Defying the US CongressTrump declares national emergency to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, UAE

This has to be somewhat concerning.

A few days ago from Reuters – Trump administration may use Iran threat to sell bombs to Saudis without Congress’ approval: senator

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration plans to use a loophole and rising tensions with Iran to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia, even though Congress blocked such sales for months over concerns about civilian deaths in the war in Yemen, Senator Chris Murphy said on Wednesday.

“I am hearing that Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act and notice a major new sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they drop in Yemen) in a way that would prevent Congress from objecting. Could happen this week,” the Democratic senator warned on Twitter.

Congressional aides said there are provisions of the Arms Control Act, which sets rules for international arms transactions, that would allow a president to approve a sale without congressional review in case of a national emergency.

In this case, they said the Republican president would cite rising tensions with Iran as a reason to provide more military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which he sees as an important U.S. partner in the region. Trump has touted arms sales to the Saudis as a way to generate U.S. jobs.

Trump previously declared an influx of immigrants a national emergency to bypass Congress and get $6 billion to build his wall along the Mexican border. Both Democrats and his fellow Republicans voted to block the move, forcing Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency.

Now from Reuters: Defying Congress, Trump sets $8 billion-plus in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

U.S. President Donald Trump, declaring a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress on Friday to complete the sale of over $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

The Trump administration informed congressional committees that it will go ahead with 22 military sales to the Saudis, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, infuriating lawmakers by circumventing a long-standing precedent for congressional review of major weapons sales.

Several of Trump’s fellow Republicans, as well as Democrats, said they would object to such a plan, fearing that blowing through the “holds” process would eliminate Congress’ ability to check not just Trump but future presidents from selling weapons where they liked.

Representative Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said the administration’s action was “unfortunate” and likely to damage future White House interactions with Congress.

“I would have strongly preferred for the administration to utilize the long-established and codified arms sale review process,” McCaul said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that U.S. partners in the Middle East needed the contracts to be completed to help deter Iran, and that the decision to circumvent Congress was meant to be a “one-time event.”

In his memorandum justifying the emergency declaration, Pompeo listed years of actions by Iran. “Iranian malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad,” he wrote, and cited “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Tehran.

Trump’s administration also announced that it was sending 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East, which it described as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran against what it sees as a threat of potential attack.

Members of Congress from both parties have worried that Trump is pushing toward war with Iran.

War with Congress, war with Iran – is there nothing that Trump can’t do?

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  26th May 2019

    Waiting for him to lift steel and aluminium tariffs now we are spending a billion on the Orion replacement.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th May 2019

    Open war with Congress will continue until the next election and maybe beyond.

    The UK is little better.

    Reply
  3. david in aus

     /  26th May 2019

    Trump is being consistent: National Interest overrides Human Rights.
    Airbus is suffering financially from Germany’s export ban on Saudi Arabia. The decision to stop exports of Armament will reverberate for decades for those countries linking Armament exports and Human Rights. The decision to ban exports may last a year but it will affect the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia for a generation. Congress needs to look at the big picture, is economic security i.e. energy prices/jobs, worth overlooking nasty regimes. And also where do you draw the line? Democrats and Republicans had similar views on Foreign Policy until it seems now.

    Frankly, Human Rights seem to only matter if it is in the News. Saudi Arabia had terrible Human Rights records before the Khashoggi case.
    In the West, people seem to want to protest Trump when he visits but not leaders of other leaders who multitudes worse. Double standards? For all his bombast, Trump is not a war criminal or wants war. Compared with his predecessors, who all started military conflicts, Trump has been reluctant.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  26th May 2019

      So Obama started a military conflict ( which one?) and it wasnt Trump who attacked Syria ( laughed at Obamas red line) and sent US troops there

      The Airbus plane , was a small military cargo plane C295, which no one has heard of, mostly built in Spain with very minor German content. The big Saudi arms exporters, UK and France are looking the other way

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  26th May 2019

      I find several things interesting about the present situation.

      The “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings from Tehran” haven’t been disclosed & sound very much like the dishonest intelligence assessments relied on to invade Iraq, so volubly pushed out by people like John Bolton at the time in 2003.

      Saudi reports that four of their oil tankers were damaged by “Iranian elements” seem very dodgy to me. I saw one of these tankers on Al Jazeera tv. The “damage” was so minimal & superficial (basically a small dent above the waterline) I suspect that the Saudis actually did it themselves. Their utter dishonesty is legendary.

      The threats coming from Tehran seem to me to be the same as always, & include the usual threats to “sink their ships” if they attack Iran, & to destroy America – stock standard rhetorical bombast they haven’t got a hope in hell of actually doing, especially if the yanks adopt their usual tactic these days of attacking with long range missiles & keeping their own troops right out of harm’s way, getting other allies’ ground forces to do any dirty work on the ground.

      The Saudis, UAE, & Israel all have vested interests in sucking the US into attacking Iran, & Bolton & probably Pompeo no doubt still want achieve regime change there by going to war with them.

      The biggest problem with this idea is that the whole Middle East is a nightmare of wars & squabbles already.

      Assad & Russia recently started air & ground attacks on rebel forces & general in the areas around Idlib (which was & is inevitable) & subsequently lost most of the ground they took when the rebels mounted a counter-attack. The rebels they attacked are one of the groups formerly aligned with Al Qaeda.

      Tripoli has been under attack for some weeks now by some rebel general (forget his name), reportedly supplied with arms – despite a UN arms embargo – by the UAE & Egypt.

      That whole place is chronically unstable. Every time any country or regime there has been displaced in recent times the Muslim fundamentalists or some dictatorial regime that will sooner or later inspire a popular revolt seems to end up either in charge or wrecking the place.

      The law of unintended consequences is what should be bothering everyone the most when it comes to sabre-rattling anywhere in the Middle East. I don’t think you can probably trust anybody in that region, & you certainly can’t bet on any good outcome if contemplating starting another war there. More refugees heading into Europe?

      Probably the wisest thing for the Iranians to do is to wind back the rhetoric & take a breather. But its not in their DNA.

      Reply
  4. Also in the Middle East:

    Reply

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