To continue plundering billions of dollars from the kingdom, US President Donald Trump has blocked three congressional decisions to stop controversial arms sales to Saudi Arabia and their allies in the wake of their criminal war in Yemen.
Trump said in a letter to the Senate justifying his move that these decisions “weaken the competitiveness of the United States at the international level and harm the important relations that we have with our allies and partners.”
It is the third time that Trump uses his veto power to Congress.
Congress adopted the measures this month in a blow to Trump, whose administration took an extraordinary step by bypassing parliamentarians and approving the sale in May.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time that the administration was responding to an emergency caused by Iran. But members of Congress, including some Senate Republicans, said there were no legitimate reasons to bypass Congress, which has the right to reject arms deals.
The White House had argued that stopping the sale would send a signal that the US did not stand by its partners and allies, particularly at a time when threats against them were increasing.
He said the Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “a bulwark against the harmful activities of Iran and its partners in the region,” pointing out that the arms sales blocked by Congress increase the capabilities of the two allies to “prevent these threats and defend themselves in the face of Iran.”
“For these reasons, it is my duty to return these decisions to the Senate without my consent.”
Trump’s administration allowed the sale of these billions of dollars worth of weapons at the end of May, turning it to Congress, citing an emergency situation caused by Iran.
But members of the House of Representatives, angered by the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October and the conflict in Yemen, voted last week for a series of measures aimed at preventing the sale of these weapons to Saudi Arabia and its ally the UAE in particular.
Since the intervention of the Saudi alliance, the conflict has killed some 10,000 people and caused “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world” with millions of people on the verge of famine, the United Nations says.
Human rights organizations and political leaders in the world consistently condemn the role of the Saud family in practices against Yemeni civilians.
But for the US president, preventing the sale of weapons to Suadi Arabia and “limiting the capabilities of our partners to produce and purchase precision munitions will likely prolong the war in Yemen and exacerbate the suffering it causes.”
“By undermining bilateral relations with the United States by blocking our ability to support our key partners at a crucial moment, the resolution will hurt the efforts to end the conflict in Yemen,” Trump said. “The United States is deeply concerned about the impact of the conflict on innocent civilians.”
“Without submunitions, there will probably be more – not fewer – civilians who are victims of the conflict,” he said.