U.S. to go ahead with cotroversial $1B weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

U.S. to go ahead with cotroversial $1B weapons sale to Saudi Arabia

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday backed the Obama administration’s plan to sell more than $1 billion worth of M1A2 Abrams tanks and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia despite concerns over increasing Saudi attacks against civilians in Yemen with a total of 180 civilians killed in one month, raising the death toll to nearly 4000 since March 2015.

Cecile Pouilly of the UNHCR said on Friday that August also marked an increase in the number of attacks against civilian facilities including hospitals, markets, and places of worship.

Her statement came only two days after airstrikes by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition bombed houses in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, killing at least 32 civilians.

Meanwhile, Houthis have stepped up their attacks on the Saudi-backed forces and the Saudi Army.

“Blocking this sale of tanks will be interpreted by our Gulf partners, not just Saudi Arabia, as another sign that the United States of America is abandoning our commitment to the region and is an unreliable security partner,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

A resolution against the sale failed with a vote of 71 to 27. Senators backing the resolution later said that the debate demonstrated that congressional support for arms sales even to a longtime and important Middle East ally isn’t automatic.

The United States is supporting the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence and logistical support, including refueling aircraft, according to senators opposed to the sale.

 

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