Samuel Oakford reports on a welcome measure from the Senate:
Two US Senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would halt future sales of aerial munitions to Saudi Arabia until President Obama verifies that the Saudi government is respecting international humanitarian law in waging war in Yemen, that it doesn’t support listed terrorist groups, and that it is pursuing all measures to eradicate al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said that in light of the civilian toll of the US-backed Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the White House must ensure that American weapons are not being used in attacks on innocents.
If the legislation became law, it would represent a meaningful step in cutting off some of the arms supply to the Saudis, and it would reduce the extent of U.S. involvement in the ongoing war. Since the Saudi-led coalition has been committing war crimes in Yemen for the last year and has been largely ignoring the rise of AQAP’s mini-state, the administration would not be able to verify that the Saudis are meeting most of the conditions listed in the bill. While it would be ideal to put a halt to future arms sales to the Saudis and their allies all together, this bill has a better chance of winning broader support. Even so, it will be difficult to get the bill through. As Oakford goes on to say, “winning approval of the resolution is expected to be an uphill battle in Washington” because “the arms industry will likely lobby heavily” against it.
Regardless, Sens. Murphy and Paul deserve a lot of credit for taking on an issue that has mostly been ignored by their colleagues in the Senate, and Americans that want to try putting a stop to at least part of the U.S. role in the war on Yemen can urge their members of Congress to support this important legislation. Murphy and Paul are to be commended for being some of the only people in Congress to challenge the administration on its indefensible support for the Saudi-led war.