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Trump Keeps Indulging Our Reckless Gulf Clients

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to send the Saudis and their allies more weapons:

The Trump administration is poised to move quickly to approve major weapons packages for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that President Obama blocked during his final months in office over human rights concerns in both nations, U.S. officials and congressional sources say.

While the White House declined to discuss its plans, one U.S. official directly involved in the transfers told The Washington Times that a roughly $300 million precision-guided missile technology package for Riyadh and a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal for Bahrain are now in the pipeline ready for clearance from the new administration.

The Obama administration’s decision to block the shipment to the Saudis was part of a belated, mostly meaningless gesture to protest the indiscriminate Saudi-led bombing campaign that it had supported from the start, but it was better than nothing. Obviously the Saudis and their allies haven’t changed their behavior in Yemen since then: they are still bombing civilian targets and starving the country with their blockade. Releasing these weapons to them now would confirm that Trump is willing to be even more of an enabler of coalition war crimes than Obama was. That isn’t a surprise, but it is another indication that the shameful U.S. support for the war on Yemen is going to increase.

The report concludes:

The Obama administration’s sudden resistance in December had also sent “a concrete message” to the Saudis that “we’re not going to tolerate their indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Yemen,” he added.

“To lift that now, without some indication from the Saudis that they’re going to stop doing it, makes no sense,” Mr. Hartung said.

It doesn’t make sense if one expects the U.S. to penalize its clients for their wrongdoing, but if one wants to indulge them in their worst behavior it is exactly the thing to do.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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