Nov 13, 2018

After a heated and divisive midterm campaign season, now is the perfect time to work together on an issue that has real bipartisan support: immediately stop future arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
 
The horrendous murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the attempted cover-up were just the most recent in a series of transgressions committed by the Saudi regime, and Americans are starting to wise up to their actions. The growing outrage among politicians in particular is long overdue. For too long, Washington has allowed the Saudis to get a pass because they are a financial ally and supposedly also a political one.
 
The war in Yemen has been fueled by U.S. weapons and funding given to Saudi Arabia. This war has resulted in over 10,000 civilian deaths, and increased rhetoric from U.S. officials hasn’t yet yielded change. The Washington Post noted on Nov. 2 that “[c]lashes erupted in a strategic Yemeni port city and airstrikes pummeled the country’s capital on Friday, as the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition launched a fresh offensive in the Middle East’s poorest country, two days after an American call for a cease-fire.” The Saudis clearly aren’t listening, and a question I have is how does our support for a civil war in Yemen enhance our national security? Furthermore, when was our support authorized?
 
A war, by any other name, is still a war regardless of the politically correct niceties and labels that may be put on it elsewhere in the media. The Constitution explicitly requires that our involvement be authorized by Congress, which has not done so with Yemen. Why did we allow the Saudis to use American-made planes with American bombs refueled by American pilots to attack and kill civilians in Yemen?  Without our weapons, logistical, and intelligence support, the Saudi war effort would collapse on itself in short order. 
 
This is an issue that many of my colleagues across the aisle have taken note of, as well. When Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and I forced a vote on selling arms to the Saudis in June 2017, we achieved a total of 47 senators voting against the sale, falling only a few votes short. This represented a serious bipartisan push to finally, among other reasons, end the taxpayers’ unwitting aid for the war in Yemen.
 
Saudi Arabia’s track record goes well beyond destruction in Yemen and murdering journalists. It is no secret that Saudi Arabia has a troubling record on human rights, especially with women, minorities, and other religious believers. You would be hard-pressed to find another nation with such oppressive, medieval and barbaric views as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have completely refused to follow fair and ethical laws, with Human Rights Watch noting thousands of detainees being “held for over six months without a conviction or their ‘case file under judicial review,’ including 2,949 for more than a year and 770 for over three years.” This is also a regime that not only finds it perfectly acceptable to execute minors but to crucify them in public.
 
Saudi Arabia is also one of the largest sponsors of radical Islamic terrorism, and The New York Times reported in 2016 that “the Saudis — through private or covert channels — have tacitly supported the Taliban in ways that make the kingdom an indispensable power broker.” This behavior continues as a trend the United States government can no longer ignore. We must ask ourselves, are the Saudis the friends we think they are?
 
I think we know the answer. So we then move to the natural follow-up question: what do we do about it? 
 
The most obvious solution, and the one I have pushed for many times, is to immediately halt weapons sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia. A nation that acts so diametrically opposite to America’s values does not deserve any American weaponry. Americans do not and should not support human rights violations nor the dismissal of law and order. We should never support funding terrorism around the world.
 
This is America’s rallying point - an issue every Republican, Democrat and independent can stand behind. It is time we stand up for our values and cut off assistance to this barbaric regime to help force a change in their practices. Again, without America’s aid, their military infrastructure would collapse and prove how heavily they rely on our support and weapons. That is our leverage, and it is the best tool we have to stop these detestable acts. I urge Congress to come together and take action on this bipartisan issue.

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/416509-we-need-a-bipartisan-issue-to-unite-us-saudi-arabia-is