Alwaght – The US Senate's foreign relations committee approved legislation on Tuesday that would restrict President's ability to sale arms without congressional review, underscoring lawmakers’ anger over Donald Trump's approval of $8 billion in military deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The bill, dubbed the Saudi Arabia False Emergencies (SAFE) Act, was approved in the Republican-majority Senate Foreign Relations Committee days after the full Senate approved 22 separate resolutions of disapproval of the transactions.
The disapproval resolutions did not garner enough support to overcome Trump’s promised veto. But lawmakers pledged not to let the issue go, rejecting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s insistence that the alleged threat from Iran justified pursuing the sales despite human rights concerns and civilian casualties from the two countries’ aggression on Yemen.
Saudi regime and its staunch ally the UAE have been leading a deadly campaign against impoverished Yemeni nation since March 2015 to restore the puppet regime of Mansour Hadi into power.
The brutal aggression has so far claimed lives of over 91,000 people, The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a NGO tracking political violence around the world, reported on 19 June.
The Saud-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
The committee approved the measure by voice vote, with only Republican Senator Mitt Romney asking to be recorded as a “no.” It was not immediately clear when the act might be considered by the full Senate.
The Senate's legislation would restrict the emergency authorities in the Arms Control law to use only for the closest US security partners, such as NATO members and Australia, Israeli regime, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Trump’s fellow Republicans control a majority in the Senate, but several joined with Democrats to call for a strong response to Riyadh, more so since the murder at a Saudi consulate in Turkey last year of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident.