into conflict with Iran. While some Members remind the president that he does not have Constitutional authority to attack Iran without approval, that argument has not been very effective in deterring presidents thus far. If Congress really wanted to rein in an out-of-control president, they have plenty of opportunity in his bogus “national emergency” declaration and his saber rattling toward Iran. But if asserting Constitutional authority means Congress acts to pullback US militarism overseas, suddenly there is a great bipartisan silence. They’d rather impeach Trump over his rude Tweets than over his stomping on the Constitution.

It’s not an emergency. Congress must step in to protect its authority so that Trump doesn’t bypass Congress whenever it chooses

Marcus Montgomery is a Junior Analyst for Congressional Affairs at Arab Center Washington DC, May 28, 2019, How a Legal Loophole is helping Trump sell arms to Saudi Arabia, https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2019/5/28/the-loophole-helping-trump-sell-arms-to-saudi-arabia Despite the fact that the 30-day review period has hardly, if ever, scuttled a proposed sale, the ACEA allows for all of these procedures to be cast aside if the president cites an “emergency”. This exception, if invoked, would preclude any Congressional review and would allow for any arms sale the president identifies as necessary for addressing such an emergency to proceed accordingly. It is this provision that the Trump administration is exploiting to circumvent Congress, citing Iranian behaviour in the region as the “emergency”. But it is curious that the administration would opt for this route. There is likely no veto-proof level of opposition to the sales in Congress and the 30 day review period would not delay what will already be a lengthy process for an unbearable amount of time. The move is ostensibly legal and though it has rarely been used, there is precedent. Lawmakers, however, are incensed by the president’s decision because it further erodes the oversight capabilities Congress had to influence US foreign policy decisions and relegates what is supposed to be a coequal branch of government to something more akin to a subordinate. And this is not an isolated incident; President Trump has repeatedly ignored the will of Congress, most recently when he vetoed a War Powers Resolution that sought to end US support for and involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Ultimately, opponents of the decision argue that this, like Trump’s domestic emergency declaration, is just another example of the administration going around Congress when it finds itself stymied by the legislative branch. The ACEA allows for all of these procedures to be cast aside if the president cites an ’emergency’ This offense is made worse by the administration’s decision to cast Iran’s undoubtedly destabilising activity in the region as an “emergency.” Tehran has mastered its brand of low level unconventional conflict over decades, how is it that all of a sudden its behaviour has become an emergency? Further, how does selling smart bombs to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi help protect the two against the “emergency” that is Iranian threats, when those missiles are likely to be dropped in Yemen? Read more: Proxies as pretext for war with Iran Democrats who have reviewed the intelligence regarding Iranian threats in the region claim that the potential threats are being embellished, and others argue that many of the threats facing the US and its partners are a direct result of US escalation. Even more, many on Capitol Hill cite the fact that some of the 22 individual potential sales are, by no measure, crucial for addressing an emergency (eg., the years’ long project of refitting Saudi fighter jets) as proof that no actual emergency exists. Though the true nature of Iran’s threat to the region can be debated, it is clear that this administration is unilaterally shifting US policy in the Middle East towards a more confrontational one. The question for Congress now is whether it will act to rein in the executive branch and reassert itself as a co-equal branch of government. Lawmakers are incensed by the president’s decision because it further erodes the oversight capabilities Congress had Technically, both chambers could pursue stand-alone legislation to prohibit one or more of the proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia or the UAE, but without the specified language in the ACEA that allows for guaranteed expedited consideration of joint resolutions of disapproval, there is hardly any chance Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) would allow any legislation constraining the Trump administration to move forward in the Senate. But Congress could flex its “power of the purse” to force changes in the administration’s policy. For instance, the White House and GOP-held Senate need the Democratic majority in the House to implement any “must pass” legislation (i.e., spending bills) to avoid the third government shutdown of Mr Trump’s tenure. Democrats in the House could play hardball with the White House and add language prohibiting arms sales to Riyadh and/or Abu Dhabi to the defense budget or other crucial spending legislation, and dare the Senate or White House to refuse to fund the government all for the right to sell lethal weapons to the Gulf states. Whatever the method lawmakers choose to pursue, Congress must regain its voice in the discussion about US policy towards the Middle East. Refusing to act will only cede yet more power to an increasingly imperial executive branch and this president – and future ones – will bypass Congress when he so chooses.

Circumventing congress has alienated them

CNN, May 28, 2019, http://m.cnn.com/en/article/h_00595eb05bdb7500086de8944a1dc118, Trump’s arms sale to Saudis undermines US values Indeed, the Saudis are either unprepared, ineffective or irrelevant in dealing with these contingencies. One can be forgiven for thinking that the purpose here was to use the Iran “crisis” to justify these sales because Congress had impeded administration’s efforts to go through regular channels. Following a terrible precedent As far as relations between the administration and Congress go, these sales can only add to the already-existing tension. Sidestepping Congress on one of the few checks it has in the national security space follows the dangerous precedent that Trump has set of attempting to do as he pleases, regardless of what Congress says. This could likely see a congressional reaction in the form of pushback on future nominees that Trump tries to appoint in his administration. Wanted: a Trump policy for Iran Wanted: a Trump policy for Iran Some aspects of the sales — such as refitting F-18 fighter aircraft — aren’t emergency sales at all, as the aircraft are not used by the kingdom but rather sold to countries such as Israel and South Korea. And if, in fact, we are entering a highly fraught period with Iran that could lead to significant military action, now is not the time to sow further mistrust and suspicion with Congress. Even one of the President’s strongest supporters, Sen. Lindsey Graham, made clear that he had a real problem with Trump’s decision, largely because, as the CIA concluded, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has denied the crown prince’s involvement in the killing, but lawmakers’ firm beliefs that he was behind it was a key reason for the congressional block on the arms sale.

Given Trump’s usurpation of power, Congress needs to pass legislation blocking the sale

Rebecca Kheel, May 29, 2019, https://thehill.com/policy/defense/445858-furious-lawmakers-aim-to-block-trumps-saudi-arms-sales, Furious lawmakers aim to block Trump’s Saudi arms sales The administration is using that emergency authority to push through 22 separate deals with the Saudis, Emiratis and Jordanians, with a total value of $8.1 billion. Notices for seven of the sales were posted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website Friday, while notices for the rest are expected to be published in the Federal Register. The Friday notices show the sales include surveillance aircraft support and maintenance of aircraft for the Saudis, as well as 20,004 precision-guided munitions kits, 331 anti-tank missiles and 20 drones for the Emirates. Lawmakers who oppose the move argue Trump is setting a dangerous precedent of invoking emergency authorities to avoid a vote in Congress, one they say he would not win. Even Republicans who are generally supportive of Trump were dismayed at his decision to push the arms sales. “I understand the administration’s frustration that key members of Congress held these arms sales for an extended period of time, in some cases for over a year,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in a statement after Friday’s notification. “However, the president’s decision to use an emergency waiver on these sales is unfortunate and will damage certain future congressional interactions.” Despite the use of emergency powers, Congress could pass resolutions blocking the sales, Abramson said. “At any point up until delivery, Congress could pass a joint resolution blocking a sale and should immediately consider doing so,” he said. To help, he added, the chairmen and ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees can request 30-day pre-delivery notifications. “Congress still has many paths it can take to both register concern about the president misusing emergency powers in this instance and ultimately act to stop the sales and shipments,” he said. “This starts with speaking out, as many have already, making their displeasure clear.” Several lawmakers have pledged to pursue legislation on the issue, but few have offered specifics. Menendez in his statement said he was “in discussion with several Democratic and Republican colleagues,” adding that he hoped “the Senate Foreign Relations and the House Foreign Affairs Committees will soon be able to expeditiously address this latest attack on our constitutional responsibilities.” Menendez’s office did not respond to a request for further details on Tuesday. Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations subpanel with oversight of Middle East affairs, similarly said in his statement he is “working on legislation to restrict arm sales.” His office said Tuesday it did not have more specifics. Menendez and Murphy are among the senators who previously offered a bipartisan bill that would suspend transfers of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The measure was first introduced in 2018 amid outrage over the Saudis’ killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The legislation was introduced again in February. Co-sponsors of the bill, known as the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, include Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has said he opposes the administration’s decision to use emergency authorities on the Saudi arms sales. “I’ve got a real problem with going back to doing business as usual with Saudi Arabia,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Jordan is a great ally. The UAE has been problematic in Yemen, but a good ally. Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, but the crown prince was, in my opinion, involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and he’s done a lot of other disruptive things. So I don’t support the arms sales now.” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) has not committed to taking up the Saudi accountability bill. Risch’s office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, and his Friday statement only said that he received the notification and is “reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.” The administration cited what it called a heightened threat from Iran as the reason for the emergency sales. The White House has pointed to the situation with Iran as the basis for deployments of more U.S. troops and weapons to the region. The administration also noted that the emergency authority has been used at least four times before: in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2006. The 1984 example is “particularly relevant in this context,” a State Department official told The Hill on Tuesday. In that case, the Reagan administration cited “escalation” in the Iran-Iraq War, including attacks on Saudi oil tankers, and “ominous” trends in the war to expedite the sale of 400 Stinger missiles to the Saudis. “In this determination, the U.S. government specifically pointed to the need to reassure partners of our commitment to their defense,” the official said. “Iran’s disruptive behavior has not changed in the 35 years since, and neither has the U.S. stalwart nature of our support for our Gulf partners.” Lawmakers could also try to attach amendments to must-pass defense bills, like the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and spending bills, coming through the House and Senate soon. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a statement after the notification he “will work to close this loophole in the appropriations process and use every available tool to prevent President Trump from taking this action.” A Van Hollen staffer told The Hill on Tuesday that the senator is looking at ways to block Trump’s action in the annual appropriations bill for the State Department. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also pledged to try to use the defense spending bill and NDAA to “stop bomb sales and end all forms of U.S. participation in this war” in Yemen. Khanna, who was the chief House sponsor of the Yemen war powers resolution, told The Hill on Tuesday he is hopeful Trump’s decision on arms sales will give momentum to his effort to persuade House leadership to sue over Trump’s veto of the resolution. “First it was the War Powers Resolution, now it’s arms sales,” he said in a statement to The Hill. “Once again, this president defied Congress to continue supporting the Saudis and Emiratis in their war in Yemen. I’m confident these new arms sales provides new momentum for pursuing legal action and legislation that would end U.S. involvement in the war.”

Congress needs to act or Trump will be able to sell any weapons he wants simply by claiming an emergency

Editorial Board, May 28, 2019, Trump Chose to Give MBS a Gift and Set a Dangerous New Precedent, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-once-again-chooses-mohammed-bin-salman-over-congress/2019/05/28/e8e4f85e-815a-11e9-933d-7501070ee669_story.html?utm_term=.c55c5e8aa415 LAST MONTH, a bipartisan congressional majority voted against further U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s disastrous intervention in Yemen, which has failed to achieve its aims while helping to produce the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. President Trump vetoed the resolution, and now he has doubled down on offering unqualified support to the Saudi regime and its allies. On Friday, the State Department notified Congress that it was invoking emergency authority to bypass opposition and complete 22 arms deals to Saudi Arabia and several other countries — including more of the munitions that have been killing civilians in Yemen. The action was another violation by Mr. Trump of established norms, if not law. The administration’s notification did not explain what “emergency” allowed it to use a loophole in the Arms Export Control Act, which gives Congress authority to review weapons sales. Though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited the need for Arab nations “to deter and defend themselves” against Iran, some of the arms being provided will not be available for years, which means they are not relevant to the civil war in Yemen or rising tensions elsewhere in the region. Some of the materiel is going to Jordan, which is not at war in Yemen or anywhere else. The maneuver extends Mr. Trump’s defiance of Congress’s rightful role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Members of both parties had placed holds on sales to Saudi Arabia, because of its repeated and evidently deliberate bombing of civilian targets in Yemen and because of its refusal to hold senior officials accountable for human rights offenses, including the murder and dismemberment of journalist and Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. To permanently stop the sales, Congress would have had to pass legislation; Mr. Trump could have and should have allowed the review process to play out. ADVERTISING Instead, he has once again ignored congressional authority in order to favor Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who launched the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and who, according to the CIA, probably ordered the murder of Khashoggi. Earlier this year, Mr. Trump failed to meet a legal requirement that he report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the crown prince’s responsibility for that killing. If the new gift to the crown prince is allowed to stand, Mr. Trump will have established a new precedent: Presidents may sell arms anywhere in the world without congressional review simply by claiming an unspecified emergency. Even supporters of Mr. Trump and of arms sales to Saudi Arabia ought to be troubled by this. Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is at least thinking about it: In a statement, he said he was “reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.” Mr. Risch has a ready remedy: He can allow a vote in his committee on legislation to block the sales until the Saudi regime stops bombings in Yemen and meets other basic conditions, including the release of women’s rights activists it has detained and tortured. Congress has an obligation to rein in Mr. Trump’s wanton embrace of the Saudi strongman; it also must defend its basic foreign policy prerogatives. It’s time for Mr. Risch to show whether he is up to that challenge. Editorial Board, May 28, 2019, Saudi Arabia: America’s Middle East Allies Need Arms to Defend Against Iran (2019), https://www.wsj.com/articles/arms-for-the-saudis-11559086061 President Trump is taking heat for bypassing Congress and selling billions of dollars in arms to Middle Eastern allies. The President often undermines his own agenda by reducing American foreign policy to commercial interests, but in this case he’s on firm legal and strategic ground. On Friday the White House told Congress that it is declaring an emergency and selling $8 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Jordan will also receive precision-guided missiles. The decision overrides objections in Congress on arms sales to the Saudis after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Earlier this year Congress voted to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s challenge to Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, a policy begun under Barack Obama. Mr. Trump vetoed the bill, which relied on the unconstitutional War Powers Resolution of 1973. Potomac Watch Podcast The Julian Assange Indictment SUBSCRIBE Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Bob Menendez last year put a hold on $2 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. over their involvement in Yemen. And the Senator called Mr. Trump’s latest move an “attack on our Constitutional responsibilities” that potentially imperils millions of people. Every decision Mr. Trump makes these days is supposedly a constitutional crisis, but in this case the President is relying on a provision in the Arms Export Control Act that allows for sales in the event of an emergency. Other Presidents have used it, including George W. Bush in 2006 to speed up the delivery of weapons to Israel as it fought Iranian proxies in Lebanon. In 1984 Ronald Reagan invoked the provision to send Stinger missiles to Saudi Arabia when Iran threatened its oil tankers. Jimmy Carter invoked it in 1979 to support North Yemen’s self-defense. Mr. Trump hurt his standing with Congress on Saudi Arabia by seeming too cavalier about the Khashoggi murder. “I don’t support the arms sales now,” said Senator Lindsey Graham on “Fox News Sunday” due to the Khashoggi murder, adding that “I do support American troops going in to the Mideast in larger numbers to deter Iran.” Mr. Graham is critiquing the President’s strategy in good faith, but a large troop deployment isn’t necessary. Mr. Trump is working with America’s allies—however problematic they are—to avert a war with Iran through deterrence. The more these allies can defend themselves, the less chance that Americans will have to join the fight.

Bipartisan opposition to Trump’s emergency sale

CNBC, May 24, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/24/trump-cites-iran-to-bypass-congress-on-saudi-arms-sales.html Trump approves massive arms deals to Saudi Arabia and UAE amid Iran tensions Trump’s last pro-Saudi move came on Friday week the fire-brand president declared a national emergency because of tensions with Iran and swept aside objections from lawmakers to complete the sale of over $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan. The Trump administration informed congressional committees that it would push ahead with 22 military sales to the three Middle Eastern countries, drawing rebuke from both sides of the aisle for circumventing a long-standing precedent for congressional review of major military weapons sales. Not only has the move infuriated Congress over what they see as presidential abuse of power, but it comes as Congress grows increasingly agitated over human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has been implicated in the controversial killing of Saudi dissident journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. The paper trail for the crime was traced all the way back to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Even then, Trump stood by his Saudi allies and the Royal family though it created a considerable backlash from both Democrats and Republicans and even internationally.

Arms sales encourage MBS to continue the war and do not stop Iran

Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Center for Middle East Policy Director – The Intelligence Project, May 28, 2019, As the Saudis host international summitry, their Yemen problem isn’t going away, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/05/28/as-the-saudis-host-international-summitry-their-yemen-problem-isnt-going-away/ Behind the summitry is a disastrous failure of decisionmaking that led to the intervention in Yemen in 2015; the signature initiative of the crown prince. Thanks to his leadership, Saudi cities and infrastructure are now targets for a once-ragged militia that has developed increasingly sophisticated drones and missiles with the help of Iran and Hezbollah. The war is the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world. The Trump administration’s decision to sell billions in arms to Riyadh without congressional approval will only encourage the crown prince to continue the quagmire. The Saudis are not more capable of winning the war with more munitions. The American support has singularly failed in four years to prevent the Saudis from bombing civilian targets or reducing the carnage of the war. Children are the most at risk and are paying a horrible cost.

Congress needs to block Trump on Yemen to protect their war powers

Tara Golsham, May 27, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/5/27/18634590/nancy-pelosi-donald-trump-supreme-court-war-power Trump ignored Congress on war powers. Constitutional scholars want Democrats to take him to court. A group of constitutional scholars and lawmakers want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take President Donald to the Supreme Court — over the war in Yemen. Their case is straightforward: Trump is unilaterally involving the United States in war, and that’s unconstitutional. For four years, the United States has participated in a war in Yemen that was never authorized by Congress, and that Congress expressly told Trump to withdraw from. Trump ignored the directive. Now, as the White House escalates tensions with Iran, there’s growing concern that unless legal action is taken, Congress will cede more war powers to Trump. In April, Congress passed a historic War Powers Resolution, directing Trump to remove troops involved in “hostilities” in Yemen. Trump vetoed it, cementing American fingerprints on one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world: According to the most recent United Nations report, 80 percent of the Yemeni population — 24 million people — is in need of humanitarian assistance. The Senate failed to reach the 67-vote threshold needed to override the executive veto on the bill. Trump said the War Powers Resolution was an attempt to “weaken [his] constitutional authorities.” But the power to authorize a declaration of war, of course, sits with Congress, not Trump. Constitutional scholars are now arguing a War Powers Resolution isn’t a normal bill. They say it is a fundamental constitutional question about the power to authorize war. And the stakes are high. “The president’s veto doesn’t end this conversation,” Bruce Ackerman, a constitutional law scholar with Yale University told Vox. He, along with a diverse group of legal experts have sent Pelosi a letter urging her to take legal action. The United States got involved in Yemen four years ago when Saudi Arabia and its allies began a military campaign in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The US is providing Saudis with intelligence, arms and ammunition, and, until late last year, fuel for their warplanes. The warplanes that bombed a school bus, killing at least 40 children last August, did so with an American-made bomb. The war that has killed more than 50,000 people, according to one independent estimate, and has left tens of millions more in need of assistance. Trump is determined to keep course, and has shown he is committed to his alliance to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, even after it became clear the prince called for Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. Since Trump’s veto, his administration has escalated tensions with Iran, spreading concern that Trump is itching to stoke another war. These concerns were exacerbated on Friday, when the administration sidestepped Congress again, unilaterally authorizing $8 billion in arms sales, including to Saudi Arabia and its allies, to counter Iran. “This is a moment of truth, both for the congressional war power and for the Supreme Court of the United States,” Ackerman said. “Does the Supreme Court of the United States — and its claim of originalism — is that supposed to be taken seriously?” The case for taking Trump to the Supreme Court, briefly explained Constitutionally, Congress has the power to declare war, and the president, as the commander in chief, has the power to direct the military after Congress’s authorization. Historically, America’s war making has gone differently; presidents have consistently pushed the boundaries of their power. For example, for the past 18 years, presidents of both parties have have used the same 2001 congressional war authorization — passed after 9/11 — as justification for going into war across the Middle East, including Yemen. The Obama administration did not ask Congress for specific authorization before involving itself in Yemen. The Trump administration hasn’t either, bypassing the legislative branch as it negotiated billions of dollars in arms deals, and as it conducted military operations. Instead of seeking congressional approval for war, presidents have increasingly turned to their internal legal counsels to build a largely secret body of law to defend their war engagements, Mary Dudziak, a constitutional scholar with Emory University School of Law, said. “Especially since 9/11, Congress has let power accumulate in the executive branch,” Dudziak said. “And Congress does that by sitting back and not objecting, which is why Pelosi’s role is really important right now.” Now, Dudziak, and others, say Congress has an opportunity to fight back. Legal scholars are pointing to a 1950s Supreme Court case, the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, to make the case to Democratic leadership that Congress has the winning argument against Trump on war powers. In 1952, during the Korean War, a labor strike stalled steel production, cutting the availability of war materials for American troops. So President Harry Truman invoked his emergency powers to seize private steel mills to force steelworkers back, blatantly defying specific provisions in the Taft-Hartley Act — a largely anti-union labor law from 1947. Truman’s justification was that he could not wage a successful war without the proper materials, and therefore was allowed to act outside the law. The Supreme Court rejected Truman’s case, and importantly, Justice Robert Jackson’s opinion established a clear three-tier framework for presidential powers. He wrote a president’s powers are at maximum strength only with Congress’ authorization. When Congress shows indifference, presidential power is in a “twilight zone,” as both branches can claim authority over a given matter. Finally, a president’s power is “at its lowest ebb,” when Congress has specifically disapproved of an action. US involvement in the war in Yemen firmly sits in this third category. Congress has passed a War Powers Resolution — a form of legislative action established in 1973 to prevent another Vietnam War — specifically directing Trump to withdraw from Yemen. In passing the resolution, Congress not only tried to claw back its constitutional powers from the president, but also asserted that the executive had overstepped his bounds as commander in chief, going to war without Congress’s approval. “We have the leading fundamental precedent on this requiring the Supreme Court to scrutinize presidential war making,” Ackerman said. “If Nancy Pelosi doesn’t go to court and urge the Supreme Court to intervene when Congress has for the first time invoked this [War Power Resolution], in the case where neither President Obama nor President Trump has gained the approval, it establishes a precedent that this War Power shouldn’t be taken seriously.” Do Democrats want to get into this fight? Since Trump’s veto, lawmakers and activists have all been waiting for their next move on Yemen. “We continue to consider all viable options to end this humanitarian crisis,” Pelosi’s spokesperson said. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who shuttled the War Power Resolution through the House, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) doing the same in the Senate, is hopeful: “It wasn’t a no,” he told Vox of leadership’s interest in taking Trump to court. That said, there still isn’t consensus that this is the best strategy going forward. Sanders told Vox he would be supportive of Pelosi taking legal action, but said his primary focus is on building enough support that the Senate can overturn Trump’s veto. Sanders often talks about Yemen, and the importance of Congress’ war powers (especially with respect to Trump’s escalations with Iran), on the national stage as one of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. “I think essentially we have got to rally the American people to understand what a horrible humanitarian disaster this is, and we need the votes to override Trump’s veto — that is to me the major issue,” Sanders said. “The court case would go on and on. And we need immediate action.” Dudziak acknowledged the need for both legal action, and a national campaign to gain Americans’ attention. “The only way for Congress to have any role in restraining president’s war power is for Congress to act,” she said. “The hardest thing to [doing] anything is profound apathy about our conflict on the part of the American people.”

