John Hudson reports on growing discontent in Congress over the administration’s arms sales to the Saudis:
In a sign that frustration is growing in Congress over Saudi Arabia, a bipartisan group of 60 lawmakers have signed a letter seeking to delay the Obama administration’s planned sale of $1.15 billion in arms and military equipment to Riyadh.
These members of Congress deserve a lot of credit for taking on a difficult task in challenging the administration over its support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. They may or may not succeed in delaying this latest sale, but they are doing important work just by putting the policy of uncritical backing for the Saudis and their allies under the scrutiny that has been needed for more than a year. They are bringing much-needed attention to the Obama administration’s irresponsible and indefensible enabling of reckless client states and the destruction those states have wrought in Yemen. I was especially heartened to see that Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan was one of the letter’s signatories. This is exactly the sort of essential oversight work that Congress should be doing, but which most members fail or refuse to do.
The report concludes:
“This is a first step, which shows that members of Congress are increasingly ready to move from expressing private concerns to the administration to taking public action to reduce U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen,” said Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy.
A year ago, there were very few members of Congress that publicly opposed Obama’s policy of enabling the Saudi-led war, and now there are five dozen willing to take a public position against more arms for the Saudis. Congress is still a long way from reining in a disastrous and monstrous policy in Yemen, but this is the most promising sign yet that many members of Congress want to do so.
Update: A copy of the letter with the members’ signatures can be found here. 64 members of Congress in total have signed the letter.