US Senator Chris Murphy along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Ron Wyden, and Senator Patty Murray, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US Senators are seeking to block at least a portion of US President Donald Trump's massive sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, amid fresh disputes among Persian Gulf nations.
“I think, if you were to ask the general public, should we be at war in Yemen or supporting war in Yemen, I think most people would say, ‘where?’” Republican Senator Rand Paul told the POLITICO on Thursday. “I think there should be a valid debate on it.”
Paul said that he expected to draw the majority of Democrats as well as a handful of Republicans for a vote, adding that he believes “the general public is with us.”
Paul and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Al Franken introduced a resolution of disapproval in the Senate last month to force a vote on whether to block about $500 million of the $110 billion arms deal negotiated in Riyadh on May 20.
Earlier, Paul had said that he opposes the arms deal because Riyadh supports terror groups and could use the weapons in the war against Yemen.
“We need to send the Saudis a message that they need to get serious about the humanitarian nightmare inside Yemen,” said Murphy, on Tuesday at a meeting to boost support for blocking the Trump sales.
“Unfortunately, the administration has not used these weapons sales to apply that conditionality. But a strong message from the US Senate that they don't have a blank check from the Congress would be very important.”
Trump has said he wants to encourage international weapons sales as a way to create jobs in the United States.
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (L) meets with US President Donald Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that his recent visit to the region prompted Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and several other countries to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding radical terrorist groups.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Trump tweeted. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”
Saudi Arabia has long had a dispute with Qatar, but the tensions intensified last month when Qatar’s state-run news agency released comments attributed to the Qatari emir in which he described Iran as a force for stability and accused the Saudis of promoting extremism.
Since 2011, the Saudi regime has also been sponsoring Takfiri terrorists fighting against the Syrian government, which has left hundreds of thousands people dead and millions more displaced.

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