On Wednesday, the US Senate is voting on resolutions condemning the sale of more than $ 23 billion in arms to the United Arab Emirates, which was planned by the Donald Trump administration.
It is expected that the resolutions will not receive sufficient support in the Senate to overcome the presidential veto. According to the law, December 10 is the last day that Congress can block arms sales to the UAE.
A group of bipartisan senators who submitted the resolutions argue that the White House plan did not go through the proper congressional process for such a massive military supply, leaving unanswered questions from lawmakers about the purpose of the sales and the security of arms supplies to the UAE.
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, speaking at the Senate session on Wednesday, said that preliminary consultations with Congress were necessary due to the fact that the deal is very “large-scale, risky and complex.”
“This is the first time we are selling F-35 fighters and MQ-9 drones … to the Middle East. This has never been done before, ”Murphy said.
The human rights group Amnesty International has criticized the sale of American drones and other weapons to the UAE, saying that the emirates will use these weapons to participate in the Yemeni civil war.
“The United States must in every possible way refrain from supplying weapons that could be used in this conflict, and not sell weapons to the UAE, risking complicity in possible war crimes committed in Yemen,” Amnesty International said in a November statement.
According to the Department of State, the total volume of the UAE arms sale is $ 23.37 billion, including 50 F-35 Lighting aircraft worth over $ 10 billion and unmanned aerial systems worth $ 3 billion, as well as air-to-air missiles. and $ 10 billion air-to-ground.
The UAE and Israel signed a peace agreement last month that paved the way for normalization of relations between the two countries. Commenting on the agreement’s conclusion, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in November that it “provides a unique opportunity to change the strategic landscape of the region for the better. Our opponents, especially in Iran, are aware of this and will stop at nothing to impede the overall success. The proposed sale (of weapons) is helping to improve interaction between the UAE and the United States. “
However, the speed with which the deal was struck has prompted US lawmakers to ask the administration a host of unanswered questions.
“We are well aware of the threat that Iran continues to pose to US national security interests. But we still have not figured out how (fighter jets) F-35s or combat drones will help in the fight against Iran, ”Senator Bob Menendez, a leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday.
The resolutions were presented by Menendez and Murphy in conjunction with Republican Senator Rand Paul. A similar resolution has also been submitted to the House of Representatives.