It’s tyrannical

Ed Brayton, May 27, 2019, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2019/05/27/trump-again-using-fake-emergency-to-bypass-congress/ Trump Again Using fake “emergency” to bypass Congress Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Congress develops a tiny portion a spine and votes down this or that policy, so Trump decides to declare a fake “emergency” so he would do whatever he wanted to in the first place anyway. This time he says it’s an “emergency” that we make billions in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified lawmakers Friday that President Trump is invoking his emergency authority to sidestep Congress and complete 22 arms deals that would benefit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries, despite lawmakers’ objections to the transactions. Republicans and Democrats urged the Trump administration this week not to take the rare step of exploiting a legal window to push through deals — worth about $8 billion, according to congressional aides — that lawmakers have blocked from being finalized. Pompeo’s notification letters effectively give the Trump administration a green light to conclude the sale and transfer of bombs, missile systems, semiautomatic rifles, drones and repair and maintenance services to aid the Saudi air fleet, and precision-guided munitions that lawmakers fear Saudi Arabia may use against civilians in Yemen’s civil war. This will end up in court, of course. Trump simply will not accept any limitations on his power, period. One might call him a satrap, but his desire for tyranny does well beyond the petty.

US will sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, circumventing Congress

Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Pompeo-US-arms-sales-to-Saudis-UAE-Jordan-needed-to-deter-Iran-590614, POMPEO: U.S. ARMS SALES TO SAUDIS, UAE, JORDAN NEEDED TO DETER IRAN Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the Trump administration had decided to proceed with arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in a move bypassing Congress because any delay could increase risk for U.S. partners at a time of instability caused by Iran. “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement, adding the decision to circumvent Congress was meant to be a “one-time event.”

This creates a dangerous precedent, allowing the President to sell weapons in the future without a check from Congress and setting a dangerous precedent for the expansion of Presidential power

Zachary Cohen, May 24, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/24/politics/trump-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-uae/index.html, Trump declares emergency to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE

Washington (CNN)The Trump administration has declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries — including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — citing the need to deter what it called “the malign influence” of Iran throughout the Middle East. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally told lawmakers Friday of the administration’s plans. “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement that put the value of the sales at $8.1 billion. In a Friday letter to congressional lawmakers, Pompeo said that he “determined that an emergency exists, which requires the immediate sale of the defense articles and defense services” to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan “in order to deter further the malign influence of the Government of Iran throughout the Middle East region,” according to a copy obtained by CNN. The notification comes on the same day as President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is sending an additional 1,500 US troops to the Middle East to counter Iran. Pompeo noted in his statement that “today’s action will quickly augment our partners’ capacity to provide for their own self-defense and reinforce recent changes to US posture in the region to deter Iran.” Overall, the State Department listed more than 20 proposed sales, according to a congressional source. Trump approves additional deployment to Mideast to counter Iran Trump approves additional deployment to Mideast to counter Iran CNN reported earlier Friday that the Trump administration was planning to announce its decision to use a pre-existing rule that would allow it to expedite arms sales to allies in the Middle East. The move drew bipartisan condemnation, with lawmakers decrying the precedent it sets, questioning the administration’s claims of an emergency and raising the issue of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Pompeo directly addressed lawmakers’ unhappiness in his statement, saying, “I intend for this determination to be a one-time event.” He noted that the provision has been used by at least four previous administrations since 1979, and said “this specific measure does not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress.” But he cast blame at Congress as well. ‘Congressional delay’ “Delaying this shipment could cause degraded systems and a lack of necessary parts and maintenance that could create severe airworthiness and interoperability concerns for our key partners, during a time of increasing regional volatility,” Pompeo said. “These national security concerns have been exacerbated by many months of Congressional delay in addressing these critical requirements, and have called into doubt our reliability as a provider of defense capabilities, opening opportunities for U.S. adversaries to exploit.” A US official tells CNN that the arms packages for UAE and Saudi Arabia will include surveillance aircraft and maintenance, as well as training programs, advanced precision kill weapon guidance systems and Javelin missiles. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the administration’s move “unfortunate” in a statement. While noting he understood the frustration that “key members of Congress held these arms sales for an extended period,” he added that “The President’s decision to use an emergency waiver on these sales is unfortunate and will damage certain future congressional interactions.” The Trump Administration formally informed Congress that it is invoking an obscure provision of the Arms Export Control Act to eliminate the statutorily-required Congressional review of the sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others, but failed to explain its legal or practical basis for doing so,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. ‘Disappointed, but not surprised’ “I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump Administration has failed once again to prioritize our long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia,” he added. The committee’s Republican chairman, Sen. Jim Risch, told CNN that he has “received formal notification of the administration’s intent to move forward with a number of arms sales” and is reviewing the legal justification for this action. Section 36 of the Arms Control Act allows the White House to forgo the traditional 30-day congressional notification period for arms sales of the President declares an emergency, thereby preventing Congress from being able to put a hold on any arms deals. Senator warns Trump may use 'obscure loophole' to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia Senator warns Trump may use ‘obscure loophole’ to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia “President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove of this sale,” Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a statement. “There is no new ’emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there. This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that future presidents can use to sell weapons without a check from Congress.” We have the constitutional duty to declare war and the responsibility to oversee arm sales that contravene our national security interests. If we don’t stand up to this abuse of authority, we will permanently box ourselves out of deciding who we should sell weapons to,” Murphy added.Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that Trump’s decision to sell arms outside the standard review process “is unacceptable” and that Khashoggi’s murder changed her view of Riyadh. “My whole view of Saudi Arabia changed with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Feinstein said “I will not support another Saudi arms sale, and I urge all of my Senate colleagues to stand up for congressional prerogative and block the President’s end-run around the law.”

UK still selling jets to Saudi Arabia, it got an exemption from the German ban

Middle East Eye, May 24, 2019, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-negotiated-exemption-ban-continue-suppling-british-fighter-jet-saudi-arabia, UK still supplying fighter jets to Saudi Arabia despite ban

The UK negotiated an exemption from a German ban on supplying equipment to Saudi Arabia for use in the war in Yemen, the foreign secretary confirmed on Thursday. In March, Germany extended for six months a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia due to concerns about human rights abuses, but UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that joint production on British planes would continue. Tornado fighter bombers and Eurofighter Typhoons are both used by the Saudi-led coalition in air strikes in Yemen, which are aimed at combatting the Houthi rebel group. The aircraft are produced by consortiums of European companies, while Germany supplies spares for them. “There will be a partial exemption for joint European programmes and their connected licences until the end of December 2019,” said Hunt, in letter to the parliamentary Committee on Arms Export Controls (CEAC), according to the Guardian. “I am pleased the German government has listened to our request to ensure the spares for the existing Typhoon and Tornado aircraft in Saudi Arabia may now continue to be licensed.” Saudi activists and US lawmakers join call for end to ‘sadistic’ abuses by MBS Read More » The war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with the World Health Organisation estimating that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the country since March 2015, but rights groups say the toll could be far higher. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Labour MP and CEAC member, told the Guardian the revelations were deeply concerning. “Not only is the government breaking UK export control law to keep Saudi jets in the sky bombing civilians in Yemen, it is lobbying other countries to do so,” he said. The UK revelations come as it was reported that the administration of US President Donald Trump was preparing to bypass a Congress ban to allow the sale of $7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several State Department appointees are pushing the administration to invoke an emergency provision that would allow Trump to prevent Congress from halting the sales, which are currently on hold, reported the New York Times on Thursday. Reports of the plan have angered politicians on both sides of the aisle, who are frustrated by the government’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in the ongoing Yemen war. Congress dealt Trump a harsh rebuke in March with a historic bipartisan resolution that would have curtailed the president’s war-making powers and ended American support for the Saudi-led coalition. Trump vetoed the measure in April, the second such move of his presidency.

Iran is not a threat

William Hartung, May 24, 2019, https://lobelog.com/trumps-emergency-sale-to-saudi-arabia-must-not-stand/, Trump’s “Emergency” Sale To Saudi Arabia Must Not Stand Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has asserted that the emergency declaration is a response to what the administration claims is a heightened threat from Iran. But members of Congress briefed on the alleged Iranian threat have accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to provoke a military confrontation, in an echo of what the Bush administration did in the run-up to its disastrous invasion of Iraq. On Friday, Pompeo officially announced his intention to invoke the AECA provision to cover “22 pending arms transfers to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia totaling approximately $8.1 billion to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defense capacity.” Furthermore, while the Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi/UAE coalition in Yemen receive some support from Iran, they are not proxies of Tehran. They have been fighting on and off for decades based on their own political and economic grievances, and in a number of instances they have taken actions that Iran had counseled against. In short, selling weapons that will foster further slaughter in Yemen to counter Iran is both unjustified and immoral. And as Sen. Murphy has pointed out, if Trump is allowed to use a false emergency over Iran to circumvent Congress, “Congress will never be able to object to an arms sale again.”

Legislation can block the sail

William Hartung, May 24, 2019, https://lobelog.com/trumps-emergency-sale-to-saudi-arabia-must-not-stand/, Trump’s “Emergency” Sale To Saudi Arabia Must Not Stand The problem with Trump’s arms sales policy towards Saudi Arabia isn’t how much he’s been selling, but the nature of the deals. Early in his term he reversed an Obama administration suspension of a deal for precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, and now he is trying to push through another sale by undermining the right of Congress to scrutinize such sales. Sen. Menendez has pledged to use “legislative and other means to nullify these and any planned ongoing sales.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has called the emergency maneuver “a big mistake,” and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said he would “not do business with Saudi Arabia until we have a better reckoning” of the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Congressional opponents are mulling the best way to block the deal, and time is of the essence. One option would be to push legislation to block the transfer, sale, or authorization for license of bombs and other offensive weapons to the Saudi regime. Crucially, such a measure would stop bomb sales already in the pipeline. The time to act is now.

Presidential power dangerously high

Ronald Feinman, May 26, 2019, Ronald L. Feinman is the author of “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama” (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015).  A paperback edition is now available. The Expansion of Presidential Power Since 1973. Nearly a half century ago, famed historian and scholar Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. published The Imperial Presidency. This path breaking work described the growing centralization of the executive branch of the American government since the 1930s. The Imperial Presidency was published at the height of the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973, and brought essential attention to the need to prevent further abuses in the office of the Presidency. Congress reasserted its authority after Watergate as it passed the War Powers Act of 1973 (which they passed by overriding Nixon’s veto), tried to limit FBI and CIA activities through the Church Committee investigations of the mid 1970s, and passed the Ethics in Government Act to create Special Prosecutors to investigate accusations of illegal activities in the executive branch. Unfortunately, these actions didn’t have the impact many in Congress hoped for: the War Powers Act was ignored by future Presidents who intervened regularly without giving notice under the law and the Church Committee investigations had no substantial long range impact. Presidents continued to expand their executive power. Republican President Ronald Reagan, despite his promotion of conservatism and the goal of making the federal government smaller, expanded the power of the presidency not through law but through precedent: because his substantial unilateral actions were not challenged, he set a precedent for future presidents.This was particularly evident in foreign policy, most notably the Iran Contra Affair. Congress had banned any involvement or intervention in the civil war raging in Nicaragua against the leftist Sandinista government. Reagan’s administration nonetheless arranged secret arms sales to Iran and used the funds from those sales to support the anti government “Contras” in Nicaragua. Although some members of Congress called for impeachment proceedings, it was avoided because Reagan was in his second and final term, and because his warm personality and great oratorical ability made him widely popular. Reagan also used his executive power to authorize a secret intervention in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, supported Iraq and Saddam Hussein in their war against Iran, and simultaneously sold arms to Iran. Reagan was then succeeded by his Vice President, George H.W. Bush. Bush, with his experience as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Gerald Ford, also intervened internationally without Congressional authority. Bush authorized the invasion of Panama in 1989 and organized a coalition to force Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait during the brief Persian Gulf War of 1991. Bush did not seek a Congressional declaration of war, and instead simply gained authorization to use force. At the end of his first and only term in the Oval Office, Bush, with his Attorney General William Barr, pardoned the major figures who had been convicted or were still facing trial as part of the Iran Contra scandal. This prevented any further investigation of the possibility that Bush himself was involved in that scandal. Bush followed in Reagan’s footsteps: he continued to take unilateral action in foreign policy and acted to ensure that Reagan never was held responsible for his presidential actions, confirming that presidential powers had expanded. When Democrat Bill Clinton came to office, and once the Republican opposition gained control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections of 1994, the Republicans were less supportive of unchecked presidential power. While they had been unconcerned about Presidential power under Reagan and Bush, they complained that Clinton abused executive orders on domestic issues, including the environment. Clinton was also heavily investigated and even impeached over his personal behavior with women, including Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. When Republican George W. Bush (2001-2009) came to power after the contested Presidential Election of 2000, he brought into government two figures who were particularly keen to add to executive leadership: Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Cheney and Rumsfeld used national security concerns to justify the use of surveillance and “enhanced interrogation techniques” (torture). The Patriot Act was passed with very few dissenting votes, and the Department of Homeland Security was created. The decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq based on faulty information caused some to call for the impeachment of George W. Bush, and a bill was introduced by Congressmen Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio, and Robert Wexler of Boca Raton, Florida in 2008. The charges lodged against Bush in the impeachment resolution included accusations that Bush had misled the nation on the need for the invasion of Iraq; his conduct of the Iraq War; the treatment of detainees; the National Security Agency Warrentless Surveillance; and failure to comply with Congressional subpoenas. Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi resisted any move toward impeachment, with Bush’s time in office nearing its end. Once the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm 2010 elections, and control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, the Republicans worked mightily to attempt to block the agenda of the new President Barack Obama. Republicans argued Obama was abusing his power with his “excessive” use of Executive Orders on issues, such as the creation of numerous commissions, boards, committees, and task forces; along with Obama’s actions on environmental protections, his health care actions, and his initiatives on opening up relations with Cuba and authorizing the Iran Deal to prevent nuclear development. Republicans further curtailed his agenda as they refused to even consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court after the latter’s death in early 2016, and prevented other judicial confirmations to the lower courts. But Obama’s administration was scandal free, and no cabinet officers or other high ranking figures were indicted or convicted for corruption, which had been endemic under Reagan and the second Bush in particular. Now Republican President Donald Trump has made the controversies under earlier Republican Presidents Reagan and the two Bushes look minor by comparison. Some even consider his abuse of power as more scandalous than the Presidency of Richard Nixon. Many are concerned over the involvement of Russia in the 2016 election; Trump’s violation of the Emoluments Clause; the abuse of power; obstruction of justice; and the massive corruption and incompetence of so many cabinet officers and other high officials under Trump which make him seem unfit for office. The crisis is greater than Watergate in many respects because Trump has now made it clear he will not cooperate with any Congressional committee demands for evidence or witnesses. He, perhaps jokingly, perhaps seriously, asserted the right to an extra two years as president because he believes he has been mistreated in his first two years due to the Robert Mueller investigation. And his Attorney General William Barr, the same man who assisted George H. W. Bush in his move toward blanket pardons at the end of his term in 1992, is also refusing to give Congressional committees the entire Mueller report without any redactions. And now Trump has declared he will not cooperate on any legislative actions by Congress until the “witch hunt” he sees against him comes to an end, which is not about to happen. With Trump using his executive powers to attempt to reverse all of Obama’s accomplishments in office, and that of many other Presidents in the past century, unchecked presidential power has never seemed more of a threat. Arthur Schlesinger Jr’s book from 1973 is now just the prelude to a far greater constitutional crisis that is possibly, in a permanent manner, transforming the Presidency and destroying the separation of powers and checks and balances created by the Founding Fathers in 1787.

Counterplan – Have the UK withdraw logistics support

Anna Stavrianakis is a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex, May 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/21/mps-thanking-jeremy-hunt-efforts-peace-in-yemen , UK arms exports are still playing a central role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis UK arms exports are still playing a central role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis Indeed, in a report published almost exactly one year ago, the APPG itself concluded that “the UK should, based on current available evidence, immediately suspend arms sales to all parties that have been accused of breaching international law”. A recent Dispatches programme suggested that Saudi bombing missions would have to stop within seven to 14 days if engineering support were halted. The UK government is in a position to force the warring parties to the negotiating table by withdrawing material, diplomatic and symbolic support for the coalition.

Saudis political lobby blocks enough votes to override Trump’s veto

Richard Walker, May 21, 2019, http://americanfreepress.net/trumps-yemen-blunder/, Trump’s Yemen Blunder In a rare bi-partisan effort to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war, Congress sent the president the resolution, expecting he would reject it, which he did. He justified his decision by claiming it threatened to weaken his constitutional authority. He thereby ended the matter because Congress lacked the two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to override his veto. The reason there is not a bigger congressional majority to confront the Yemen issue—and with it the president’s seemingly unchecked power to wage war without congressional approval—is that there are many members of Congress on both sides who are influenced by Israel’s support for the Saudis, and just as many who are beholden to Saudi political donations. No country spends more money on lobbying in Washington and on Capitol Hill than Saudi Arabia and its coalition partner in the war, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

French provide critical weapons

Richard Walker, May 21, 2019, http://americanfreepress.net/trumps-yemen-blunder/, Trump’s Yemen Blunder The leaked papers highlighted the lies French leaders had been telling their own people about the war. President Emmanuel Macron had insisted that French weapons were being used by the Saudis and their allies for purely defensive purposes. It was an outright lie. French weapons were used in the slaughter of civilians. For example, the powerful French CAESAR howitzer capable of launching shells deep into Yemen had been within range of 430,000 civilians. It was revealed that the Saudis had placed an order for another 126 CAESARs to be delivered before 2023.

Europe providing the fighter jets

Richard Walker, May 21, 2019, http://americanfreepress.net/trumps-yemen-blunder/, Trump’s Yemen Blunder The French have not been alone in supplying some of the most advanced deadly weapons that have caused untold civilian casualties in Yemen. The leaked papers also pointed out that most of the planes flying over Yemen were NATO types such as F-15s, EU Tornado fighters, and British Typhoons. The leaked intel also confirmed that French arms companies had provided the Saudis and the UAE with their most powerful tanks, helicopters, and missiles.

Houthis are not a threat to the US

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. Another was that Houthi control would threaten the Kingdom, the Persian Gulf, and America. This indigenous religious/political movement is far less radical than Wahhabism, the variant of Islamic fundamentalism lavishly promoted by Riyadh across the globe, including in Yemen. The Houthis spent years battling Saleh before joining with him against a common enemy, Hadi (and then the coalition). They never waged war on the United States, KSA, or anyone else. Missile attacks were retaliation for military aggression by the Kingdom, following years of ravaging air attacks on Yemen.

US responsible for destroying Yemen, not restraining it

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. Despite administration claims of being a moderating influence, the coalition has conducted a ferocious and unrestrained air war. Yemen’s economic and human infrastructure has been wrecked, mostly by air attacks; perhaps twenty thousand, and probably more, civilians have been killed, the vast majority by air attacks. The only air force involved is backed and guided by Washington. Limiting the damage has been coalition capabilities, not U.S. advice. The Obama and Trump administrations have made the American nation an accomplice to mass murder.

US support encourages more aggressive coalition action

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. Yet the coalition has shown no inclination to moderate its approach despite four years of U.S. support supposedly directed at moderating its approach. And the administration’s close embrace has only emboldened Crown Prince bin Salman, who has grown more repressive and reckless. Worse, this strategy requires Washington to help kill even more Yemenis, who have done nothing against America.

Realism answer – Yemen war not in US interests

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. First, this fight is not America’s. The United States has nothing meaningful at stake in the battle among Yemeni factions and neighboring states. Yemen has been in turmoil for decades, with no noticeable impact on American security. Moreover, the people of Yemen have done nothing to warrant treating them as enemies.

Saudi Arabia worse than the Houthis

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. Second, Washington has intervened on the wrong side. The Houthis never were friends of America or liberty and have grown only more hostile under attack. But the Saudis and Emiratis are far worse, unabashed aggressors for essentially imperial ends. The Houthis oppose AQAP and support a united Yemen. Hadi and the coalition have aided AQAP and other radical forces, while the UAE is promoting Yemen’s break-up in search of economic advantage.

