Bipartisan efforts in U.S. Congress seek to ban further Saudi arms deals

Mideast YemenThe highly reputable American Arms Control Association, in its latest Issue Brief, chronicles bipartisan efforts in the U.S. Congress to stop new arms deals and new shipments under existing deals to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. See: Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Should be Rejected (Jeff Abramson, Arms Control Association Issue Brief Volume 9, Issue 3, May 2017).

The Trump administration initiative [to sell precision-guided missiles worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Saudi Arabia] ignores Saudi Arabia’s repeated failure to avoid civilian targets and would compound the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen that is largely the consequence of the devastating conflict there.”

UN expert reports, in addition to chronicling likely war crimes by Saudi Arabia in its indiscriminate targeting of civilians, also conclude there is no military solution to the Yemeni conflict, and that the flow of new weapons into the region will only further exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation.

‘On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every ten minutes.”

A press release supporting a bipartisan bill in Congress to block the precision guided missile sale stated in part:

The Saudis are important partners in the Middle East, but they have continued to disregard [USA] advice when it comes to target selection and civilian protection. We have an obligation to ensure U.S. military support is not being used to kill innocent civilians….”

The Issue Brief also questions how U.S. security goals are being advanced by continued support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen:

…[A]s long as the United States provides weaponry and assistance to Saudi war-fighting, the Saudis appear to have no incentive to offer a political solution.”

The Arms Control Association also cites the “landmark Arms Trade Treaty” to which the USA is a signatory as a further reason for denying arms transfers at risk of being used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

Turning now to Canada, Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason comments:

The fact that the American Congress is currently looking at ways to prevent new Saudi arms deals as well as shipments of weapons under existing deals surely begs the question as to how exactly Canada can continue to justify business as usual with our 15 billion Saudi arms deal”.

For the full Arms Control Association Issue Brief, click here: Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Should be Rejected (Jeff Abramson, Arms Control Association Issue Brief Volume 9, Issue 3, May 2017).

For a recent Ceasefire.ca blog on Canada’s impending accession to the Arms Trade Treaty, click: Key Questions about Canada’s Arms Trade Treaty Legislation (27 April, 2017).

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia images.

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4 Responses to “Bipartisan efforts in U.S. Congress seek to ban further Saudi arms deals”

  1. Judy ForsythMay 19, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

    Such a significant issue! Another bow to the corporate agenda from our PM. Thanks for all you are doing to protest this misguided deal. Please keep it up.

  2. Angus CunninghamMay 18, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

    I had disappointment to learn that it was Justin Trudeau and only Justin Trudeau who signed the papers for Canada’s arms deal with the Saudis. Given that the power balance in Washington is shifting against the short-sighted judgments of its new president, isn’t it time for Trudeau, our Minister of Defence, and Chrystia Freeland to revisit the legality of that deal?

  3. Angie MorrisMay 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    I am ashamed and horrified that Canada continues to supply arms to the Saudi government which is slaughtering men, women and children in Yemen. There is absolutely no justification for supplying arms to such a regime.

  4. J.WMay 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

    To see the trapped people suffering in Yemen because of Saudi cruelty and destruction should make every Canadian think twice about our complicity in that suffering. It was very troublesome to hear Justin Trudeau blaming Harper for “the deal” Canada made. It was justin Trudeau and only Justin Trudeau who signed the papers for that deal. I wonder if Mr. Dion agreed with what Trudeau was doing before he got replaced in foreign affairs?