Senate War Hawks Block Sen. Rand Paul’s Bid to Block Arms Sales to Bahrain
NOVEMBER 15, 2018 BY
Today the US Senate voted 77-21 to kill a proposal made by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul which would block US arms sales to the GCC monarchy of Bahrain who is also a member of the Saudi ‘coalition’ in its illegal war on Yemen now approaching its forth year. Democratic war hawk Bob Menendez (D-NJ) led the opposition to Paul’s bill on military strategic grounds as Bahrain is host to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. At the same time, Menendez and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced another bill which they claim will curtail arms to Saudi Arabia, entitled the “Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2018,” sponsored by three Democrats and two Republicans.
This comes on the heels of US sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals to try and pressure Riyadh into a ‘credible investigation’ into the murder of the supposed “dissident journalist” Jamal Khashoggi.
“This legislation is an important way to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for various acts in Yemen as well as the death of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Graham.
More and more, this looks like a convenient exit being engineered by Washington from a very unpopular and highly illegal war which its been involved in from day one under Barack Obama. The fact that they now won’t let go of the Bahrain arms deal proves that what we are witnessing now is merely Punch ‘n Judy for the international media.
In a 21-77 vote on Thursday, the Senate rejected a bill from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) aiming to block a $300 million arms sale to Bahrain. The bill was heavily opposed by the White House.
Bahrain is among the participants in the Saudi-led, US-backed war in Yemen, and failing to secure the arms deal might’ve obliged them to quit the conflict. This was seen as a major goal of the bill, to both pare back the Yemen War in general, and US involvement in supporting the invasion in particular.
Widespread killing of civilians and general war crimes in Yemen have some in Congress looking to get the US out of Yemen. There seems to be more support for this in the House, though the House leadership has twice changed rules at the last minute to prevent direct votes on US involvement in Yemen.
Today’s vote suggests that the Senate is still broadly in line with the administration’s priorities of increasing arms sales irrespective of the human rights consequences. Bahrain’s status as host of the US Fifth Fleet also had some senators arguing that the tiny island nation is simply too important to cross.
READ MORE YEMEN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Yemen Files
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