Saudi Arabia is not acting in self-defense

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. Fourth, the Kingdom’s claim of self-defense is a contemptible attempt to turn its initial aggression into a bootstrap argument. The Houthis only recently began launching missiles against Saudi Arabia, after years of coalition bombing. Bizarrely, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that America was aiding the Saudis because Houthi missiles aimed at the airport in Riyadh might hurt an American: “the United States has an obligation to protect our citizens.” But there were no missiles flying when the KSA launched its attack and America intervened on the royals’ behalf. Moreover, ending the war would ground the missiles.

Saudis greater supporters of terrorism than Iran and the Houthis

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire. Fifth, the United States should not get involved in a sectarian conflict on behalf of the Saudi and Emirati royal families. Most terrorism ultimately stems from the fundamentalist Sunni theology represented, practiced, and promoted by Riyadh. The Kingdom has been far more expansionist than Tehran, invading Yemen, kidnapping the Lebanese prime minister, sending troops to back the dictatorial, minority Bahraini monarchy against its people, subsidizing Islamist radicals in the Syrian Civil War, underwriting the brutal el-Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, and inflaming conflict in Libya. The Kingdom also is far more repressive than Iran, allowing not a hint of political or religious liberty for its own people.

Visa counterplan to solve First Amendment advantage

Washington Post, May 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/congress-can-seek-justice-for-jamal-khashoggis-murder-its-clear-trump-wont/2019/05/18/0a1b4b64-78b8-11e9-b7ae-390de4259661_story.html?utm_term=.936bbec3344d Congress still has an opportunity to act. Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been working on legislation that he hopes could pass Congress and escape Mr. Trump’s veto. To do so, it would omit direct sanctions on the crown prince and restrictions on U.S. arms sales. But if it conditions U.S. visas for the Saudi elite and their families on tangible reforms, including the release of political prisoners, it could prove useful. A bill in the House, sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), would require the director of national intelligence to provide Congress with a list of individuals responsible for Khashoggi’s death and deny them entry into the United States unless steps on human rights are taken. Nothing Congress can do can erase Ms. Cengiz’s terrible loss. But it still has the chance to restore the hope that she and many others in the Middle East once had that the United States would not tolerate without consequence the murder and dismemberment of a critical journalist.

US must cut sales to Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia depends on the sales

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia The Senate’s failure to override President Trump’s veto of its effort to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is not the end of the story. A way can and must be found to stop U.S. assistance in refueling, targeting, and other activities that bolster the Saudi/United Arab Emirats (UAE) war effort, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and left millions of Yemenis at risk of famine and fatal, war-induced diseases. For starters, Congress should work to close off the other main avenue of U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition—the sale of bombs, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, attack helicopters, and other equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two primary perpetrators of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. According to statistics from the Security Assistance Monitor, the United States has offered over $68 billion in weaponry to those two nations since the start of the current Yemen conflict in March 2015. As Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution has noted, these U.S.-supplied systems are the backbone of the Saudi military, and without those weapons and related maintenance and support they could not sustain their intervention in Yemen.

Smart, precision-guided weapons from the US do not reduce conflict

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia With respect to the sales of precision-guided bombs—whose use has been documented in the widespread killings of civilians—the argument of choice has been that even more civilians would die in Saudi/UAE air strikes if the coalition were limited to “dumb” bombs that could not be targeted as accurately. This assertion is premised on the idea that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are making good faith efforts to avoid hitting civilians. The sheer volume of strikes on targets like hospitals, a school bus, funerals, factories, water treatment plants, and other civilian infrastructure puts the lie to this argument. Air strikes on civilians are not “mistakes.” They are part and parcel of the Saudi/UAE strategy to bomb Yemenis into submission and end the war on terms favorable to their coalition.

Majority of weapons come from the US

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia Another popular argument for continuing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE is “if we don’t do it, somebody else will.” But the United States and its European allies supply the Saudi air force and the majority of the arsenals of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Saudi and UAE militaries could not turn on a dime and seek Russian or Chinese systems to substitute for any cutoff of U.S. weaponry and support. It would take a decade or more for these nations to end their dependence on U.S. arms. A few deals with Moscow or Beijing would have limited impact on Saudi and UAE military capabilities, if Russia and China were even willing to supply arms to two nations that are responsible for the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, with the international opprobrium that would accompany any decision to do so.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia do not support many jobs

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia President Trump’s favorite argument for keeping the weapons trade going is jobs, jobs, jobs. His claims of U.S. jobs tied to Saudi arms sales and related deals have fluctuated widely, from 40,000 to as many as one million. But an analysis of actual deals concluded over the past two years suggests a figure that is a fraction of the president’s claims. And many of these jobs will be created in Saudi Arabia as part of that nation’s goal of having 50 percent of the value of its arms purchases produced in the kingdom by 2030

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia do not deter Iran

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia Last but not least is the claim that stopping arms sales to the Saudi/UAE coalition will aid Iran. But the Houthi-led opposition is by no means a proxy for Tehran. They have longstanding grievances that have nothing to do with Iran’s limited military support and would be fighting no matter what posture Iran takes towards the conflict. If anything, the brutal Saudi/UAE intervention is driving the Houthi coalition closer to Tehran. The best way to undercut Iranian influence in Yemen is to support UN efforts to end the war.

Saudi Arabia funds terrorism

Human Rights First, May 15, 2019, https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/congress-pushes-back-against-trumps-erratic-saudi-friends, Congress Pushes Back Against Trump’s Erratic Saudi Friends The White House insists that Saudi Arabia is a key ally in the struggle against Iranian terrorism, but Saudi Arabia itself remains a major supplier of violent ideology, exporting extremist Salafism and Wahabism. In 2017 the overwhelming majority of the 61 groups designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department were Wahabi-inspired and/or Saudi funded. In 2015 the German Intelligence Service warned that the Saudi government—encouraged by its perception of unconditional support from the United States—was in danger of destabilizing the Middle East.

A child dies every 12 minutes in Saudi Arabia

Daily Mirror, May 12, 2019, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/front-line-forgotten-war-yemen-15497077, On the front line of forgotten war in Yemen where a child dies every 12 minutes Lying on the floor of his makeshift shack in a refugee camp, disabled Adbul Nasser is close to tears as he tells how he and his family had to flee their home or starve to death. The 83-year-old, wife Faza and their 25 grandchildren are yet more innocent victims of a civil war raging in Yemen that has caused what aid agencies call “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. A child dies here from hunger every 12 minutes – that is 120 a day – in a famine as devastating as the Ethiopian one in 1984 that sparked the Live Aid concert. Staples such as milk and bread are now being described as “luxuries” But as millions more people go hungry amid soaring food prices and military blockades, this has become the forgotten war which rarely features on our TVs. And one in which the Tories have been widely criticised for selling arms to Saudi Arabia, which is supporting Yemen’s ­government forces by bombing the Houthi fighters it is locked in battle with and blockading aid entry points. A child dies every 12 minutes in Yemen (Image: Philip Coburn) READ MORE Mum says mould in her home is making her son so sick he has to stay at gran’s Thousands of civilians are being killed in this devastating conflict due to the fighting and cholera outbreaks. Abdul and his relatives had to flee their remote village and travel hundreds of miles across the front line, avoiding soldiers and landmines, before they arrived at the camp in Marib. He said: “Our family had no choice but to leave. “We had no food, it was dangerous, we would have starved to death.” Abdul is a broken man. He does not care who started the war that has been ravaging the country since 2014, he just knows it has shattered his once happy family life. As he talks, his grandchildren buzz around the place – unaware how lucky they are to be alive. He watched fondly as the youngest, one-month-old Taiba, was cuddled by her sisters. Abdul, who is so frail he had to be carried from minibus to minibus during the perilous journey from his home in a Houthi-held region, added: “Before the war started we were a large happy peaceful family with no problems. “But now it impossible to survive living there. We were starving and we had to move. Even the food we had was taken from us to give to friends of the soldiers. Grandfather Abdul Nasser, 83, and his wife Faza, 70, who fled their home to escape the war in Yemen are pictured with their extended family (Image: Philip Coburn) READ MORE Miami shooting: Rapper NBA YoungBoy’s car ‘strafed with AK47’ as man killed “I cannot believe what has happened to Yemen and to my country.” A relative said: “We never thought we would end up living in a refugee camp. “Life wasn’t easy before but at least we had some food. We did not go to bed hungry. We had to leave to survive. Everyone is hungry and everyone is struggling it’s a nightmare. “It’s not the sort of life you want your children and family to have.” We found three young mums who had also fled to the camp, in the government held region. One, Omahend from the capital Sanaa, said: “We were hungry all the time. The men are kidnapped and taken away so there’s no income coming in. The food prices are so shocking. “Even mothers I know are missing meals and going hungry just to give their children some food and they are still hungry anyway. We all have to make sacrifices every day for years. Things like bread and milk are like luxuries. “We would have some meat perhaps once every three months, and that’s if we were really, really lucky.” Another refugee, who asked not to be identified because he had family in the Houthi area, added: “People are dying from hunger. It’s not unusual. It’s become normal. There’s just not enough food.” Brit Sultana Begum, from Crouch End, North London, works for a charity in Sanaa where she has witnessed appalling tragedy. She begged the world to help before it’s too late. She said: “Yemenis are being starved. This is a man-made crisis. Starvation in Yemen is not an ­accident or caused by a natural ­phenomenon. There is no mistake about it. More than 20 million people across the country are hungry. A quarter of a million people are living in famine-like conditions and without humanitarian aid these people will most likely have died of hunger.” UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere described Yemen as a “living hell” for children. Yemeni Army at front line position near Houthi rebel positions near Sana’a in Yemen (Image: Philip Coburn) And Lise Grande, UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen added: “I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia that was just unacceptable. “Many of us had the confidence that would never happen again and yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at.” According to the UN, of the 233,000 estimated deaths in Yemen, 102,000 will be war-related and 131,000 from ­malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases. In another shocking statistic, it said 140,000 children will have been killed since the start of the conflict. And by the time today is over another 100 will have been buried in makeshift graves across the land. This week there were the first signs of a possible move to peace with the Houthis promising to leave the key port of Hodeidah – where much of the aid comes in. But to compound the situation, al-Qaeda is growing in strength here – killing six in a bombing last Friday. A ­parliamentary report said British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are causing “significant civilian ­casualties” and “are probably illegal”. The House of Lords International ­Relations Committee warned Theresa May must rein in arms sales “as a matter of urgency”. Picture shows children who have fled the civil war in Yemen at a refugee camp in Marib, Yemen (Image: Philip Coburn) And former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell said: “The UK has made a tremendous strategic misjudgment about this conflict. “As I saw for myself on the ground, the impact of what Britain and America, with French support, are doing in this conflict is radicalising tens of ­thousands of young Yemenis who know the great powers who are responsible for their misery, their starvation and the destruction of the basic infrastructure of their country.” Jeremy Corbyn said “The UK government is complicit in the large scale civilian death toll in Yemen. By continuing to arm and support Saudi Arabia’s war and indiscriminate bombing campaign, Theresa May must share responsibility for this terrible suffering. “The government should halt arms sales to Saudi immediately, and we must throw our weight behind efforts to bring an end to the conflict.” Yemen is one of the poorest ­countries in the world – far below nations such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sudan. But it is next door to oil-rich Saudi Arabia and not far from the British holiday favourite cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Andy’s terrifying experience on the front line Suddenly there was a roar of gunfire from the mountainside opposite.

US needs to continue to secure Gulf oil — Shale production cannot replace oil , Gulf oil critical to the global economy the US depends on, and US downsizing means China takes over.

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) Will the so-called “shale revolution” allow the United States to disengage from the Persian Gulf? A rich body of scholarship argues that since the United States no longer depends on imports of Gulf oil, it can extricate itself from the region militarily and even disengage politically with minimal negative repercussions. This paper will suggest that the¨United States cannot, in fact, afford to radically downsize its footprint in the Persian Gulf for the immediate future. The staggering growth in U.S. shale oil production in recent years should not obscure the fact that the Gulf still possesses half of global reserves — something worth recalling in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to stop giving other countries waivers to purchase Iranian oil. It is unclear which region besides the Gulf can quickly replace the 1.9 million barrels per day Iran exported before the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. It is unwise to think that U.S. oil exports can stabilize global markets. Recent boasts of America’s “energy dominance” are beginning to ring hollow due to fears that geological factors and the ebbing of cheap financing for small shale companies may soon stall U.S. production growth,. Small shale firms are losing ground to larger, vertically integrated companies more interested in boosting profit margins than production rates. Until the world can make the necessary transition to a post-hydrocarbon economy, preserving access to Gulf oil will remain one of the pillars of U.S. predominance — even if the United States never consumes a single drop of oil from the region. To understand why, we must grasp that the United States did not get involved in the Gulf after World War II because it needed the region’s oil for U.S. consumption. Rather, the aim was to guarantee access for U.S. allies and companies supplying foreign markets. Then, as now, energy independence was of secondary importance — what mattered more was building an international system that delivered widespread prosperity and security. Today, the question worth asking about U.S. strategy in the Gulf is not whether Americans still need the region’s oil, but whether they are still willing to serve as guarantors of the complex international oil market that, in many ways, underpins the postwar international order. …. Why Gulf Oil Remains Vital Does the United States still have to worry about protecting its allies’ access to Gulf oil and preventing a potential adversary from dominating the region? The answer to both questions is yes. While Europe’s oil consumption is plateauing, and its dependence on oil from the Gulf is dwarfed by its reliance on Russia, South and East Asia have taken its place. The bulk of future demand growth will take place in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for over one-third of global oil consumption but less than one-tenth of production. The oil Asia requires comes largely from one region. India and China get half of their oil imports from the Gulf. Besides Australia, most U.S. allies and partners in Asia are even more dependent on the Gulf. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan all draw more than three-quarters of their oil imports from the region. This could become a crippling vulnerability if a hostile power frustrated their access to that oil, which brings us to the second point. During the Cold War, U.S. officials fretted over the Soviet threat to the Gulf. Recently, scholars have questioned whether the elaborate security infrastructure the United States built in the Gulf during the Cold War was truly necessary. In particular, they have dismissed the economic threat posed by a Soviet occupation of the Gulf. The Soviet Union, as a large oil producer and exporter, had little need for Gulf oil and lacked sufficient foreign exchange to compensate local oil producers for ending exports to the West. Ironically, the threat today may be greater than during the Cold War. Contemporary China is a far more capable adversary than the Soviet Union. The latter was a pariah within the global economy, whereas the former is one of its manufacturing hubs. In 1946, Soviet per capita income was one-fifth that of the United States. Although the Soviets closed the gap by the 1970s, the collapse in oil prices and stagnation of their economy wiped out any gains. By 1989, the Soviet Union’s GDP (in current dollars) was $506.5 billion, compared to America’s $5.685 trillion. China’s nominal GDP today, by contrast, is more than 60 percent that of the United States, and its foreign exchange reserves total more than $3 trillion. Combined with its growing demand for oil, China — unlike the Soviet Union — has both the means and the opportunity to incentivize Gulf oil producers to redirect their exports to China and away from other consumers — including U.S. allies in East Asia. A similar scenario occurred in 1915, when Britain bought any cotton the United States was planning to export to Germany and Austria-Hungary after Whitehall added cotton to the list of items covered by its blockade of the Central Powers. This act mollified U.S. cotton exporters (including their congressional patrons), who might have otherwise objected to the loss of their European export markets. In the past, China was happy to leave the burden of promoting security in the Gulf to the United States. That no longer appears to be the case. Over 80 percent of Chinese oil imports travel through the Indian Ocean and are susceptible to U.S. interdiction. To counter this threat, China is hard at work across the Gulf building partnerships as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. To date, China has secured several long-term supply contracts for oil and liquefied natural gas, measures to facilitate greater Chinese trade and investment, and joint ventures between Chinese firms and local companies in both the Gulf and China. Besides creating new markets for Chinese manufactured goods and supplies of energy less vulnerable to a U.S. blockade, China’s budding economic influence in the Gulf may eventually give Beijing leverage to induce oil producers to adopt policies consistent with Chinese strategic objectives. China analysts warn that Beijing is poised, at least for the time being, to expand its political influence in the Gulf, where its state-directed model of economic development, indifference to human rights concerns, and lack of historical baggage make it an appealing partner. Would China use this economic leverage in the Gulf to hurt U.S. allies? In the case of U.S. firms with significant business interests in China, Beijing has demonstrated little hesitation in using economic threats — specifically limiting access to China’s domestic market — to extract political concessions. China did the same to a number of South Korean firms in 2017 following Seoul’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system (THAAD). This pressure, and the complaints of South Korean businesses, likely influenced Seoul’s decision to suspend further deployment of THAAD. As the nations of the Gulf become more dependent on their trade with the Far East, so too will their sensitivity to Chinese pressure grow. This is particularly true of Saudi Arabia, which is partnering with Chinese firms to build downstream (oil refining and marketing) and petrochemical assets in China.

Arms sales encourage Saudi aggression in Yemen and don’t provide the US with influence over Saudi Arabia

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) How should this history inform future U.S. strategy? Whenever the U.S. military presence in the Gulf becomes politically inconvenient, there arises a chorus that the United States can simply substitute arms sales for “boots on the ground”to guarantee regional peace. Recent arms sales to Saudi Arabia (worth as much as $139 billion since 2009) should dispel such notions once and for all, since they have only fueled Riyadh’s bellicosity toward Iran without increasing its sense of security. None of this should have come as a surprise. There is no evidence that arms sales increase a donor’s leverage over their client — in fact, they often do the opposite. The United States should accordingly limit future arms sales in the region to defensive weaponry.

US military presence adequate

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) If the United States cannot outsource regional security to local partners, then the only remaining option is preserving the U.S. military commitment to the region. The current U.S. footprint is relatively small. According to official figures, the total number of active-duty personnel deployed across the Middle East and North Africa (excluding those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and presumably special forces) is less than 10,000, although the figure including reservists, National Guard units, civilians, and contractors is several times greater. Even then, as a fraction of total U.S. active-duty manpower, the figures are trivial. What is not trivial, however, is the sophisticated logistical infrastructure in the region, particularly Naval Support Activity Bahrain (which hosts U.S. Fifth Fleet), and Al Udeid Air Base (CENTCOM’s forward operating base). Besides supporting partner nations and security cooperation initiatives, these assets are capable of supporting a significant infusion of U.S. troops in the event of a crisis.

US Gulf withdrawal causes China fill-in

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019) The fact that the United States is again energy “independent” does not change the underlying rationale for the U.S. presence in the Gulf. The region’s oil remains as vital today as it was after World War II. If we accept the proposition that America’s security is tied to the welfare of its allies and partners, the United States cannot afford to discard the Carter Doctrine, for there is no substitute for the security that U.S. military force provides. If anything, a U.S. withdrawal from the Gulf could encourage China to accelerate the growth of its military capabilities there. U.S. allies such as Japan and South Korea could theoretically redeploy naval assets to the Gulf to protect their oil lifelines, but this would tilt the military balance in the Far East further in China’s favor, thereby undermining the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia. None of this means the United States cannot learn from its recent mistakes. Rather than serving as a justification for U.S. interventionism in other nations’ domestic affairs, a rejuvenated Carter Doctrine should focus on two things. First is the provision of public goods — ensuring the world’s access to oil and natural gas on nondiscriminatory terms. Second is the attainment of negative aims — denying others the ability to influence conditions in the Gulf to the detriment of the United States. And considering the rich array of resources and infrastructure for sustaining U.S. forces that already exists in the region, and the relatively inexpensive cost of maintaining them, transitioning to a “offshore balancing” strategy seems unwise. Such notions come (as Alfred Thayer Mahan warned) “presented in the fascinating garb of cheapness,” but policymakers should be wary. Redeploying U.S. forces and shuttering bases would yield short-term cost savings, but it might be a case of “penny wise, pound foolish” given the enormous cost of reinserting troops and assets during a future crisis in the absence of any existing infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia engaging in systemic human right abuses

Amnesty International, May 14, 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/05/saudi-arabias-year-of-shame-crackdown-on-critics-and-rights-activists-continues/ Saudi Arabia’s ‘year of shame’: Crackdown on critics and rights’ activists continues Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today. Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech. “Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “Then they went on to detain those who still dared to stand up for these women, advocate for women’s rights in the country, or even express any questioning of the authorities’ policies.” Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, Saudi Arabia’s leading women’s rights campaigners, were detained on 15 May 2018 and have been facing trial for their human rights work since March 2019. This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email While Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were amongst seven women provisionally released in the past two months, Loujain al-Hathloul and several other women activists remain in prison. Women human rights defenders, Nassima al-Sada and Samar Badawi, have been detained since July 2018 without charge with tens of other fellow activists. In April 2019, the authorities escalated their crackdown on critics, arbitrarily detaining at least 14 journalists, writers, academics and family members of women’s rights defenders. In November 2018, Amnesty International revealed reports of torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse of at least 10 activists arbitrarily detained since May 2018, which included several women human rights defenders. The organization called on the authorities to allow independent monitors access to detained activists. “This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully,” said Lynn Maalouf. A few months following the wave of arrests targeting women’s rights activists, the Saudi Arabian authorities escalated their crackdown on dissent, as manifested in the Public Prosecution’s calls for the execution of religious clerics and Shi’a activists on trial before the counter-terror court for charges related to exercising their peaceful rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This includes prominent religious cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awda, who was accused of 37 charges, including his affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and calls for government reforms. In late April 2019, the authorities also carried out a mass execution of 37 men, the majority of them from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority and executed after unfair trials. At least 15 men executed last month were sentenced to death based on “confessions” they said were extracted through torture, including a young man who was convicted of a crime that allegedly took place while he was under the age of 18. In 2019 alone, the Saudi authorities have executed at least 110 people.

