Joining Germany and Norway, Spain has become the latest arms supplier to Saudi Arabia to halt its sales of weapons because of the coalition’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen:
Spain says it has cancelled the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia amid fears that the weapons could be used in the Riyadh-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The deal was originally signed in 2015 under Spain’s former conservative government, but the new center-left administration plans to return the 9.2 million euros ($10.6 million) already paid by the Saudis, Cadena SER radio reported on Tuesday.
The Spanish government’s decision is a welcome one, and it shows that Western governments can and must stop supporting Saudi Arabia while it wages a pitiless and unnecessary war against its poor neighbor. The U.S. should follow the example of the European allies that have rightly chosen to stop fueling the war on Yemen. The U.S. is a much larger arms supplier to the Saudis, and so it has far more leverage than other states, but to date our government has refused to exercise the considerable leverage it has to halt the coalition’s bombing campaign. Sen. Rand Paul calls for doing just that in a recent op-ed:
I also teamed up with my colleague Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in a bipartisan attempt to shine the light on our actions in Yemen by halting some arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
This is important, because this is how we are involved in Yemen, in a partnership with the Saudis. Much like Libya and Syria, we are acting in a baffling way that does not serve our interests.
The Saudis and their allies rely heavily on U.S. military assistance, so if it is withdrawn they will be unable to continue their campaign. Unlike some other governments that have supported this war, the U.S. has the influence and the means to put an end to it. Our involvement in this war is unauthorized, it is wrong, it serves no American interests, and it has contributed to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Congress has the ability to end that involvement, it needs to do so as soon as possible. The Senate had the chance to withdraw all support from the Saudi coalition earlier this year, and they failed, but there is still time to rectify that terrible mistake.