Saudi Arabia engaging in systemic human rights abuses

Amnesty International, May 14, 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/05/saudi-arabias-year-of-shame-crackdown-on-critics-and-rights-activists-continues/ Saudi Arabia’s ‘year of shame’: Crackdown on critics and rights’ activists continues Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today. Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech. “Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “Then they went on to detain those who still dared to stand up for these women, advocate for women’s rights in the country, or even express any questioning of the authorities’ policies.” Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, Saudi Arabia’s leading women’s rights campaigners, were detained on 15 May 2018 and have been facing trial for their human rights work since March 2019. This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email While Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were amongst seven women provisionally released in the past two months, Loujain al-Hathloul and several other women activists remain in prison. Women human rights defenders, Nassima al-Sada and Samar Badawi, have been detained since July 2018 without charge with tens of other fellow activists. In April 2019, the authorities escalated their crackdown on critics, arbitrarily detaining at least 14 journalists, writers, academics and family members of women’s rights defenders. In November 2018, Amnesty International revealed reports of torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse of at least 10 activists arbitrarily detained since May 2018, which included several women human rights defenders. The organization called on the authorities to allow independent monitors access to detained activists. “This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully,” said Lynn Maalouf. A few months following the wave of arrests targeting women’s rights activists, the Saudi Arabian authorities escalated their crackdown on dissent, as manifested in the Public Prosecution’s calls for the execution of religious clerics and Shi’a activists on trial before the counter-terror court for charges related to exercising their peaceful rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This includes prominent religious cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awda, who was accused of 37 charges, including his affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and calls for government reforms. In late April 2019, the authorities also carried out a mass execution of 37 men, the majority of them from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority and executed after unfair trials. At least 15 men executed last month were sentenced to death based on “confessions” they said were extracted through torture, including a young man who was convicted of a crime that allegedly took place while he was under the age of 18. In 2019 alone, the Saudi authorities have executed at least 110 people.

Arms embargo will change Saudi behavior

Jennifer Spindel is an assistant professor of international security at the University of Oklahoma, and the Associate Director of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center, May 14, 2019, THE CASE FOR SUSPENDING AMERICAN ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-suspending-american-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/ Arms embargos are often dismissed as symbolic, and therefore ineffective. But just because something is symbolic, doesn’t mean that it won’t have an effect. A U.S. arms embargo against Saudi Arabia would be a clear signal of American disproval of Saudi actions in Yemen, and would be an equally important signal to Washington’s allies, who are left wondering if the United States is ambivalent or uninterested in the growing Yemeni humanitarian catastrophe. By continuing to provide weapons, President Donald Trump tacitly endorses Saudi policies. This signal is strengthened by Trump’s recent veto of the resolution that called for an end to U.S. support for the war in Yemen. While Trump justified the veto by saying that the resolution was a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities,” statements from Congressional representatives show they are aware of the powerful signals sent by arms sales. Sen. Tim Kaine said that the veto “shows the world [Trump] is determined to keep aiding a Saudi-backed war that has killed thousands of civilians and pushed millions more to the brink of starvation.” An arms embargo against Saudi Arabia would be a signal both to leaders of that country, and other states, that the United States does not endorse Saudi actions. Those arguing against a ban are correct on one point: Embargos as blunt force instruments of coercion are rarely effective. But arms embargos are effective as signals of political dissatisfaction, and serve an important communication role in international politics. Arms Embargos Are Signals and Can Build Coalitions Policymakers and scholars agree that arms embargoes are not effective “sticks” in international politics. Rarely do states cave when faced with punishment in the form of an embargo. But even if an arms embargo isn’t a direct tool of coercion, an embargo would be an important political signal. There are at least two reasons for the United States to seriously consider an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia. First, arms sales are signals that cut through the noise of the international system. Cutting off arms transfers is a common way that states express their dissatisfaction with others and try to influence behavior. As Lawrence Freedman observed in 1978, “refusing to sell arms is a major political act. It appears as a calculated insult, reflecting on the stability, trust, and credit-worthiness, or technical competence of the would-be recipient.” Yet this crucial point seems to have been lost in the current policy debate about whether or not the United States should continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia. My research shows that stopping arms transfers or denying requests is an effective way to signal dissatisfaction and causes the would-be recipient to re-think their behavior. Take, for example, the U.S. relationship with Israel in the 1960s. The United States sold Israel Hawk surface-to-surface missiles in 1962, M-48 Patton tanks in 1964 and 1965, and A-4E Skyhawk bombers in 1966. Israeli leaders understood that these transfers signaled a close U.S.-Israeli relationship. As diplomat Abba Eban wrote, the arms transfers were “a development of tremendous political value.” Even against this backdrop of close ties and significant arms sales, Israeli leaders were extremely sensitive to arms transfer denials. In April and May 1967, the United States denied Israeli requests for armored personnel carriers and fighter jets. Approving the transfers would have signaled support, and likely emboldened Israel, as tensions were growing in the region. Israeli leaders believed these transfer denials overruled prior signals and demonstrated that the United States was not willing to be a close political ally for Israel. Eban described Israel as “isolated,” and the head of Israel’s intelligence service said that the arms transfer denials made it clear that “in Israel, there existed certain misperceptions [about the United States].” If arms transfer denials could have such a significant effect on Israeli thinking — keeping in mind that there was a close and significant political relationship between the US and Israel — imagine what a transfer denial would mean for U.S.-Saudi relations. Like Israel, Saudi Arabia would have to re-think its impression that it has political support and approval from the United States. We can, and should, ask whether or not withdrawal of U.S. support would affect Saudi behavior, but it’s important that this question not get overlooked in the current debate. Because arms transfers (and denials) are powerful signals, they can have an effect even before a transfer is actually completed. This suggests that even the announcement of an embargo against Saudi Arabia could have an effect. Take, for example, Taiwan’s recent request for a fleet of new fighter jets. As reports mounted that Trump had given “tacit approval” to a deal for F-16 jets, China’s protests increased. The United States has not sold advanced fighter jets to Taiwan since 1992, partially out of fear of angering China, which views Taiwan as a renegade province. Even if the deal for F-16s is formally approved, Taiwan is unlikely to see the jets until at least 2021, and the balance of power between China and Taiwan would not change. As one researcher observed, the sale would be a “huge shock” for Beijing, “But it would be more of a political shock than a military shock. It would be, ‘Oh, the U.S. doesn’t care how we feel.’ It would be more of a symbolic or emotional issue.” Yet China’s immediate, negative reaction to even the announcement of a potential deal shows how powerful arms transfer signals can be.If this same logic is applied to an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, an arms embargo would signal that Saudi Arabia does not have the support of the United States. This signal would be an important first step in changing Saudi behavior because it would override other statements and actions the United States has sent that indicate support. And Trump has given Saudi Arabia a number of positive signals: He called Saudi Arabia a “great ally” and dismissed reports that that the Saudi government was involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He has expressed interested in selling nuclear power plants and technology to Saudi Arabia. And he has repeatedly claimed that he has made a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia (he hasn’t). With these clear signals of support, why should Saudi Arabia alter its behavior based on resolutions that come out of the House or Senate, which are likely to be vetoed by Trump, anyway? An arms embargo would be a clear and unambiguous signal that the United States disproves of Saudi actions in Yemen. The second reason for supporting an embargo concerns U.S. allies and the logistical difficulties of making an embargo have an effect. One of the reasons embargoes have little material impact is because they require cooperation among weapons exporting states. A ban on sales from one country will have little effect if the target of the embargo can seek arms elsewhere. Germany, instituted an arms ban against Riyadh in November 2018, and German leaders have pressured other European states to stop selling arms to the Saudis. Germany understands the importance of the embargo as a political signal: as a representative of the German Green Party explained, “The re-start of arms exports to Saudi Arabia would be a fatal foreign policy signal and would contribute to the continued destabilization of the Middle East.” But the German embargo has had minimal effect because Saudi Arabia can get arms elsewhere. According to the 2019 Military Balance, most of Saudi Arabia’s equipment is American or French in origin, such as the M1A2 Abrams and AMX-30 tanks, Apache and Dauphin helicopters, and F-15C/D fighter jets. Saudi Arabia has some equipment manufactured wholly or in part in Germany, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Tornado ground attack craft, but these weapons are a small portion of its complete arsenal. A U.S. embargo would send an important signal to the allies who also supply Saudi Arabia, allowing them to explain participation in the embargo to their own domestic constituencies. This is especially important for countries like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, that need to export arms to keep their own production lines running. While the research shows that sustaining an arms embargo is often the most difficult step, embargoes can restrain sending states’ arms exports. Even if a U.S. embargo won’t have a direct effect on Saudi Arabia on its own, an embargo is important for building coalitions for a more expansive embargo that could affect Saudi behavior.

Even a delay in switching suppliers means humanitarian aid flows

Jennifer Spindel is an assistant professor of international security at the University of Oklahoma, and the Associate Director of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center, May 14, 2019, THE CASE FOR SUSPENDING AMERICAN ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-suspending-american-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/ Beyond signaling, we know U.S. arms sales often end up in the wrong hands, and have been used in Yemen. The Saudi-led war in Yemen has led to starvation conditions, caused thousands of civilian casualties, and has led to the displacement of millions of people. The United Nations estimates that 80 percent of Yemen’s population – 24 million people – require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, and that the severity of the situation is increasing. Would an arms embargo create meaningful change in Yemen? An initial effect of an embargo is that Saudi Arabia would have to work harder to access war materiel. As Jonathan Caverley noted, more than 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s arms delivered in the past five years came from the United States. Even if this percentages decreases over time, it will be costly for Saudi Arabia to transition to a primarily Russian- or Chinese-supplied military. Though Saudi Arabia might be willing to pay this cost, it would still have to pay, and take the time to transition to its new weapons systems. This would represent a brief break in hostilities that could facilitate the delivery of aid and assistance in Yemen. The United States could, in theory, impose stricter end-user controls on Saudi Arabia. This would have the advantage of keeping Saudi Arabia within the world of U.S. weapons systems, and might prevent it from diversifying its suppliers, which would ultimately weaken any leverage the United States might have. Longer-term, it would not be to America’s advantage if Saudi Arabia takes a lesson from Turkey, and starts courting Russia as a new arms supplier. It is difficult to enforce end-user controls, since, once a weapon is transferred, the recipient can use it however it wishes. It might also be the case that Saudi Arabia would object to stricter end-user controls, and would seek new suppliers as a result. An arms embargo will not be a panacea. But not doing something sets a problematic precedent, and allows the difficulty of coordinating an arms embargo outweigh the potential benefits of one. An embargo is unlikely to have an immediate effect on Saudi behavior, because an embargo would be a political signal, rather than a blunt instrument of coercion. It will take time for a multilateral embargo to emerge and be put into place, and the United States should work with its allies to help support their ability to participate in the embargo. Not acting, however, would continue to implicitly endorse Saudi behavior, and would make it more difficult for U.S. allies to believe that future threats of an embargo are credible.

France won’t sell weapons to Saudi Arabia

NRT, May 10, 2019, http://www.nrttv.com/en/News.aspx?id=12388&MapID=3, AMID OUTCRY OVER YEMEN WAR, SAUDI SHIP LEAVES FRANCE WITHOUT ARMS CARGO SULAIMANI — A Saudi vessel that had been due to load weapons at a northern French port on Friday (May 10) set sail without them and headed for Spain, a day after a rights group tried to block the cargo on humanitarian grounds. French rights group ACAT argued in a legal challenge on Thursday that the consignment contravened a UN treaty because the arms might be used against civilians in Yemen, according to Reuters. A French judge threw out that legal challenge but the Bahri-Yanbu set course for Santander shortly after minus the weapons, officials said and ship-tracking data showed. The saga is an embarrassment for President Emmanuel Macron, who on Thursday defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh leads the pro-government military coalition in the four-year civil war that has devastated Yemen, killed tens of thousands and left much of the population on the brink of famine.

60-80,000 dead, 14 million at-risk

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this/ Between 60,000 and 80,000 innocents have died in the Saudi-led war in Yemen that began in 2015. And another 14 million Yemenis are at risk of death from disease and starvation caused by the destruction of infrastructure and a blockade-induced famine….A ccording to the Yemen Data Project, a nonprofit run by academics and human rights advocates, nearly one third of all coalition airstrikes between March 2015 and March 2018 hit civilian targets. These included schools, neighborhoods, mosques, hospitals, food stores, farms, markets, electric grids, and water supplies. For instance, in October 2016, the U.S.-backed coalition bombed a funeral home, killing 155, and in August 2018, a school bus was attacked, killing 40 children and 11 adults. Both strikes used American-made bombs. The resulting conditions for Yemeni civilians have been catastrophic. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, about three million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes and are displaced. Furthermore, a little over a million have suffered from an ongoing cholera epidemic.

Yemen conflict increase anti-American sentiment and bogs down the US

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this There are no major U.S. interests at stake in Yemen. The sheer number of civilian casualties is unjustified, and will only spawn more anti-American sentiment, especially in the Muslim world. Moreover, we cannot be prepares for renewed great power competition if we keep getting bogged down in endless conflicts with minor powers and regional actors in the Middle East.

US support for Saudi Arabia has not reduced civilian casualties

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this As much as Washington might like to think its vast arms sales, intelligence sharing, pressure, and longstanding friendship with Riyadh would make a difference in sparing civilian casualties, it hasn’t. As a policy paper published by Defense Priorities points out: “U.S. aerial refueling allows pilots to stay aloft longer and practice ‘dynamic targeting,’ where they hunt for targets of opportunity and likely increase civilian casualties.” If America instead withdrew its full support, including providing spare parts, the Saudi war effort would ground to a halt. Yemen needs humanitarian aid and peace not more bombs. As that paper summarized, “There is no compromise between U.S. security and values there—we are losing on both counts.” Air strikes increase terror recruiting John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this Although both sides of the Yemeni war have committed atrocities, U.S. involvement has only increased the regional harm and chaos. As Yemen spins out of control, anti-American sentiment rises, and every airstrike on civilians and vital facilities becomes a potential recruitment tool for terrorists.

Maintenance is a part of Direct Commercial Sales

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] I focused my conversations with former U.S. officials and other experts on the following set of options: Bar future foreign military sales(FMS) relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., precision-guided munitions) Suspend existing Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) licenses relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., for maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft)

Cutting spare parts means no war

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] It is important to separate option 1 (includes blocking future arm sales) and option 2 (includes suspending maintenance and logistics for existing weapons systems), because the latter may have more immediate effects on Saudi offensive military operations in Yemen. In short, Riyadh would have no readily available substitute for maintaining and servicing existing American weapons systems. On Fox News Sunday, Senator Rand Paul said, “We have incredible leverage. … They can’t last a couple of months without parts and mechanics to help them run their air force.” National Review’s David French wrote: “American F-15s comprise close to half the Saudi fighter force, and the Saudi variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle represents a substantial portion of the air force’s striking power….They can’t just waltz over to a different country and transform their armed forces — not without suffering enormous setbacks in readiness and effectiveness during a years-long transition. A fundamental reality of arms deals is that a major arms purchase essentially locks the purchasing nation in a dependent posture for training, spare parts, and technical upgrades.” Threatening support for Saudi Arabia’s war machine can serve a variety of purposes.

Should condition sales on MBS stepping down

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] First, such levers present a potentially significant stick and carrot for achieving policy goals that are broader than the Yemen war. As Senator Macro Rubio stated earlier this month on CNN’s State of the Union, “Arm sales are important, not because of the money, but because it also provides leverage over their future behavior….They will need our spare parts. They will need our training. And those are things we can use to influence their behavior.” Options 1-3 can also help curtail Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s misadventures, if not his leadership of the Saudi government itself. Bruce Riedel, who served as senior adviser on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents, explained in a recent essay, “Responsibility for the war is on Mohammed bin Salman, who as defense minister has driven Riyadh into this quagmire. Shaking the arms relationship is by far the most important way to clip his wings.” A former Obama official said as well, “The message needs to be that the relationship is being frozen unless MBS moves aside. What Yemen and the Gulf crisis and Khashoggi affair have clarified is that MBS has allows personal pique and vendettas to override any impulse to reform. He has made the region an even more dangerous place, and, left to his own devices, is very likely to drag us into regional conflict. So I would pursue 4 and 2, with the former underscoring our message that MBS needs to step aside, and the latter grounding their Air Force, to both add internal pressure on MBS and to pressure the Saudis to negotiate a resolution to Yemen.” Options 1-3 can, indeed, serve purposes specific to the Yemen War, including distancing the United States from support for Saudi crimes and encouraging the Saudis and United Arab Emirates to finally bring the war to a close through political negotiations. In a New Yorker Radio Hour interview with David Remnick back in March, Riedel explained, “The United States is not a direct party to the war, but we are an enabler of the war. If the United States decided today that it was going to cut off supplies, spare parts, munitions, intelligence, and everything else to the Royal Saudi Airforce, it would be grounded tomorrow.” [1-3Bar future foreign military sales(FMS) relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., precision-guided munitions) Suspend existing Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) licenses relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., for maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft) Bar appropriations for in-flight refuelingof Saudi aircraft conducting missions in Yemen]

Sales of defensive weapons systems like THAAD should continue

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] This list does not include suspending U.S. support for defensive weapons systems, and none of the experts suggested placing such support on the list. One former official who supported measures to suspend arms sales specially highlighted the importance of maintaining U.S. support for defensive systems to protect Saudi Arabia from threats coming over its border from Houthi militants. “We should not suspend THAAD or sale of other weapons necessary to defend the KSA from missile/rocket attacks. And we should send a strong signal to Iran that any effort to exploit this moment will be met with a harsh response,” the former official said.

Certification is meaningless. Trump will always certify

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] One recurring theme involved concerns about predicating any approach on executive branch certification, such as the State Department’s determination that Saudi Arabia met specified conditions. A former senior official told me, “I don’t like any approach that involves certification requirements, because this administration has shown it’s prepared to certify just about anything (other than the manifest Iranian compliance with the JCPOA).”

Conditions counterplan

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian One former senior official suggested tying arm sales to different sets of purposes, “I think Cogress should pause all FMS and end other support to the Saudi campaign in Yemen. Resumption of arms sales should be conditioned on Riyadh agreeing to a fully transparent international investigation into the Khashoggi incident, regular intelligence community assessments of Saudi efforts to reduce civilian casualties in Yemen, and a report from the administration outlining their strategy for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and producing a peaceful settlement.

Eliminating US support for the war forces Yemen to negotiate to end the war

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] Jeffrey Prescott, who served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States on the National Security Council and now a strategic consultant to the Penn Biden Center expressed a similar perspective, “My view is that the callous murder of Mr. Khashoggi — and the Trump administration’s clear impulse to sweep it under the rug — demonstrates how far the relationship with Saudi Arabia has gotten off track, and the need for serious consequences. As a start, we could use this moment to extricate ourselves from military involvement in the disastrous war in Yemen, a step that is long overdue. Ideally we would simultaneously help push for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict – necessary, not easy, and very unlikely given how little effort the Trump administration has put into serious diplomacy. But washing our hands of involvement in the war, even in the absence of a US diplomatic push, will still put pressure on UAE and Saudi to end the conflict.”

Conditioning sales will get the Saudis to end the war

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/, Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.] Professor Mohamad Bazzi, who is writing a book on proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran, had a similar assessment of the effectiveness of suspending US military support as a means to effectuate a resolution to the conflict. Bazzi told me, “Together, actions 1, 2, and 3 (likely in that order of effectiveness) would go significantly beyond the Obama administration’s freeze on the sale of precision-guided munitions to Riyadh in late 2016. They would signal to the Saudis and Emiratis that US military assistance will now truly become contingent on progress in political negotiations. I suspect that’s the only way Saudi and UAE leaders can be convinced to pursue a political settlement, which the Trump administration agrees (at least rhetorically) is the path to ending this war.”

Saudi Arabia is 18% of US weapons exports

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East There are only two exceptions to the increase of weapons acquisition in the Middle East. First is Syria which saw an 87% drop and then Iran, which accounts for just under 1% of weapon imports (0.9%). To lend some perspective, nearly half of the entire U.S. market for weapons goes to the Middle East. The largest client by far is Saudi Arabia. They are the purchasers of 18% of total U.S. weapon sales.

Weapons sold to Saudi Arabia end up in the hands of ISIS

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates funnel money and new U.S. arms to fight the Iranian backed troops. Those weapons are resold to ISIS, which is also fighting the Houthi. The weapons are fungible and so yes, ISIS, the arch enemy of the United States receives U.S. made and legally purchased weapons through this market. And those U.S. weapons are being used to kill United States soldiers and U.S. allies.

Withdrawal now means the Houthis win, need to keep with the Saudis to finish the war and secure peace

Michael Knights, Kenneth M. Pollack, and Barbara F. Walter, May 2, 2019, ForeignAffairs, A Real Plan to End the War in Yemen, MICHAEL KNIGHTS is the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. KENNETH M. POLLACK is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.BARBARA F. WALTER is Professor of Political Science at the University of California–San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. A degree of normalcy has returned to Yemen’s biggest seaport, Hodeidah, thanks to a cease-fire among the country’s warring factions that has held since December 2018. But beyond the port’s outskirts, a vicious fight between Houthi insurgents and a Saudi-led military coalition rages on. The death toll keeps climbing; malnutrition and hunger are rampant. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, the United Nations warned in February, is the worst in the world today. In Washington, a growing chorus of analysts and politicians has called on the United States to step up, withdraw U.S. support for the Saudi war effort, and turn the UN-brokered cease-fire into a lasting peace. Doing so, they argue, is the only morally and strategically defensible course of action. But of all the options before the United States, this one is the least likely to stop the killing, the dying, and the complications for U.S. interests. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. Email The Saudi-led intervention may have exacerbated the situation in Yemen, but it did not start the war. Getting the Saudis to pull out will no more end the bloodshed in Yemen than getting the United States to abstain from the civil war in Syria halted the violence there. Nor will a Saudi withdrawal lead to a negotiated settlement. Instead, the fighting will go on, and innocent Yemenis will continue to die until one side—most likely the Houthis—have won. True peace in Yemen will remain elusive unless both sides accept that they have nothing to gain from more fighting. We are not there yet. To get there will require not cutting off U.S. support for Saudi Arabia but threatening to double down on it unless the Houthis honor their commitments to the UN and are ready to disgorge most of their initial conquests. If Washington is serious about ending the war, it must come to terms with this uncomfortable fact. Abduljabbar Zeyad / REUTERS The site of a Saudi-led air strike in the city of Hodeidah, September 2016 HOW IT ENDS Historically, civil wars like Yemen’s end either when one side wins a decisive military victory or a third party negotiates a settlement among the warring factions. In the Middle East, the former option—letting the fighting run its course—often means accepting horrific bloodshed and ethnic cleansing. Examples abound: the leveling of Hama, Syria’s onetime opposition stronghold, in 1982, or Saddam Hussein’s systematic mass murder of Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s, or his violent suppression of a nationwide rebellion in 1991. Those “victories” ended the conflicts swiftly and surely, but at the cost of tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. A negotiated settlement can end a war earlier and thus with less bloodshed. But combatants generally don’t agree to such settlements until they have reached a military stalemate such that all sides are convinced they cannot win a military victory. Even then, the warring parties need to know that they can disarm without being slaughtered—a condition that can sometimes be met only with an outside peacekeeping commitment for a decade or more. And once the parties have come to the table, any successful negotiated settlement will have to include a power-sharing arrangement that grants all factions political power and economic benefits roughly commensurate with their demographic weight (adjusted for military realities). In the case of Yemen, withdrawing U.S. support—which has largely consisted of intelligence and logistical assistance—from the Saudis will hinder the coalition’s war effort and embolden the Houthis and their Iranian supporters, making them much less likely to accept a nationwide cease-fire and a power-sharing agreement. In fact, U.S. congressional criticism of the Saudis has already encouraged the Houthis who, far from giving up, appear determined to fight on. Since the UN brokered a cease-fire for the strategically important, Houthi-held port of Hodeidah in December, the Houthis have energetically fortified their positions in the city, in direct violation of the agreement’s terms. In fact, the Houthis have defaulted on one withdrawal deadline after another—first in early January, then in mid-February, thereby reneging on explicit commitments to the UN. Houthi fighters at Hodeidah, April 2017 Khaled Abdullah / REUTERS Houthi fighters at Hodeidah, April 2017 UN negotiators are now trying to implement a third plan to move Houthi forces out of Hodeidah and other Red Sea ports, and for both sides to then pull back from the frontlines in Hodeidah city. But unless the Houthis are given a powerful incentive to step back, there is little reason to expect they will do so. Rather than produce a stalemate, cutting U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition might enable the Houthis to win a military victory, much like the one the Assad regime, Iran, and Russia are slowly achieving in Syria. This outcome is hardly desirable. The Houthis are anti-American, anti-Semitic, and increasingly anti-Sunni. In fact, Houthis, who are of Zaydi Shiite faith, are just one clan of hundreds in the country. There is no historical or popular basis for the Houthis to rule the capital, Sanaa, or the ports. As a result, a post-conflict Yemen under Houthi rule would likely require considerable repression to hold it in place. U.S. members of Congress may not like the civil war or the Saudi intervention, and critics rightly blame that intervention for increasing the Houthis’ dependence on Iran, thus strengthening Tehran’s influence in the country. But that influence is now a reality. The Houthis have already fired Iranian missiles at Riyadh and at ships (including U.S. military vessels) in the Bab el-Mandeb, the vital shipping lane connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. A bloody end to the civil war that leaves the Houthis victorious and beholden to Iran would only further undermine the United States’ interests and terrify its allies in the region. U.S. congressional criticism of the Saudis has encouraged the Houthis who, far from giving up, appear determined to fight on. The status quo, however, is not acceptable from a humanitarian perspective. The partial cease-fire met with a collective international sigh of relief, with observers hoping that Hodeidah could once again serve as a lifeline to the war-ravaged country. But only 619,085 tons of food were shipped in during the first quarter of 2019—a far cry from the 1.7 million tons of food that moved through the port during the same period in 2016, according to the World Food Program. Commercial food shippers will not return until the long-term status of Hodeidah and other Red Sea ports is settled, the Yemeni currency has stabilized, and household purchasing power is restored by the resumption of government payroll. As a result, the risk of famine still looms large. The hard truth is that the cease-fire in Hodeidah came about only because of military pressure from the Saudi-led coalition. The prospect of a Saudi assault on Hodeidah forced the Houthis to choose between making a deal while they still held onto the city, and could use it as a bargaining chip, or doing so later, after they might have lost it and had much less leverage. Now that there is a cease-fire, the Houthis are no longer under such pressure to follow through with a more comprehensive peace deal. They know that making a deal will only diminish their power, whereas a military victory would enhance it. The United Nations and the international community, for their part, have failed to replace the military pressure on the Houthis with countervailing diplomatic pressure. What remains is best described as peace theater: an illusion of progress that offers a welcome breather from full-on warfare in Hodeidah while leaving the underlying crisis in place. THE LEAST WORST CHOICE So what can the United States do to stop the fighting? The history of civil war, in Yemen and elsewhere, suggests a counterintuitive approach: increase U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition, enable it to capture Hodeidah, and then use the resulting leverage to force both sides to end the fighting and sign a power-sharing agreement. Not only is this scenario plausible but it is probably the only near-term solution that could end the civil war, stop the killing, and remove both the Saudi and Iranian presence. A coalition victory in Hodeidah is difficult but achievable. The government forces assembled outside the city have racked up numerous military successes, thanks to heavy support from the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, a much smaller force of Yemeni and UAE soldiers captured Aden, a city far larger than Hodeidah. The UAE and tribal forces marched into Mukalla, another large port city, the following year. Emirati soldiers flying over the Yemeni desert, September 2015 Noah Browning / REUTERS Emirati soldiers flying over the Yemeni desert, September 2015 Since then, the UAE and its allies have only grown more experienced. In the intense street fighting that took place in Hodeidah just before the cease-fire, the coalition liberated three square miles of the 17-square-mile city space in just over a week, using precise, small-warhead munitions to neutralize Houthi snipers in residential areas. Victory in Hodeidah would allow the Saudis and Emiratis to signal to their regional rival, Iran, and to their own people that they are strong and should not be provoked. Meanwhile, losing the city should convince the Houthis that they cannot win, and that if they persist, they might lose their hold on Sanaa and other territory they have captured since 2014. And the fact that Iran will probably encourage the Houthis to keep fighting a lost battle should help them understand that Tehran’s interests are not their own. Losing the city should convince the Houthis that they cannot win. The United States would not be favoring the Saudi-led coalition by backing this strategy. If anything, the United States would gain leverage over the coalition by setting the conditions under which it would acquiesce to a renewed offensive on Hodeidah or supply intelligence support. In return for Washington’s help, the coalition would have to accept a realistic peace plan—one that accommodates Houthi demands for internal redistricting, sets forth a process for forming a new government with proper power-sharing arrangements, and perhaps stipulates a change in leadership on the government side. The Houthis, for their part, would need to evict Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah military advisers and admit a third-party peacekeeping force to secure key locations such as ports. Such a force could consist of European, Arab, and African troops, perhaps under the leadership of NATO, the Arab League, or even the United States. A negotiated settlement would be the best—or least bad—outcome to the brutal war in Yemen. And a renewed offensive on Hodeidah would pave the way for its enactment. The Houthis would be most receptive to a generous offer after losing the city. As for the Saudis, Washington could warn them that if they obstruct the peace process, the United States will suspend any and all military aid—not just to their Yemen operations. That ultimatum ought to convince them to quit while they are ahead, not least because their operation in Yemen has bogged down and is provoking much ill will internationally. A military victory at Hodeidah would give Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the fig leaf he needs to declare victory and go home. The approach comes tried and tested. It parallels the strategy that U.S. diplomats employed to end the Bosnian civil war in 1995. The United States helped the Croat and Bosniak Muslim militaries smash the Bosnian Serb forces and take roughly half of their territory. Then, during peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke offered both sides a power-sharing agreement. The Serbs grudgingly accepted, realizing that to decline it would mean losing what remained of their territory to the U.S.-backed enemy. The Croats and Bosniaks gave in even more grudgingly, because Holbrooke threatened to withdraw U.S. support if they didn’t. Holbrooke’s playbook would serve the United States just as well in Yemen today. GET REAL U.S. interests and values both demand an end to the war in Yemen. The conflict threatens to tip the country into famine. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the chaos of war to avoid the full force of joint U.S.-UAE-Yemeni counterterrorism efforts. Saudi Arabia and the UAE face catastrophic diplomatic, economic, and reputational harm. Only Iran benefits from prolonging this dirty war. But bringing an end to the fighting calls for making hard choices that can actually succeed, not easy ones that likely won’t. If the battle lines stay where they are now, the Houthis will effectively have won the war, having gained both Yemen’s capital and its largest port. If the coalition retakes Hodeidah, by contrast, it can afford to end the war while the Houthis’ control of Sanaa will leave them with some bargaining power. What Yemen needs now is tougher U.S., European, and UN diplomacy, backed by reinvigorated military pressure. Only then will both warring parties understand that if they keep on fighting, they can only lose.

Yemen war will kill a quarter million by 2020 

Bel Tew, May 1, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-death-toll-un-houthi-gulf-saudi-arabia-arms-a8892926.html Yemen war dead could hit 233,000 by 2020 in what UN calls ‘humanity’s greatest preventable disaster’ The death toll from a devastating war in Yemen could soar to nearly a quarter of a million by the end of 2019, the United Nations (UN) has warned, calling the conflict one of the “greatest preventable disasters facing humanity”. In a 60-page report, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said the fighting between the Gulf-backed Yemen government and the Houthi rebels could also set the country back a generation in terms of development. It warned that if a proper ceasefire is not brokered by the end of the year, the total number of dead could rise to 233,000, with 60 per cent of the deceased being children under the age of five. The UN’s projected count includes 102,000 killed in combat and 131,000 who will die due to a lack of food, health services and infrastructure in the war. It represents a significant increase on the latest death toll, compiled by global mapping group the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (Acled), which said last week 70,000 people have died in the war since 2016. British parliamentarians, meanwhile, urged the UK to halt weapons sales to a Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country, fearing it was contributing to the humanitarian crisis and numbers of deaths. “The current conflict in Yemen is one of the greatest preventable disasters facing humanity,” the damning UNDP report said. “If that war continues it will continue to disproportionately kill children, mostly due to a lack of access to food, health services and infrastructure. It is already placed among some of the worst conflicts since the end of the Cold War.” Yemen has been ripped apart by a devastating conflict since the Iran-backed Houthis took control of the country in late 2014, ousting recognised President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners, including the UAE, launched a bombing campaign in March 2015 to reinstate their ally Hadi. Read more Hundreds killed and injured by Houthi landmines in Yemen Four years on there is little hope to an end to the fighting, which has sparked what the UN has previously termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Over 24 million people, or 80 per cent of the country, now rely on humanitarian aid, and more than 13 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN. Peace negotiations are currently centred on a tense UN-brokered truce in the port city of Hodeidah, which is the main entry point for humanitarian aid and commercial imports. The UN is trying to get both sides to pull troops out of the flashpoint city but the process has stalled, with both sides blaming each other for lack of progress. Fighting still rages in the southwestern province of Taiz. UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt hosted Saudi and UAE ministers in London last week in a last-ditch attempt to hammer out peace terms. Ahead of the meeting he had highlighted the plight of children in Yemen, saying on Twitter that more than 100 children die a day from extreme hunger. Read more Trump vetoes bill ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen At least 14 children killed in blast at school in Yemen Pope blames Europe and US for deaths of children in Middle East House votes to end US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Seven killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike on hospital in Yemen However, the UK government has faced mounting criticism for its continued support for Saudi Arabia, which has spearheaded the devastating bombing campaign in Yemen. Since the coalition began its aerial campaign in Yemen in March 2015, the UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of weapons sales to Riyadh. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kempton, said the UK must immediately cease weapons and personnel support to the kingdom because of the mounting death toll highlighted in the UN report. “UK bombs routinely targeting civilian targets in Yemen are clearly not enough to shame the government into obeying UK arms export control law and suspending sales to Saudi Arabia,” he told The Independent. “I have no faith that the government will stop unless the Court of Appeal compels them to do so,” he added. The leaders of five opposition parties, including Labour, have called on the UK government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Yemen war will kill a quarter million by 2020

Bel Tew, May 1, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-death-toll-un-houthi-gulf-saudi-arabia-arms-a8892926.html Yemen war dead could hit 233,000 by 2020 in what UN calls ‘humanity’s greatest preventable disaster’ The death toll from a devastating war in Yemen could soar to nearly a quarter of a million by the end of 2019, the United Nations (UN) has warned, calling the conflict one of the “greatest preventable disasters facing humanity”. In a 60-page report, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said the fighting between the Gulf-backed Yemen government and the Houthi rebels could also set the country back a generation in terms of development. It warned that if a proper ceasefire is not brokered by the end of the year, the total number of dead could rise to 233,000, with 60 per cent of the deceased being children under the age of five. The UN’s projected count includes 102,000 killed in combat and 131,000 who will die due to a lack of food, health services and infrastructure in the war. It represents a significant increase on the latest death toll, compiled by global mapping group the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (Acled), which said last week 70,000 people have died in the war since 2016. British parliamentarians, meanwhile, urged the UK to halt weapons sales to a Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country, fearing it was contributing to the humanitarian crisis and numbers of deaths. “The current conflict in Yemen is one of the greatest preventable disasters facing humanity,” the damning UNDP report said. “If that war continues it will continue to disproportionately kill children, mostly due to a lack of access to food, health services and infrastructure. It is already placed among some of the worst conflicts since the end of the Cold War.” Yemen has been ripped apart by a devastating conflict since the Iran-backed Houthis took control of the country in late 2014, ousting recognised President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners, including the UAE, launched a bombing campaign in March 2015 to reinstate their ally Hadi. Read more Hundreds killed and injured by Houthi landmines in Yemen Four years on there is little hope to an end to the fighting, which has sparked what the UN has previously termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Over 24 million people, or 80 per cent of the country, now rely on humanitarian aid, and more than 13 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN. Peace negotiations are currently centred on a tense UN-brokered truce in the port city of Hodeidah, which is the main entry point for humanitarian aid and commercial imports. The UN is trying to get both sides to pull troops out of the flashpoint city but the process has stalled, with both sides blaming each other for lack of progress. Fighting still rages in the southwestern province of Taiz. UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt hosted Saudi and UAE ministers in London last week in a last-ditch attempt to hammer out peace terms. Ahead of the meeting he had highlighted the plight of children in Yemen, saying on Twitter that more than 100 children die a day from extreme hunger. Read more Trump vetoes bill ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen At least 14 children killed in blast at school in Yemen Pope blames Europe and US for deaths of children in Middle East House votes to end US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Seven killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike on hospital in Yemen However, the UK government has faced mounting criticism for its continued support for Saudi Arabia, which has spearheaded the devastating bombing campaign in Yemen. Since the coalition began its aerial campaign in Yemen in March 2015, the UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of weapons sales to Riyadh. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kempton, said the UK must immediately cease weapons and personnel support to the kingdom because of the mounting death toll highlighted in the UN report. “UK bombs routinely targeting civilian targets in Yemen are clearly not enough to shame the government into obeying UK arms export control law and suspending sales to Saudi Arabia,” he told The Independent. “I have no faith that the government will stop unless the Court of Appeal compels them to do so,” he added. The leaders of five opposition parties, including Labour, have called on the UK government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis will not attack Saudi Arabia if the US stops the war

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog, 4-29, 2019, https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2019/04/29/pompeos-risible-yemen-lies/ Pompe’s Yemen Lies The earlier administration line was that the US was helping the Saudis to defend themselves, and now they are expanding on that misleading claim by saying that it has something to do with defending Americans that happen to be traveling in Saudi Arabia. The US is obviously not obliged to assist governments that start a war against their neighbor just because retaliatory strikes could potentially put Americans at risk. If the danger is so great, the responsible thing would be to advise US citizens to avoid those countries if at all possible. The more important point is that Pompeo’s argument is circular: he insists that we should keep backing a war that actually creates the threat that he claims to be guarding against. If not for the Saudi coalition bombing campaign against Yemen’s cities and villages, there would be no missile attacks on Riyadh or anywhere else. It is disingenuous at best to suggest that US support for Saudi and Emirati aggression in Yemen is intended to protect American citizens when there would no threat to them or Saudi Arabia if the bombing campaign halted. There is no legitimate reason to be supporting the Saudi coalition war, and so administration officials have to scramble to come up with weak excuses that fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.

Turn—the war weakens Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis Iran

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog, 4-29, 2019, https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2019/04/29/pompeos-risible-yemen-lies/ Pompe’s Yemen Lies War supporters frequently accuse their domestic opponents of encouraging and helping adversaries to deflect attention from the war’s costs and their own failures. It is always a scurrilous lie, and this case is no different. The Saudi coalition war on Yemen has done nothing to hurt Iran, not least because Iran’s involvement is still quite limited. Nothing could please Iranian hard-liners more than keeping the Saudis and Emiratis bogged down in an unwinnable war in Yemen for years, and the Trump administration’s determination to encourage the Saudis and Emiratis in their destructive folly is one of the many gifts that they have given to those hard-liners. They would not have found the passage of S.J.Res. 7 to be welcome news, because it showed that US support for the war might be waning and the coalition might not be able to count on American backing indefinitely. Continuing the war is a disaster for Yemen and its people, but it is also a significant drain on Saudi and Emirati resources and an ongoing embarrassment to both governments. The sooner that the US convinces the Saudis and Emiratis to give up on their failed war, the better it will be for them. By indulging the Saudi coalition in their worst instincts and supporting them unconditionally, the Trump administration is encouraging them to keep fighting a costly war that they won’t win.

Congress opposes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Allan, 4-25, 19, Elizabeth Allan is a first-year student at Yale Law School. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Arabic from the University of Georgia and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She has also worked as a consultant in the Middle East and West Africa, The Yemen Resolution and the Historical U.S.-Saudi Security Relationship, https://www.lawfareblog.com/yemen-resolution-and-historical-us-saudi-security-relationship In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, under the command of Defense Minister (now Crown Prince) Mohammed Bin Salman, launched a military intervention in Yemen’s civil war on behalf of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and against the Iranian-affiliated Houthis. This intervention (and its devastating humanitarian impact) provoked congressional scrutiny of the U.S. security relationship with Saudi Arabia. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 intensified congressional concerns. In opposing U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, Congress utilized many of the legislative tools previously used to influence the U.S.-Saudi security relationship. In 2016, Congress invoked its authority under AECA 36(b) to introduce joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 39 and H.J. Res. 98) blocking the $1.15 billion sale of Abrams tanks, largely over concerns about the use of U.S. military equipment in the Yemen conflict. (Neither resolution advanced out of committee.) Similarly, in 2017, Congress introduced joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 42 and H.J. Res. 102) against the commercial sale of precision guided munitions (PGMs) under AECA 36(c). During floor consideration (which ultimately resulted in the resolution not advancing), senators weighed Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the humanitarian situation in Yemen against the need to counter Iranian influence in Yemen. In part due to congressional pressure, the Obama administration suspended a planned $390 million sale of PGMs and certain intelligence-sharing activities in December 2016. These were subsequently resumed by the Trump administration. Congress has also sought to limit foreign military assistance. The 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibited the provision of IMET assistance to Saudi Arabia with no provisions for a presidential waiver. Beginning in 2017, congressional opposition began targeting direct U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition under the War Powers Resolution, an angle not previously adopted in the U.S.-Saudi security context. As discussed previously on Lawfare, the Yemen Resolution vetoed by President Trump on April 16 was the culmination of these efforts and sought to remove U.S. forces from “hostilities” in or affecting Yemen, except those targeting al-Qaeda. Although this resolution did not pass, several other proposals seek broader limitations on U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. For example, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019 (S. 398) calls for the suspension of all arms sales to Saudi Arabia as part of a suite of proposed sanctions and accountability measures. Similarly, H.R. 643 prohibits all security assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if any of these bills will progress beyond their current form or if any of their provisions will find their way into appropriations legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act.  

Breaking ties will disrupt global energy markets and threaten the US economically

Dennis Ross, May 1, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-05-01/the-u-s-and-saudi-arabia-can-t-get-a-divorce, The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Can’t Get a Divorce Historically, presidents — Democrats and Republicans alike — have turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s repressive domestic policies, in return for guarantees of a stable oil market. Two things are different today. First, in Congress there is a broad consensus that the Saudis crossed the line and that the administration’s protecting them is simply wrong. Second, the U.S. is increasingly energy-independent and buys little Saudi oil — making many on Capitol Hill believe our stakes in the Saudis are far lower than before. Leaving aside the reality that there is one pool of energy worldwide, and that a major disruption of oil because of threats or instability in Saudi Arabia would result in the price skyrocketing for Americans and everyone else, there is another countervailing factor in the interests-values continuum with the kingdom that needs to be considered. Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a fundamental transformation of its society and of the sources of the regime’s legitimacy. True, the monarchy retains all political power, but nationalism and modernization are replacing Wahhabism, a rigid, intolerant interpretation of Islam that fueled al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the recent Sri Lanka church bombings. It is the doctrine that the U.S. and its allies have been fighting around the globe. The driver of change is Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He is conducting a revolution from above that is discrediting radical Islamist ideology, including the removal of several thousand clerics and dozens of judges deemed to be sympathetic to Qaeda. The social changes emerging in Saudi Arabia are visible to any visitor — go into any restaurant and see men and women mixing; visit businesses or governmental offices and women are prominent; cinemas are opening; music, forbidden in the strict Wahhabi code, is now played not just privately but in concerts drawing thousands. Even the royal palaces now have women’s restrooms. None of this was thinkable in the past. Unfortunately, the authoritarianism, the public beheadings, the crackdown on dissent — including the arrests and possibly torture of women activists — also offend our values. Many thoughtful American critics of Saudi policy argue that we must shun the crown prince and reject as a fanciful notion the idea that he is a modernizing dictator. Having just returned from Saudi Arabia, I am struck by what feels like two totally different universes. The enthusiasm for the crown prince continues to be real, especially among young people who now can talk openly about their ability to shape their destinies and the destiny of the country. Yet the Saudis I talked to — young and old — deeply resent the congressional criticism of the crown prince and feel that if Saudi Arabia is shunned by the U.S., the kingdom will shun the U.S. in return. With nationalism now a pillar of regime support, we should not be surprised by such a backlash. They may mean it, but is it realistic? Saudi weapons, military infrastructure and training are all dependent on U.S. military support. The kingdom’s investment holdings in the U.S. exceed $800 billion. The vast majority of the 190,000 students and family members sent abroad are in the U.S., and return with instinctive attachments to America. And, case in point, most the kingdom’s 30-plus cabinet ministers graduated from American universities. They may be angry about the criticism, but their natural affinity is to the U.S. By the same token, how easy would it be for the U.S. to truly shun Saudi Arabia? Even if Americans were to downplay the security implications, which they should not, are they ready to have the Saudis stop insisting that all transactions in oil be done in dollars? How long would 70 percent of all global trade be done in dollars if that were to change? With neither side having a national interest in shunning the other, the issue is how each will now manage the relationship. The Trump administration needs to be honest with Congress and the Saudis: We will remain committed to Saudi security and to investing in the kingdom’s effort to transform the country, even as we make clear we will criticize what we believe is wrong. Killing dissidents and defying global norms has consequences. Disallowing domestic criticism will undermine the aims of building a knowledge-based economy and a risk-taking, entrepreneurial society. Countering Iranian and Sunni Islamist radicals is essential, but needs to be coordinated to avoid ill-considered, reckless policies. Washington will need help from the Saudis, with the crown prince repeating his words that the Khashoggi murder was a “heinous crime,” and explaining the lessons learned and structural changes made because of it. The Saudis should also seek a quiet discussion with congressional leaders to hear their criticisms, respond to them and voice their own. The Las Vegas rules don’t apply to the Middle East: What happens there does not stay there. And, like it or not, policies of the Saudis will have a huge effect on what takes shape in the Middle East. America can’t write them off.

Congress opposes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Allan, 4-25, 19, Elizabeth Allan is a first-year student at Yale Law School. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Arabic from the University of Georgia and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She has also worked as a consultant in the Middle East and West Africa, The Yemen Resolution and the Historical U.S.-Saudi Security Relationship, https://www.lawfareblog.com/yemen-resolution-and-historical-us-saudi-security-relationship In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, under the command of Defense Minister (now Crown Prince) Mohammed Bin Salman, launched a military intervention in Yemen’s civil war on behalf of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and against the Iranian-affiliated Houthis. This intervention (and its devastating humanitarian impact) provoked congressional scrutiny of the U.S. security relationship with Saudi Arabia. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 intensified congressional concerns. In opposing U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, Congress utilized many of the legislative tools previously used to influence the U.S.-Saudi security relationship. In 2016, Congress invoked its authority under AECA 36(b) to introduce joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 39 and H.J. Res. 98) blocking the $1.15 billion sale of Abrams tanks, largely over concerns about the use of U.S. military equipment in the Yemen conflict. (Neither resolution advanced out of committee.) Similarly, in 2017, Congress introduced joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 42 and H.J. Res. 102) against the commercial sale of precision guided munitions (PGMs) under AECA 36(c). During floor consideration (which ultimately resulted in the resolution not advancing), senators weighed Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the humanitarian situation in Yemen against the need to counter Iranian influence in Yemen. In part due to congressional pressure, the Obama administration suspended a planned $390 million sale of PGMs and certain intelligence-sharing activities in December 2016. These were subsequently resumed by the Trump administration. Congress has also sought to limit foreign military assistance. The 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibited the provision of IMET assistance to Saudi Arabia with no provisions for a presidential waiver. Beginning in 2017, congressional opposition began targeting direct U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition under the War Powers Resolution, an angle not previously adopted in the U.S.-Saudi security context. As discussed previously on Lawfare, the Yemen Resolution vetoed by President Trump on April 16 was the culmination of these efforts and sought to remove U.S. forces from “hostilities” in or affecting Yemen, except those targeting al-Qaeda. Although this resolution did not pass, several other proposals seek broader limitations on U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. For example, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019 (S. 398) calls for the suspension of all arms sales to Saudi Arabia as part of a suite of proposed sanctions and accountability measures. Similarly, H.R. 643 prohibits all security assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if any of these bills will progress beyond their current form or if any of their provisions will find their way into appropriations legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Bipartisan opposition to Saudi arms sales

Michael Massi, 4-24, 19, https://hermannherald.com/trump-says-u-s-stands-with-saudi-arabia-despite-khashoggi-killing/42677/, Trump Says U.S. Stands With Saudi Arabia Despite Khashoggi Killing Late last week, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that calls for suspending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, for sanctions on people who block humanitarian access in Yemen or support the Houthi rebels, and mandatory sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

Democrats oppose Saudi arms sales

Michael Massi, 4-24, 19, https://hermannherald.com/trump-says-u-s-stands-with-saudi-arabia-despite-khashoggi-killing/42677/, Trump Says U.S. Stands With Saudi Arabia Despite Khashoggi Killing Democrats harshly criticized Trump’s decision Tuesday and called on Congress to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia and end support for Saudi Arabia’s war against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen, which is facing a humanitarian crisis.

Public opposes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Lawrence Wittner, April 25, 2019, https://fpif.org/most-americans-actually-reject-trumps-america-first-policy/ Most Americans Actually Reject Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Unlike the president, who has boasted of U.S. weapons sales to other countries, particularly to Saudi Arabia, Americans are also rather uncomfortable about the U.S. role as the world’s pre-eminent arms dealer. In November 2018, 58 percent of Americans surveyed told YouGov that they wanted the U.S. government to curtail or halt its arms sales to the Saudi Arabian government, while only 13 percent wanted to maintain or increase such sales.

Public opposes US relations with Saudi Arabia

Paddy Ryan, April 24, 2019, https://spectator.us/us-yemen-iran-saudi-arabia/, Spectator USA, The US and Yemen: stopping Iran or appeasing Saudi Arabia? The US-Saudi partnership is already controversial in America. According to Gallup, 77 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of the country. American and Saudi values are antithetical, and the Saudi promotion of the strict Salafist school of Islam is at odds with Western counter-extremism efforts. The killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post ‘journalist’ and Qatari publicist, in Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey, brought relations to a nadir. Yet cooperation in the killing fields of Yemen continues unabated.

Saudi-US relations critical to keep the price of oil stable (and not high)

Paddy Ryan, April 24, 2019, https://spectator.us/us-yemen-iran-saudi-arabia/, Spectator USA, The US and Yemen: stopping Iran or appeasing Saudi Arabia? But why should America care? The prevailing wisdom concerns oil. Since the OPEC embargo of 1973, the US has used arms deals as a lever to keep Saudi production high. In the Eighties, for example, President Reagan accelerated these sales, in exchange for increased oil production, slashing global energy prices in order to put the squeeze on the declining Soviet Union. Now, amid a price surge following President Trump’s ending of exemptions to the Iranian oil embargo, the US is again using arms to keep the Saudi oil flowing and keep prices stable. The president has tweeted that that the Saudis ‘will more than make up the oil flow difference’.

Saudi Arabia can’t just switch suppliers

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times UNITED NATIONS: When US political leaders urged the Trump administration to either reduce or cut off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia — largely as a punishment for its indiscriminate bombings of civilians in the four-year old military conflict in Yemen — President Trump provided a predictable response: “If we don’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese and the Russians will.” ADVERTISING Perhaps in theory it’s plausible, but in practice it’s a long shot, primarily because switching weapons systems from Western to Chinese and Russian arms — particularly in the middle of a devastating war — could be a long drawn out process since it involves maintenance, servicing, training, military advice and uninterrupted supplies of spares. Asked for a response, Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher, Arms and Military Expenditure Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), told IPS: “If, [very hypothetical] the USA and the UK would stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, this would be a major problem for Saudi Arabia, in military and financial terms.” He pointed out that Saudi Arabia would find it very hard to maintain the US and UK weapons its armed forces largely rely on without the support of the large numbers of US and UK service personnel in the country right now. The Saudi military might be able to keep the weapons going for a while, but presumably at a much lower operational level. He said it will not only be very costly for Saudi Arabia to replace the expensive existing equipment — which is supposed to be in service for decades — but it also means that Chinese and Russian weapons will not be of as high quality as what Saudis now receive from the US and Western Europe. Advertisements And New York Times roving correspondent Nicholas Kristof says, “some Saudis kept trying to suggest to me that if we block weapons sales to Riyadh, the kingdom will turn to Moscow.” “That’s absurd. It needs our spare parts and, more important, it buys our weapons because they come with an implicit guarantee that we will bail the Saudis out militarily if they get into trouble with Iran.” Greg Gilpert, 4-29, 19, https://therealnews.com/stories/leaked-report-western-arms-are-essential-to-saudi-arabias-war-in-yemen, Leaked Report: Western Arms Are Essential to Saudi Arabia’s War in The documents illustrate how crucial U.S. and Western ally support is to the war in Yemen, explained The Real News Network’s Greg Wilpert. If Saudi Arabia were to stop buying arms from the U.S. and its allies they could not easily substitute them with other weapons purchases, which contradicts the argument made by the U.S. and other governments that the war would continue regardless of their involvement. “There is not a clear path for them to just switch over to Russian manufactured weapons. It’s kind of like switching from Macintosh to Microsoft. It’s just not an easy transition. It takes a lot of time,” Hassan El-Tayyab, co-director of Just Foreign Policy, said. “So again, it kind of deeply involves the United States, and there are bipartisan majorities that want to end this war. And now we have proof just how urgent that is and how much we could impact the situation on the ground for millions of Yemenis that are living on the brink of famine by stopping these arms sales.”

The US should condition sales on ending the war in Yemen

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times In an oped piece, Kristof said the Saudi armed forces can’t even defeat a militia in Yemen. So, how could they stand up to Iran? he asked. “That’s why we have leverage over Saudi Arabia, not the other way around.” The next step, he argued, should be a suspension of arms sales until Saudi Arabia ends its war in Yemen, for that war has made the US complicit in mass starvation.

US weapons being used to commit war crimes in Yemen

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times The New York Times said last year that some US lawmakers worry that American weapons were being used to commit war crimes in Yemen— including the intentional or unintentional bombings of funerals, weddings, factories and other civilian infrastructure — triggering condemnation from the United Nations and human rights groups who also accuse the Houthis of violating humanitarian laws of war and peace. In its “World Report 2017,” Human Rights Watch said the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has carried out military operations, supported by the US and the UK against Houthi forces and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 2015. The coalition has unlawfully attacked homes, markets, hospitals, schools, civilian businesses and mosques, the report said. “None of the forces in Yemen’s conflict seem to fear being held to account for violating the laws of war,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “UN members need to press the parties to end the slaughter and the suffering of civilians.”

No credible alternate suppliers

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times Asked how dependent Saudi Arabia is on US arms, Wezeman told IPS that US is by far the largest arms supplier to Saudi Arabia. Sipri estimates that in 2014-18, the US accounted for 68 percent of Saudi arms imports followed by the UK at a distant 16 percent. Several other European countries accounted for most of the rest. China played a small role and Russia had not yet established itself as arms supplier to Saudi Arabia. Asked about the current state of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Wezeman said the US supplies all types of weapons to Saudi.

US providing missile defense systems

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times But most important in value of the weapons that have been or are to be delivered are F-15 combat aircraft with a full set of advanced arms and Patriot and Thaad air defense systems. But the list also includes M1A2 tanks, frigates, reconnaissance planes, light armoured vehicles, communication equipment, and basically anything needed to equip modern armed forces.

US supplies critical spare parts as part of the arms deal, switching suppliers would take at least a decade

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times What is important is that these weapons come with a service package. Though exact data is scarce, the companies supplying the equipment also supply vital maintenance and repair services, he noted. Compare with what happened in Iran in 1979, which also was highly dependent on US and UK arms, Tehran had to figure out by itself how to operate the equipment. Possibly the Iranians were better prepared and trained for that than Saudi Arabia is now, but they struggled to continue to use the US equipment in the war with Iraq and had to resort to importing inferior weapons from China and North Korea It is very likely, said Wezeman, that Russia and China will happily step in and offer their weapons. However, it will take time before they can deliver large numbers of weapons and train the Saudi’s on new equipment based on different military doctrines. A full transition will probably take many years. There are several of other cases where states have shifted between different suppliers, with different levels of success, he pointed out. Warsaw pact countries moved to NATO weapons, over several decades. Venezuela switched from US equipment to Russian and Chinese over a period of roughly a decade.

US weapons prolonging the conflict and killing civilians

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times Citing conservative UN estimates, Ole Solvang, policy director at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told IPS some 17,700 civilians have been killed in the fighting in Yemen since 2015. An estimated 2,310 people have died from cholera according to the World Health Organization, and 85,000 children under the age of five have died from starvation. Solvang said more bombs and weapons in Yemen will only mean more suffering and death. “By providing such extensive military and diplomatic support for one side of the conflict, the United States is deepening and prolonging a crisis that has immediate and severe consequences for Yemen — and civilians are paying the price,” he noted Described as one of the world’s least developed countries and the poorest in the Arab world, Yemen continues to be devastated by a war with no end in sight.

Continuing the war in Yemen will set back development by four decades

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times Meanwhile, the results of a study commissioned by the UN Development Program (UNDP), released last week, confirm the worst: the ongoing conflict has reversed Yemen’s human development by 21 years. The study warns of exponentially growing impacts of conflict on human development. It projects that if the war ends in 2022, development gains will have been set back by 26 years — almost a generation. If it continues through 2030, that setback will increase to four decades. “The long-term impacts of conflict are vast and place it among the most destructive conflicts since the end of the Cold War,” warns the report; and further deterioration of the situation “will add significantly to prolonged human suffering, retard human development in Yemen, and could further deteriorate regional stability.” “Human development has not just been interrupted. It has been reversed,” said UNDP Yemen Resident Representative, Auke Lootsma. “Even if there were to be peace tomorrow, it could take decades for Yemen to return to pre-conflict levels of development. This is a big loss for the people of Yemen.” “That’s why we have leverage over Saudi Arabia, not the other way around.” The next step, he argued, should be a suspension of arms sales until Saudi Arabia ends its war in Yemen, for that war has made the US complicit in mass starvation. The Times said last year that some US lawmakers worry that American weapons were being used to commit war crimes in Yemen — including the intentional or unintentional bombings of funerals, weddings, factories and other civilian infrastructure — triggering condemnation from the UN and human rights groups who also accuse the Houthis of violating humanitarian laws of war and peace.

Arms sales critical to US-Saudi relations. Relations help stabilize oil market and protect US security interests in the Middle East

Ben Hubbard, April 28, 2019, Trump Accuses Saudis of Giving U.S. a Bad Deal. Is That True?, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/28/world/middleeast/trump-saudi-arabia-military.html Military support The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has long rested on a simple equation: The United States buys Saudi oil, and Saudi Arabia buys American weaponry, with the understanding that America would help protect the kingdom in case of a foreign attack. Image Portraits of President Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia were projected onto the Ritz Hotel during the president’s visit to the kingdom in 2017.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times During his visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, the first foreign trip of his presidency, Mr. Trump said he had concluded a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. But Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst now with the Brookings Institution, wrote an analysis saying that was false. The alleged deal, according to Mr. Riedel, was actually a conglomeration of nonbinding letters of intent for future business and previous deals initiated during the Obama administration, when the kingdom bought $112 billion in weapons. Nearly two years after Mr. Trump’s announcement, only one new major arms deal has gone through. This month, the Pentagon awarded a $2.4 billion contract to Lockheed Martin for missile defense technology. The Saudi government was expected to pay $1.5 billion for its part of the deal, Reuters reported. The Saudi government has continued to pay the United States for munitions, maintenance and training of its forces under previous contracts. Image Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and terminal in Saudi Arabia. The United States buys Saudi oil, and Saudi Arabia buys American weaponry.CreditAhmed Jadallah/Reuters As for subsidies, the kingdom receives about $10,000 per year in American military assistance, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Receiving this aid qualifies the kingdom for a discount on American training — which the kingdom also pays for. Financial ties Saudi Arabia has strong economic ties to the United States and is Washington’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. The kingdom has the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves, after Venezuela, and is a top oil exporter, making it a major player in global energy markets. Despite the robust trade, there is no publicly available information to back up Mr. Trump’s claim of $450 billion in Saudi spending in the United States. The White House has not detailed how Mr. Trump arrived at that number. Total exports of goods and services to Saudi Arabia from the United States in 2018 were about $22.3 billion, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That was down from about $25.4 billion in 2017. Image Muslim pilgrims praying at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca in 2018. Saudi Arabia, as the protector of Islam’s holiest sites — including Mecca — is often a valuable diplomatic partner.CreditDar Yasin/Associated Press In the long run, the rise in American oil production will probably undermine the foundations of the trade relationship with Saudi Arabia. The more oil that the United States produces, the less it needs to buy from Saudi Arabia. And the kingdom produces little else that the United States wants to buy. Other benefits The United States receives other advantages from its strong relationship with the kingdom. Saudi Arabia, with its clout in the Muslim world as the protector of Islam’s holiest sites — including Mecca, in western Saudi Arabia — is often a valuable diplomatic partner. The two countries’ intelligence services work together closely, sharing information about terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and other threats. Saudi Arabia also often participates in American initiatives in the Middle East, such as the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State. In October, the kingdom gave $100 million to the United States to help stabilize parts of Syria liberated from the militants. But even with security cooperation, the kingdom usually picks up the bill. American advisers work in important security, industrial, energy and cyber security offices inside the Saudi government, their jobs paid for by the Saudis, according to the Congressional Research Service. “U.S. training and security support to Saudi Arabia remains overwhelmingly Saudi-funded via foreign military sales and other contracts,” the service said.

Arms sales support Saudi-US relations

Mark Porubcansky has been a foreign correspondent and editor for 30 years, serving until recently as foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2019, https://www.minnpost.com/foreign-concept/2019/04/trumps-decision-to-pull-out-of-the-arms-trade-treaty-a-cynics-guide/ Trump’s decision to pull out of the Arms Trade Treaty: a cynic’s guide Slightly more than half of U.S. arms exports went to the Middle East, which increased U.S. arms imports by a staggering 134 percent. The biggest single market is Saudi Arabia, accounting for 12 percent of global purchases of major weapons and 22 percent of the U.S. sales. Arms sales are a big element in Trump’s cozy relationship with the kingdom, and it helps explain his resistance to punishing the Saudis for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his veto of legislation that would have ended U.S. logistical support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen.

Saudis committing massive human rights violations

Feminine Perspective Magazine, 4-29, 19, https://rinj.press/fpmag/april-2019/item-4-the-axis-of-evil-saudi-arabia-has-replaced-isis-why-does-usa-and-uk-love-that/ Item 4. The Axis of Evil. Saudi Arabia has replaced ISIS. Why does USA and UK love that? RINJ Press – FPMag – Feminine perspective Magazine. Feminine-Perspective Magazine (FPMag) Telegram:t.me/FPMag FPMag on Google News Montreal time is 30 April, 2019, 06:26 Published29 April, 2019, 23 hours ago Author: Micheal John, Editor Last Updated: 2019-04-29T12:43:50-04:00 Contact Us ‣ Email ‣ Latest News Search for: Feminine Perspective Magazine – world news and opinions Item 4. The Axis of Evil. Saudi Arabia has replaced ISIS. Why does USA and UK love that? List: Latest News and Articles Share:Twitter Facebook LinkedIn The Salafi-extremist ghouls in Riyadh beheaded 37 souls and crucified one, all of whom criticized the House of Saud’s wretched hooliganism and most of whom were Shia minorities. America and Britain didn’t bat an eye. The Saudi leadership and its reprehensible and brain-dead-brand of Islam are malignant cancers on humankind the world has decided to eradicate. Britain and America’s arms-dealers are cancers too. Cancer can be beaten. FPMag Week17 Reuters reports that European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the executions heightened doubts about respect for the right to a fair trial in Saudi Arabia. by Micheal John FPMag Editor Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet: “After a wink at the dismembering of a journalist (Khashoggi), not a whisper from the Trump administration when Saudi Arabia beheads 37 men in one day.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet noted in a statement last week that, “It is particularly abhorrent that at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing.” Amnesty International claimed the majority of those executed in six cities belonged to the Shiite community and were convicted in “sham trials”. Fourteen people, it said, had participated in anti-government protests in the Eastern Province during the period 2011-2012 before being detained. Outrage over the House of Saud’s animal-behaviour is commonplace for many years. On 9 September, 2014, Christof Heyns, then UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions commented that “Despite several calls by human rights bodies, Saudi Arabia continues to execute individuals with appalling regularity and in flagrant disregard of international law standards.” Mr. Heyns also said in an extensive report that, “The trials are by all accounts grossly unfair. Defendants are often not allowed a lawyer and death sentences were imposed following confessions obtained under torture. …The method of execution then aggravates a situation that is already totally unacceptable.” That was five years ago. Identical statements are being issued today, five years later, by those compelled to do so by the titles on their business cards. Axis of Evil: Saudi Arabia Replaces ISIS Photo Art: Rosa Yamamoto FPMag The Iranian Foreign Minister raises a number of questions. He has ‘tweeted’ his concerns and has also given interviews to global TV networks to say that he is very concerned about the silence from Britain and the United States. Much has been said by the United States Administration about the Saudi government spending over $100 billion on arms deals. Saudi has been buying US bombs to slaughter Yemeni civilians. US President Donald Trump claims that there are few things if any that would cause him to jeopardize his money-deals with Saudi Arabia. This video is about the death of Jamal Khashogghi and why the USA doesn’t protest the murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist. FPMag cannot show you videos of US President Trump talking about the volume of state-sponsored killings in Saudi Arabia, because he does not protest these human rights violations. He does protest about why he shouldn’t protest Saudi Arabia’s reprehensible human rights violations and breach of international law. It’s about money. Watch. What About Britain? Why does not Britain criticize 37 Beheadings and 1 Crucifiction last Tuesday in Week 17? At a recent FPMag editorial round table discussion (the table really is round), there was one of those coffee choking ‘eureka moments‘ and somebody spurted out, “I wonder…”. “Britain and America are making a killing selling high priced munitions which to Saudi Arabia are a consumable item as is toilet paper in 34 of the most obese USA states (at 80% plus level 2 obesity). Those obese US States are consuming enough toilet paper to wipe out forests and Saudi Aria drops enough bombs to kill tens of thousands of civilians and make Britain and Americans, (a small percentage) very rich and those few wealthy billionaires spend their money to keep their benefactors in power.” “Have you wondered why the Conservatives in Britain are adamant about Brexit even if the people are ready to string up the members of Britain’s government?” Do Theresa May and Donald Trump have wealthy patrons donating to their political careers? Or is Britain so deeply together under the covers with American arms dealers that they need to be closer? Being a part of the European Union (EU) is counter to that “badboy gun slinger/seller” game. “America,” was the answer all around.

Yemen war causing a massive cholera epidemic

Ty Joplin, April 23, 2019, Whose Fault is the Cholera Epidemic in Yemen?https://www.albawaba.com/news/whose-fault-cholera-epidemic-yemen-1281785 Al Bhawaa The Saudi-led coalition, comprised mostly of Saudi and the U.A.E., engineered the disastrous humanitarian situation in Yemen as part of a medieval war strategy. By targeting water treatment centers and blocking off aid, cholera has become one of the conflict’s quiet killers. In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen. In Oct 2016, the first cases of cholera began streaming in. Saudi and the U.A.E. began their intervention with an overwhelming show of force. The coalition targeted elements of the Houthi’s breakaway state with implosive bombs that crumbled buildings within themselves. These bombs were part of a ‘shock and awe’ campaign to signal that Houthi resistance to the coalition would be fatal and that surrendering is their only strategic move. They wanted to show the Houthis the terror of resisting. Despite several waves of high-volume bombings across Houthi-controlled territory, the strategy failed. The coalition then shifted to targeting civilian infrastructure, including water irrigation systems and farms. As recently as June 2018, coalition jets destroyed a cholera treatment facility run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), worsening an already-spiraling cholera crisis. As recently as June 2018, coalition jets destroyed a cholera treatment facility run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), worsening an already-spiraling cholera crisis. The coalition initially blamed MSF for not notifying them that their target was actually a hospital for cholera patients, but MSF retorted, saying they had actually told the coalition on twelve separate occasions that the building was a hospital. Just one month later, in July 2018, Saudi airstrikes struck health, sanitation and water treatment centers in Hodeidah, Yemen’s port city and main lifeline for the majority of its people. Cases of cholera spiked immediately after the July 2018 bombings, as cholera-causing bacteria festered in Yemen’s stagnant and dirty water supply. Concurrent to the bombing campaign that started in March 2015, the coalition also began enforcing an on-and-off blockade around Yemen that continues to this day. Workers in Hodeidah offload a ship onto the dock (AFP/FILE) At one point in Nov 2017, the coalition imposed a total blockade over Yemen’s air and sea ports, preventing the shipment of vital food and medicine into the country. In the months leading up to the announcement, the coalition was imposing a de facto blockage of vital goods that choked off medical access. An Oct 2017 Reuters report found that no commercial pharmaceutical shipment had arrived in Hodeidah since August 2015. Despite insistences from coalition officials that they lifted the total blockade a few weeks after serious international pressure mounted, ships were still being denied entry months after. The blockade appears to be continuing into the present day: a French intelligence report that was leaked in April 2019 found that the U.A.E. has been stopping imports into the country with warships provided to them by France. These actions have destroyed Yemen’s ability to provide basic care for its own people while undermining international efforts to manage the humanitarian crisis, including the cholera epidemic.

Houthis responsible for the cholera crisis

Ty Joplin, April 23, 2019, Whose Fault is the Cholera Epidemic in Yemen?https://www.albawaba.com/news/whose-fault-cholera-epidemic-yemen-1281785 Al Bhawaa The Houthis, a breakaway rebel group in the country’s northwest are responsible for exploiting the humanitarian situation for war-trime profiteering and local power plays. They’ve done so primarily by denying mass shipments of life-saving cholera vaccines while stealing aid shipments and selling them on the black market. In the summer of 2017, when the cholera crisis was spreading rapidly, a U.N. plane stocked with half a million cholera vaccines waited to receive clearance to land in Yemen. Houthi officials reportedly denied the plane entry, preventing the shipment of vaccines from reaching Yemeni civilians. “The Houthis are taking advantage of U.N. weakness,” an aid official said. “Corruption or aid diversion and all of this are because of the U.N.’s weak position.” Aid workers know that if the U.N. speaks out, “their visas will be denied and they would not be allowed back in the country.” In addition to directly blocking vaccines, Houthi fighters have also systematically funneled much of what little aid reaches their territory into black markets for a profit, an investigation by the World Food Program (WFP) found. In addition to directly blocking vaccines, Houthi fighters have also systematically funneled much of what little aid reaches their territory into black markets for a profit, an investigation by the World Food Program (WFP) found. “The misappropriation of food relief came to light in a WFP review conducted during recent months. It was prompted by an increasing number of reports of humanitarian food for sale on the open market in the capital. What the checks unearthed was fraud being perpetrated by at least one local partner organisation tasked by WFP with handling and distributing its food assistance,” the WFP said. “At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven’t enough food to eat, that is an outrage,” WFP’s director David Beasley said. “This criminal behavior must stop immediately.” Diverting aid into black markets has undoubtedly worsened the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and weakened an already-vulnerable population even further. It likely makes cholera more deadly, as it infects malnourished, dehydrated individuals. Houthi fighters and militia leaders have contributed to acute deprivation in food and water-scarce regions under their control and show no serious dedication to alleviating humanitarian conditions.

Iran backs the Houthis

Ty Joplin, April 23, 2019, Whose Fault is the Cholera Epidemic in Yemen?https://www.albawaba.com/news/whose-fault-cholera-epidemic-yemen-1281785 Al Bhawaa The Houthis’ main international supporter is Iran, who appears to support the rebels as a way to entangle their geopolitical rivals, namely the U.S. and Saudi, in an unwinnable proxy war. In Jan 2013, the U.S. intercepted a navy vessel from Iran en route to the Houthis with approximately forty tons of military armaments, including rockets, surface-to-air missiles, small arms and ammo. Since then, Iran has continued to support the Houthis with small arms and missile shipments, though exact numbers are hard to come by. Iran has also reportedly provided the Houthis with ballistic missiles including the Qiam-1. The Houthis have also deployed Bukran-1 and Bukran-2 scud missiles, which are essentially identical to the Iranian-produced Qiam-1.

NO new arms sales are going through

>Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom The Trump administration has few options to move forward on a $2 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that Congress is leveraging to censure the U.S. ally for alleged human rights abuses and to rebuke the White House for its unconditional embrace of the kingdom. Raytheon Co. has been blocked from selling precision-guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia for more than a year now — far longer than the normal hold for Congress to review an arms sale. Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says his April 2018 block on the order will continue until he sees evidence that this technology actually does reduce civilian casualties by turning gravity bombs into more precise “smart” bombs, as the administration claims. The sale is far from being resolved since the State Department and Defense Department have yet to provide this evidence, according to a person familiar with the proposed sales. Saudi Arabia’s relationship with lawmakers from both parties reached new lows last year over the kingdom’s killing of U.S.-based Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October and the impact that Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen is having on civilians. Attempted Reset This tension is in stark contrast to the situation at the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, when the Saudi royal family hosted his first foreign visit, replete with extravagant displays of friendship between the two countries and promises of mutual investment — including a package of defense deals Trump said could be worth $110 billion. Trump wanted to improve ties with Saudi Arabia after the relationship languished under his predecessor, Barack Obama, and arms sales were a major part of that. Now, even as the U.S. counts on its traditional ally to not only counter Iran’s regional influence but also to soften the oil supply shock of stricter Iran sanctions, the White House has hit the limits of what it can achieve without cooperation from Congress. The strongest bipartisan statement yet on U.S.-Saudi policy was a joint resolution to withdraw U.S. support for the war in Yemen, which prompted Trump’s second presidential veto. It will be up to Republican leaders in the Senate to schedule a vote to override that veto, and a spokesman for majority leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment on when that vote will take place. Warning Sent Even if that veto stands, as appears likely, Republican support for the underlying resolution serves to warn the administration against trying to force the arms sale by submitting a formal notification to Congress without Menendez’s consent. Members of Congress would then have 30 calendar days to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval to stop the sale. Raytheon didn’t respond to a request for comment about the status of the deal, nor did the Saudi embassy in Washington. The State Department declined to offer an on-the-record response to questions. The Yemen resolution was adopted with the support of 54 senators, including seven Republicans. Others like South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and one of Trump’s closest allies, have spoken against any arms sales to Saudi Arabia until the kingdom addresses Congress’s concerns. Under a 1976 law, the State Department must notify Congress of commercial arms sales that exceed certain thresholds for ammunition, defense construction or defense articles and services. If the top Republican or Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees have any concerns, they can place an informal hold on the sale by refusing to consent to the notification process. Demand for Change “I don’t think they’ll ever get arms sales through until there’s a change, until there’s more accountability,” Graham said in an interview, backing up Menendez’s unusually long informal hold. Dana Stroul, a former Senate staff member, now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Menendez has bipartisan support for continuing to block the deal, which includes $1 billion worth of precision-guided munitions kits to the U.A.E. “To override the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on something like this, I actually think a lot of Republicans would come and vote with Menendez, not because they oppose the sale but because of the affront it would be to Congress,” Stroul said.

Bipartisan opposition to Saudi Arms sales

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom Menendez and Graham this year re-introduced their Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, which includes a suspension of arms transfers to Saudi Arabia as well as sanctions against anyone hindering humanitarian aid to Ymen or supporting the Houthi rebels active in that country. A 2018 United Nations investigation concluded the Saudi-led coalition may have committed war crimes in its disregard for civilian life. With roughly 17,700 civilian casualties in the four year conflict, Congress has hardened its attitude toward Saudi Arabia. “Congress is clearly in a bipartisan way saying ‘no, we need to re-evaluate this relationship’,” with Saudi Arabia, Stroul said.

The number of alternative suppliers is decreasing

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom Yet the U.S. is also counting on Saudi Arabia to ensure adequate oil supplies after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday there will be no more temporary waivers for other nations seeking to buy Iran crude despite U.S. sanctions. Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will ensure that the oil market “does not go out of balance,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Tuesday. The price of crude increased 38 percent this year to a high of $66 per barrel Tuesday as political woes in Venezuela and Libya have crippled production and the U.S. moves to bring Iranian oil exports to zero. Trump has closely watching gasoline prices for U.S. consumers, and he tweeted Monday that “Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil.”

Saudi Arabia will turn to Russia and China

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom Some experts, however, warn that suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia could push the kingdom toward more pliant suppliers such as Russia or China. The Saudis see the Yemen conflict in “existential terms,” Stroul said, and will turn to other countries in violation of existing U.S. agreements if it means they can continue operations in Yemen. “Withholding arms sales to Saudi Arabia is not going to change their behavior,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Eventually they will go to China and Russia.”

Without PGMS, Saudis will use dumb bombs, increasing civilian casualties

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom There are also concerns that suspending the sale of precision-guided munitions kits could actually cause more civilian casualties. The Saudis depend hugely on precision-guided missile imports from the U.S.,” said Paul Sullivan, a Middle East expert at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. “Without the U.S. PGMs, Saudi Arabia will have to take a different tactic. Sadly, that will likely mean using ‘dumb’ missiles that can have much larger impacts on unintended civilian and non-combatant targets. Simply put, more people die unintentionally from dumb bombs than from PGMs.” The implications for civilian casualties is one of the top concerns for Jim Risch, the Idaho Republican who with Menendez leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Saudis are working to make the much-needed improvements the U.S. has been trying to help them adopt,” Risch said by email. “I would hope that Senator Menendez will review all the facts surrounding the efforts by the U.S. to limit civilian casualties using more precise targeting mechanisms.”

100,000 have died of famine, 10 million on the brink

France24 Live, 4-20, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190420-france-arms-exports-yemen-saudi-uae-khashoggi-disclose France under pressure to come clean over Yemen arms exports Pitting a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi militias, the four-year conflict in Yemen has shattered the country’s economy and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, whose investigators say both sides may have committed war crimes. More than 10,000 civilians have been killed during the conflict and some 10 million people have been driven to the brink of famine.

A child dies every 10 minutes

Tasmin News, April, 20, 2019, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/04/20/1993247/congress-power-effectively-diminished-in-relation-to-trump-canadian-analyst Congress Power ‘Effectively Diminished’ in Relation to Trump: Canadian Analyst The situation in Yemen is indeed so direaccording to UNICEF, a Yemeni child dies on the average every ten minutes due to malnutrition and lack of medicine – that, a few days ago, an official of the UK government (whose hands are also stained with the blood of Yemeni children) called on the United Nations to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to live up to the truce it signed on January 7, 2019, brokered by the UN, to withdraw from Hudaydah, the port through which most of the humanitarian aid, destined for Yemen, enters the country.

Germany can veto UK sales to Saudi Arabia because they have US parts

Second Line Defense Info, 4-19, 19, https://sldinfo.com/2019/04/reworking-the-franco-german-arms-export-policies-a-crucial-challenge-facing-fcas/ Reworking the Franco-German Arms Export Policies: A Crucial Challenge Facing FCAS Editor’s Note: Discussions with sources in London have confirmed the key concern which Britain also has with German vetoes on commonly built aircraft, in this case the sale of weapons and aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Britain has tested its unmanned prototypes on Australian ranges in the past, and with the announcement of the new loyal wingman program in Australia, the UK is certainly interested in this program and UK opportunities to work with Australia and export common aircraft. And Tempest unlike FCAS can draw upon the F-35 program in which the UK is a 15% stakeholder. If indeed the UK is a “European defense power,” then the UK and its involvement in the F-35 logically makes this a key aspect of European industry as well.

Can’t solve French weapons

Nadine Sayegh, April 19, 2019, https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/documents-reveal-french-arms-could-be-fueling-violence-overseas-25997 Documents reveal French arms could be fueling violence overseas A new report from a collective of investigative journalists raises serious questions about the French government’s culpability for atrocities committed in Yemen. “To my knowledge, French weapons are not being used in any offensive in the war in Yemen. I do not have any evidence that would lead me to believe that French arms are behind the origins of civilian victims in Yemen,” insisted French Defence Minister Florence Parly on a French radio show yesterday, despite fresh accusations to the contrary. Earlier this week, French NGO, Disclose (a collective of investigative journalists), released a comprehensive 15-page paper citing a leaked report from French military intelligence agency DRM highlighting the use of different French weaponry likely used against civilians in Yemen. The report dates back to the end of September last year and reveals the use of French-made CAESAR guns, artillery, tactical canons, tanks, ships, and fighter-bomber jets. And as such, this gives us evidence, that the probability of the use of French arms in civilian deaths as highly probable. The report adds to this that all the information was presented to President Macron and his office on 3 October 2018 – including Foreign Minister and Minister for European Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Florence Parly, at a Defence Council meeting. Parly later denies negotiating new deals with the Saudi-coalition, however, the report also cited a contract signed in December between Saudi Arabia and French government-owned weapons manufacturer Nexter Systems to deliver new armoured vehicles between 2019 and 2024. To understand the extent of the damage and the potential damage that may come to pass, specifically noted in the DRM report, through the use of CAESAR weaponry alone, “The population concerned by potential artillery fire is 436,370 people.” The report also deduced that “This showed that between March 2016 and December 2018, a total of 35 civilians were killed in 52 bombardments localised within the range of the CAESARs.” The report while making no grand claim points to worrying facts that certainly must be addressed by the highest levels of the French government. France, like many EU countries, is a signatory of the UN Arms Trade Treaty that regulates the international trade of conventional weapons and bans the sale of weapons that fuel human rights violations and war crimes – it, however, is also the third largest weapons exporter in the world. This reveals that at the very least there is a reason for a serious investigation, and until then, an arms embargo with Saudi Arabia and its Yemen coalition, until the inquiry is complete. The UN has also unequivocally stated that war crimes have likely been committed by all parties in the Yemeni war. For the French, in 2018, the highest arms sales recorded were to Egypt – which too has come under much public scrutiny due to the country’s alarming rate of human rights abuses. Macron responded that he did not deem it fit to lecture Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi on the matter. In January, the Human Rights Watch issued a statement saying “The French authorities contend that they have only licensed military equipment as part of the “fight against terrorism” in Egypt and not for law enforcement operations. But as recent reports by Amnesty International and FIDH have demonstrated, French-supplied armoured vehicles were used by Egyptian security forces to disperse peaceful sit-ins across the country violently. Amnesty International noted, “French vehicles were not merely assisting the security forces, but were themselves tools of repression, playing a very active role in the crushing of dissent.”

French exports to Saudi Arabia increasing

France24 Live, 4-20, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190420-france-arms-exports-yemen-saudi-uae-khashoggi-disclose France under pressure to come clean over Yemen arms exports France is the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, its sales having increased fourfold under Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande. Between 2008 and 2017, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were, respectively, its second and sixth biggest export markets, according to the French defence ministry.

Hezbollah backed Iran is a threat, we must contain them

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen Last year, the Israeli military showed the security cabinet a list of scenarios in the event of a war between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization based in Lebanon. The military told Israeli civilian leaders that, if and when war erupts on Israel’s northern border, the army would evacuate tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who live within range of Hezbollah’s estimated 130,000 rockets and missiles. That firepower would rain down on Israel, attacking the Jewish state’s strategic targets and critical infrastructure. Indeed, in 2016, the Israeli military’s Home Front Command estimated that Hezbollah would be able to launch 1,500 rockets and missiles a day against Israel. To preempt Hezbollah’s barrage, Jerusalem would need to attack the group in Lebanon immediately, and with overwhelming force. Virtually all analysts agree that a third Lebanon war would be disastrous, and that Hezbollah, an organization obedient to Iran, poses a severe threat to Israel’s security. This is the reality that Saudi Arabia is trying to avoid in Yemen with the Houthi rebels, who Iran hopes to form into another Hezbollah, this time on the Saudis’ southern border. If Israel, the United States, and America’s Western (and Arab) allies could travel back in time and prevent Hezbollah from becoming so powerful, they would jump at the opportunity. That may not be possible in Lebanon, but it is still possible to prevent the same outcome in Yemen. Saudi Arabia formed a military coalition against the Houthis in the first place to avert what Michael Knights, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has described as “the establishment of an Iranian-supplied ‘southern Hezbollah’ on the Arabian Peninsula, flanking the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and Suez Canal and posing a new missile threat to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” Having two Hezbollahs—a southern one on the Red Sea, and a northern one on the Mediterranean—would be a strategic mess for the United States, and for its Middle Eastern allies.

US arial assistance to Saudi Arabia has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen

Kristian, March 21, 2019, Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities and contributing editor at The Week. Her writing has also appeared in Time Magazine, CNN, Politico, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, The Hill, and The American Conservative, among other outlets, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/435004-helping-saudi-arabia-bomb-yemen-is-not-a-plan-for-peace, Helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen is not a plan for peace Whatever the revolution’s final fate, Pompeo’s claims are specious and false. There is no reason to believe the Saudi intervention has minimized the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, widely considered the world’s most acute. On the contrary, independent observers agree the opposite is true — Saudi-led forces have been credibly accused of war crimes — and that the Saudi coalition’s careless approach to civilian welfare is enabled by the support it has received from Western partners, chiefly the United States. Yemen would not overnight transform into a bastion of peace and plenty without the coalition’s involvement in its civil war. The Houthi rebels the Saudi forces oppose are hardly innocent of contributing to Yemen civilian misery, and Yemen was among the Middle East’s poorest nations even before its civil war began. But U.S. backing of the Saudi intervention has exacerbated this terrible situation. “The United States is implicated in the aerial destruction,” notes Paul Pillar at “The National Interest.” “U.S. assistance to the Saudi and Emirati air war includes mid-air refueling, targeting information, and voluminous sales of armaments,” including the bomb that struck a school bus, killing 40 young boys last year. With Washington’s help, the Saudi coalition has also launched strikes on civilian targets including homes, markets, weddings, funerals, medical clinics, water treatment plants, and more. A coalition naval blockade and restrictions on imports of food, medicine, and fuel has been cast as a means of choking opposition supply lines, but it’s more significant effect is widespread starvation and preventable disease among ordinary Yemenis. Prolonging U.S. assistance to this disastrous intervention will not, as Pompeo says, “alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering.” It will do precisely the opposite. It will also accomplish exactly nothing for American security and interests. Backing Riyadh’s fight is hurting Yemen without helping us. “The United States does not have a stake in the outcome of civil warfare in Yemen,” as Pillar writes. “The Houthi rebellion is rooted in very local issues … [and the] Houthis [do not] pose more than a trivial threat to anyone else in the region.” A withdrawal of U.S. support could well encourage the Saudi coalition to seek a quick resolution to this conflict at the negotiating table, but even if such a pivot to diplomacy did not happen or was unsuccessful, the security risks to the United States would remain minimal. The Houthis would remain a parochial concern with no means to harm American interests. If anything, U.S. backing of the Saudi fight has been detrimental to our own security insofar as the ongoing chaos has permitted Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a regional terrorist organization which does have ambitions for overseas attacks, to flourish. In fact, coalition forces have been caught bribing and recruiting AQAP fighters, putting Washington in the absurd position of indirectly subsidizing a terrorist group with ties to the perpetrators of 9/11. American weaponry sold to Saudi Arabia has likewise been found in AQAP hands. The most plausible route to ending Yemen’s civil war and, in Pompeo’s words, “ensur[ing] a just peace,” is not to stay the course in supporting the Saudi coalition, as the secretary of state recommends. It is to end Washington’s backing for a catastrophic intervention which was never ours to fight. Continuing to help the Saudi war effort is a fool’s errand with cruel consequences for Yemeni civilians and no benefits for the United States.

Trump has vetoed Congressional efforts to restrain US support for the war in Yemen

Connor Friesdorf, Apri, 18, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/trump-veto-yemen/587332/ Trump Owns the War in Yemen Now. C ONOR FRIEDERSDORF is a California-based staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction. President Donald Trump issued the second veto of his presidency Tuesday to extend U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil war. In so doing, he acted against the will of the American public, the U.S. Senate, and the House of Representatives, allying instead with Saudi Arabia and the autocrats who rule it. The Saudis are leading a brutal military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. U.S. support for that campaign is a stark departure from the “America first” foreign policy that Trump has pledged. As Benjamin H. Friedman noted at Defense Priorities, “None of the limited U.S. interests in the Middle East—preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon, preventing large-scale disruptions to the global oil supply, and eliminating transnational terrorists who directly threaten the United States—justify supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen.” Get the latest issue now. Subscribe and receive an entire year of The Atlantic’s illuminating reporting and expert analysis, starting today. Subscribe Issue cover image So how did Trump explain his veto? “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” he declared in a statement. The explanation is preposterous. The president has no constitutional authority to enmesh America in a foreign war that Congress rejects. Indeed, as David French observes, “If a president can fight when he wants, where he wants, and for as long as he wants, then Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 is meaningless.” And if the danger posed to Americans by Houthi rebels were sufficient to justify war, the U.S. would be at war in dozens of other countries, too. MORE BY CONOR FRIEDERSDORF Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Pierces the Fox News Bubble CONOR FRIEDERSDORF A child climbs onto a giant mockup laptop keyboard An Internet for Kids CONOR FRIEDERSDORF SPONSOR CONTENT This Woman Saw Bias in the Workplace. Now She Uses VR to Fight It. DELOITTE Ilhan Omar Falls Victim to the Outrage Exhibitionists CONOR FRIEDERSDORF A President Falsely Charging ‘Treason’ Is What the Founders Feared CONOR FRIEDERSDORF As if all that weren’t enough, the war is also a moral abomination, resulting in heavy civilian deaths due to indiscriminate air strikes. Millions are on the brink of famine. Daniel Larison explained: All of the aid organizations involved in providing humanitarian relief in Yemen have been clear and consistent in urging an end to U.S. support for the Saudi coalition. They understand what the consequences for the civilian population will be if the war is not brought to an end, and they can see that the war won’t be stopped as long as the foreign patrons of the warring parties continue providing unconditional support. When Trump vetoed S.J.Res. 7, he was proving yet again that he valued good relations with despotic war criminals more than the lives of the many millions of Yemenis being starved and subjected to the most horrific conditions imaginable. In 2016, when Democrats chose an interventionist hawk as their nominee, Trump was able to obscure his militarist instincts enough to run as a candidate who would keep America out of dumb wars. Now he has flagrantly kept the country entangled in a dumb, brutal, immorally waged war, even as the public wants out. In 2020, the opposition party needs a candidate who can call Trump out for a foreign-policy record that aligns with Saudi values more closely than American values, American law, the will of U.S. citizens, or the promises he made to voters. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to [email protected]

Houthi aggression enables Iranian aggression and the disruption of trade in the adjacent seas

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, April 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-yemen-principles-11555542263 Trump’s Yemen Principles Congress reminds us why the War Powers Act was a bad idea. President Trump isn’t known for eloquent defenses of his foreign policy, but on Tuesday he stood up for a crucial American principle. His veto of a congressional demand that the U.S. withdraw support from the Saudis in their war in Yemen keeps responsibility for foreign policy in the White House, where it belongs. Lest anyone forget—and Congress seems to—the Saudis are leading a coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Tehran aspires to use its proxies to build an arc of influence across the Middle East. Yemen is an inviting target since it controls the passage from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea, and offers a convenient base from which to launch rockets into Saudi Arabia. Potomac Watch Podcast Bernie Sanders: Democratic front-runner? SUBSCRIBE These facts don’t make the war in Yemen less of a humanitarian disaster, or the Saudis more savory as allies. But they explain why both the Obama and Trump Administrations concluded the U.S. has a stake in supporting Saudi Arabia in this fight. This is true despite the murder of U.S.-resident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, perhaps with the knowledge of Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the country’s de facto leader. That event and Mr. Trump’s evident lack of concern beyond raw national interest inspired a rebellion even among some Senate Republicans, who joined Democrats in invoking the discredited War Powers Act to force the U.S. to stop offering Riyadh intelligence and other support. This is a case study in why that 1973 law, passed over the veto of a weakened Richard Nixon and resisted by every Administration since, is a bad idea. Congress has repeatedly supported Administration efforts to deter Iran, yet it now also wants to grandstand over the Khashoggi murder in the middle of a violent proxy battle with Tehran. The Founders vested broad foreign-policy responsibility in the executive to avoid precisely such waffling and confusion while still holding the President accountable to voters. Mr. Trump reminded Congress of this constitutional principle in his veto message: “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” Voters can pass their own verdict on Mr. Trump’s foreign policy in the 2020 election, as the Framers intended.

Continuation of arms sales backs MBS’ authoritarianism

Sara Aziza, 4-18, 19, https://theintercept.com/2019/04/18/trump-veto-yemen-saudi-arabia-mbs/Trump’s Veto on Yemen War Is a Sign That the Strongmen in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Winning April 18 2019, 11:57 a.m. WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump will sign an executive order on energy and infrastructure during his visit at International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House on April 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images ON TUESDAY, Donald Trump invoked his veto power for only the second time in his presidency. Trump’s move struck down a congressional resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In doing so, he stifled a moment of rare bipartisanship, flexing his own authoritarian tendencies to protect a fellow autocrat, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is known by the initials MBS. By doing so, Trump not only signaled his loyalty to a prince who has been widely implicated in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the imprisonment and torture of numerous human rights activists, but he has also ensured that the U.S. would remain complicit in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Far from an effort to protect the Constitution, as Trump claimed, the veto was rather the latest example of the autocratic, tit-for-tat deal-making that has in recent years increasingly dominated the geopolitics of the Middle East. Far from an effort to protect the Constitution, as Trump claimed, the veto was rather the latest example of the autocratic, tit-for-tat deal-making. Trump made clear that his decision was intended to augment his executive powers. In his statement, he called the bill — which would have made history as the first legislation under the 1973 War Powers Act to receive bipartisan support — a “dangerous attempt to weaken [his] constitutional authorities.” Trump said that scaling back U.S. involvement in the deadly Yemen conflict would imperil “American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” The bill, though, just like the president’s objection to it, had much more to do with Trump’s relentless and ill-advised devotion to MBS. The resolution first gained momentum in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder in October 2018, a crime that many — including the U.S. intelligence community — have linked to the crown prince. MBS is also responsible for leading the coalition of Persian Gulf states in its four-year offensive in Yemen, which has left thousands of Yemeni civilians dead and millions ravaged by famine and disease. In addition to overseeing this disastrous war, MBS has also ordered numerous crackdowns on his own civilians, including mass arrests and alleged torture of nonviolent human rights advocates. Making a Killing Read Our Complete Coverage Making a Killing By calling for an end to U.S. support for the war, Congress took aim at Trump’s obstinate and increasingly untenable loyalty to MBS. Since Khashoggi’s killing, even staunch supporters of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have grown critical of Riyadh. In contrast, Trump has persistently ignored the ongoing abuse of Saudi human rights activists and downplayed the mounting catastrophe in Yemen, calling Saudi Arabia a “truly spectacular ally.” IT WAS NO great surprise, then, to see the president resort to veto power to protect MBS’s disastrous Yemen campaign. Beneath the shallow appeals to constitutionalism and national security, Trump is acting in accordance with a now-familiar pattern: gravitating toward fellow strongmen and personality-driven deal-making. This entrepreneurial narcissism has fueled much of the president’s volatile foreign policy, from his on-again-off-again “relationships” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to his rabid devotion to building a wall on the Mexican border. Join Our Newsletter Original reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you. I’m in This trend has dramatic implications in the Middle East. Since the collapse of the Arab Spring and in the wake of years of foreign intervention, hopes of democracy in the region have in large part given way to a cast of authoritarian rulers. From MBS in Saudi Arabia to Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey to the recently re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, the region has grown increasingly polarized under hawkish, right-wing leaders. Among this fray, Trump, along with his his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, identified MBS as an ideal partner. The president and crown prince share an alarmist message of Iran as a regional menace and both use this stance to justify destabilizing policies, such as the dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal and the war in Yemen. Trump has also lauded MBS and the Saudis for their alleged work to curb extremism in the region, despite reports that Riyadh has cut deals with Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. The veto, for all its cynical implications about the state of U.S. foreign policy, should also concern Americans at home.

Trump needs Saudi Arabia’s support for Arab-Israeli peace deal

Sara Aziza, 4-18, 19, https://theintercept.com/2019/04/18/trump-veto-yemen-saudi-arabia-mbs/Trump’s Veto on Yemen War Is a Sign That the Strongmen in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Winning For his ongoing support, which includes billions in arms sales, Trump has expected cooperation from the Saudis on his own regional agenda, including in his efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. Trump and Kushner are preparing to push for this “deal of the century” in coming months — a negotiation that has far more to do with backroom bargaining than any democratic or humanitarian concerns.

Saudi bombings have killed 85,000. 14 million at risk-of famine. US is complicit

Common Dream, April 17, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/17/shameful-millions-brink-famine-yemen-trump-vetoes-resolution-end-us-complicity President Donald Trump decided late Tuesday to continue America’s complicity in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis by vetoing the historic Yemen War Powers resolution. “With Trump’s veto of Bernie Sanders’ and my War Powers resolution, he is risking the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians to famine, deadly airstrikes, and the war crimes of the Saudi regime.” —Rep. Ro Khanna “Donald Trump’s veto today is reckless and shameful,” Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, said in a statement. “Sadly, it is also to be expected from a president who has pretended to be a champion of peace while actually expanding every war he inherited and putting us on a collision course to war with Iran.” Trump’s veto—the second of his presidency—came nearly two weeks after the House of Representatives passed the Yemen measure with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, marking the first time Congress has sent a War Powers resolution to the president’s desk. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who helped lead the House effort to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen, denounced Trump’s veto on Twitter. “With Trump’s veto of Bernie Sanders’ and my War Powers resolution, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress, he is risking the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians to famine, deadly airstrikes, and the war crimes of the Saudi regime,” Khanna wrote. “We must override his veto.” In a separate tweet, Khanna challenged Trump’s claim in his veto message that the Yemen measure represented “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken [his] constitutional authorities.” Trump’s veto was immediately praised by Anwar Gargash, foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key Saudi ally in the years-long assault on Yemen. According to a report published by the humanitarian group Save the Children last November, 85,000 Yemeni children under the age of five have died of malnutrition over the past three years, as the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition has relentlessly bombed the impoverished nation and restricted access to food and medicine. The United Nations has estimated that 14 million Yemenis—half the country’s population—are at risk of famine as the Saudi bombing continues with the help of American-made weapons and aircraft. “The people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who led the Senate effort to cut off U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. Amid the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Peace Action executive director Jon Rainwater urged Congress to “keep the pressure up and continue the fight to stop U.S. complicity.” “They must pull out the stops to confront this president who thinks starving millions of Yemenis is a price worth paying for high arms industry profits,” Rainwater said in a statement. “Congress should work to block arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition and cut off funding for U.S. military involvement in Yemen. They should raise hell in the run-up to the 2020 election and lay each new casualty of this war at Trump’s feet where they belong.”

Saudis are losing the war

Michael Horton, 3-26, 19, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/saudi-arabia-is-losing-the-war-in-yemen/, Saudi Arabia is Losing the War in Yemen As the war in Yemen marks the end of its fourth year this week, it is clear that, with the aid and complicity of the United States and United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have savaged an impoverished country. Yemen’s infrastructure has been laid waste to, as has some of its most productive farmland. The result has been the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. Yet despite this destruction, Yemen has turned into Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam. Ditto for the UAE. The two countries have sunk billions of dollars and countless troops and mercenaries into what has become a quagmire of catastrophic proportions. What they had hoped would be a decisively quick war has turned into an albatross, with the rest of the world now questioning their motivations and urging their Western helpmates to withdraw support immediately. The overt reason for Saudi and Emirati involvement is to defeat the Houthi rebels, a Zaidi Shia group with deep roots in Yemen. Yet this hasn’t been achieved. The two Gulf States claim that the Houthis are proxies for Iran, but it has become increasingly clear that they are fiercely independent, and while they receive limited aid from Tehran, they do not take orders. Saudi and Emirati leaders would do well to learn from Yemen’s 2,000-year history of draining the blood and coffers of imperial and lesser powers. The Yemenis defeated the Romans, the Ottoman Turks twice, and evicted the British in 1967. They also defeated the Egyptians who invaded in 1962. Much like the U.S. in Vietnam more than 40 years ago and more recently in Afghanistan, the goliath invaders are fighting a war of attrition, bleeding their resources, and losing whatever moral and political authority they might have had in the process. Advertisement But were they ever being honest about their real intentions in Yemen? Saudi Arabia and the UAE have armed and supported a mushrooming number of Yemeni militias and factions, some of which have ties to al-Qaeda. These policies have purposefully turned Yemen into a patchwork of warring fiefdoms. This is because the covert purpose of the “intervention” has less to do with perceived Iranian influence than it does with securing access to Yemen’s strategic real estate and its natural resources. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are engaged in a neo-colonial war for power, resources, and territory. The two countries, which are increasingly in competition with one another, are trying to carve Yemen up into spheres of influence. Because it has a slightly more competent mercenary army, the UAE has the lead over Saudi Arabia in this regard. It’s set up military bases throughout southern Yemen where it supports separatists of various stripes who want everything from an independent south Yemen to an Islamic emirate. Not content with just occupying the mainland, the UAE has also established bases on the once pristine Yemeni island of Socotra—a UNESCO world heritage site—and the island of Perim. Saudi Arabia is playing catch-up with its ally and is laying claim to the governorate of al-Mahra in eastern Yemen. There, Riyadh hopes to build a pipeline that will allow it to bypass the Strait of Hormuz. However, as in other parts of Yemen, the people are fighting to stop what many view as a land grab by a foreign power. Residents of al-Mahra protested the construction of a Saudi-funded madrassa that would have undoubtedly used Saudi schoolbooks, the same schoolbooks that were used by the Islamic State. Residents are also blocking the construction of a Saudi military base. Both countries have much to learn from America’s costly misadventures after 9/11. Despite fielding the world’s most capable armed forces and spending several trillion dollars, the U.S. failed to achieve its aims in Iraq or Afghanistan, a country that is in many respects similar to Yemen. In Iraq, the invasion destroyed much of that country and paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State, as well as driving Baghdad into Iran’s open arms. In both nations, new and deadlier strains of extremism grew out of the power vacuums that were created. Saudis Find Out Hard Way: Yemen Is Another Graveyard of Empires A Yemen Ceasefire? Believe It When You See It The war in Yemen will have similar results. By continuing to fight the Houthis, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are paradoxically strengthening their enemies and providing Iran with more fertile ground for its influence operations. The Houthis are superb fighters, but have shown less competence with regard to governance. The war and Saudi and Emirati airstrikes have enhanced the Houthis’ legitimacy by allowing them to do what they do best: fight. It may be years before Yemen is a unified country with a functioning government again. In fact, Yemen may never again be unified. However, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to ever see a return on their investment. Even a cursory reading of Yemen’s history would have told them this. And failing that, an examination of America’s failed wars should have dissuaded them from becoming involved in the first place. Without sustained international pressure on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran, the war in Yemen will continue for years to come. All the while, it will drain both the UAE and Saudi Arabia of billions of dollars, spawn new militant groups, and ionically provide Iran with more opportunities to expand its influence. Most critically, the war will continue to kill, maim, starve, and impoverish tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians. Ironically, while Yemen may never be conquered, there might not be anything left worth conquering in the end. Michael Horton is a foreign policy analyst who has written for numerous publications, including Intelligence Review, West Point CTC Sentinel, The Economist, The National Interest, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Turn – Abandoning US support makes the Saudis more reckless

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen Trump was right to veto the resolution. As the president mentioned in his statement, American involvement with the coalition is limited to logistical support—which includes identifying nonmilitary and civilian facilities for coalition aircraft to avoid. Tragically, this support has not avoided all civilian casualties, but it certainly has reduced them. Furthermore, the Pentagon ended its most direct military involvement—in-flight refueling of Saudi aircraft—last year, in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder. So the argument that the United States is supporting a belligerent Saudi war machine is not really accurate. Moreover, recall that Saudi Arabia launched its military campaign during the Obama administration, at a time when Riyadh felt it had to go rogue because the United States was an unreliable ally. The fact is ending American support for the coalition will, if anything, cause the Saudis to be more reckless, not less. Journalists and politicians fail to understand this basic point: allies are more likely to listen to Washington if they feel the United States supports them, not if they feel abandoned and pressured. And the United States has more influence when it is actively involved, not sitting back and watching events unfold from a distance.

Houthis will disrupt shipping routes, increasing oil prices

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen The most disturbing part about this congressional effort is the obvious motivation simply to punish Saudi Arabia, even at the expense of American interests. Like it or not, Saudi Arabia is an essential American ally. Riyadh is an important partner in counterterrorism, and a huge purchaser of American arms sales. The Saudis also are a necessary staple of the global oil market, which affects what Americans pay at the pump regardless of how much oil the United States exports. Not to mention that the Houthis (and Iran) would love control of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, one of the world’s busiest oil highways. The Houthis have threatened to disrupt international shipping in this waterway, with weapons supplied by Iran.

Allowing the Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia will destroy Middle East stability

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen Moreover, few developments would be more catastrophic for the Middle East than the collapse of the House of Saud. As chaotic as the Middle East is, the Saudi government’s stability is one of the few threads keeping the region from reaching a deeper circle of hell. Allowing the Houthis to fire missiles at Riyadh and pose a constant threat on Saudi Arabia’s southern border risks destabilizing a key pillar of American interests in the Middle East. Khashoggi’s murder was heinous, and the administration’s moves to end the in-flight refueling and to impose sanctions on Saudi officials were warranted. But it would be the height of folly to blow up the alliance.

Houthis are the aggressors

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen Members of Congress should absolutely want to end the humanitarian suffering in Yemen. Indeed, the United States should continue to support the United Nations’ efforts to end the conflict. But abandoning Saudi Arabia would only perpetuate the violence. Too often lost in discussions about Yemen is the fact that the Houthis’s brutal and incompetent governance has worsened the humanitarian disaster. They have failed to repair sanitation services, worsening Yemen’s cholera epidemic, and have confiscated food and medical aid from civilians to support their fighters. The Houthis have also used child soldiers to field more fighters. The Saudis have certainly waged a clumsy and incompetent war, but too many critics are blinded by their hate of Riyadh to see the Houthis for the monsters that they are. And that does not include their anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic ideology, which is all too evident in their slogan: “Death to America, death to Israel, curse upon the Jews, victory to Islam!” Perhaps self-righteous journalists and politicians can find some time to criticize the Houthis, not just the Saudis. In sum, the United States cannot lose sight of the key strategic objective in Yemen: to prevent the creation of a southern Hezbollah, which would enhance Iran’s nefarious influence in the Middle East and only perpetuate violence and suffering. That means continuing American support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, as hard a pill as that may be to swallow. Previous Daily Updates