ACTION ALERT Stop Arming the Middle East
(November 25, 2020) — This week, as you are reflecting on what you are thankful for, put on the top of your list the tireless work of Representative Ilhan Omar to end US militarism.
We have just two weeks to stop the Trump administration’s disastrous weapons deal with the UAE Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced legislation — tell your Congress members to join in!
For weeks now, we have been asking members of Congress to speak out and act to stop the Trump administration’s dangerous $23 billion weapons deal with the United Arab Emirates that Trump offered in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel. We write to you today with an exciting update: Ilhan Omar in the House and Chris Murphy, Robert Menendez, and Rand Paul in the Senate have introduced legislation!
This legislation comes just in time. The thirty-day window for Congress to stop the sale ends on December 10, so we must act quickly. According to the Senate legislation from Murphy, Menendez, and Paul, the Trump administration has circumvented the standard review process, which includes a Congressional review period, in a naked attempt to rush this sale. On top of this, the State Department and the Pentagon have failed to respond to the Senators’ inquiries about the sale.
As usual, Rep. Omar is on point in her opposition to the deal. In a press release for her legislation, she points to the UAE’s war crimes in Yemen and Libya,its role in the Darfur genocide, its interference in Sudan’s democracy, and a plethora of other human rights abuses. “Amidst a deadly pandemic,” she says, “we should be investing in our own communities here at home, not selling weapons to help dictators commit human rights abuses.”
We couldn’t agree more with Ilhan and we want more members of Congress to join her! Contact your senators and representative now!
If Trump’s arms deal — F-35 fighter jets, 14,000 bombs and munitions, and 18 Reaper drones — goes through, it is likely to have disastrous implications for the entire Middle East and the world for decades to come. In fact, it will be the second-largest sale of US drones to a single country in our history.
We have seen the effects of pouring weapons into the Middle East and we know who pays the consequences. For the sake of the Yemeni people and so many others in the Middle East, we can’t allow it to happen again. We are grateful to Rep. Omar and her colleagues in the Senate for being the first to act against this deadly deal — but we need many more members of Congress on board. We have only two weeks to convince Congress to block the US-UAE weapons deal. Contact your senators and representative now!
As we go into Thanksgiving — a holiday built on racism, settler-colonialism, and violence — we must pledge to do all that we can to finally bring an end to the endless cycle of profiteering off of suffering and death. Omar, Murphy, Menendez, and Paul have given us the tool. Now it is up to us to get more legislators to join them. Act now!
I am writing to you as your constituent with deep concern about the United States’ massive weapons deal with the United Arab Emirates. This deal will have disastrous implications for the Middle East and the world, and I implore you to oppose it.
After weeks of discussions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced that the Trump administration will move forward with its plan to sell $23.37 billion in advanced military equipment, including F-35 fighter jets, 14,000 bombs and munitions, and 18 Reaper drones. If it goes through, it would be the second-largest sale of US drones to a single country. If this deal passes, it will have dire consequences for the Middle East and the world.
While the UAE is no longer formally involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the UAE remains involved behind the scenes and is in part responsible for the immense suffering that has occurred in Yemen over the past five-plus years of war. The Saudi-UAE coalition led airstrikes on multiple hospitals, creating a gap in Yemen’s healthcare infrastructure. With the help of the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen has resulted in one of the largest cholera outbreaks in modern history, one of the highest COVID death rates in the world, and over fifteen million people facing food insecurity.
The UAE has also been found guilty of defying a United Nations arms embargo to supply weapons to Libya. It supported the Assad regime in Syria, accused of using chemical weapons, and has allowed military equipment bought from the US to slip into the hands of al-Qaeda. On top of all of this, the UAE is a repressive dictatorship. For all of these reasons, it is criminal for the US to supply the UAE with even more weapons.
According to Murphy, Menendez, and Paul, the Trump administration, in its attempt to rush this sale has circumvented the standard review process, which includes a congressional review period, and the State Department and the Pentagon have failed to respond to the Senators’ inquiries about the sale. Additionally, the outgoing Trump administration should not be taking major foreign policy actions during the presidential transition period.
I am making two requests of you. First, do everything in your power to stop the passage of this deal. Colleagues of yours from both parties and both chambers of Congress — Rep. Ilhan Omar in the House and Sens. Robert Menendez, Chris Murphy, and Rand Paul in the Senate — have introduced legislation to block the deal, pointing to its dangerous implications and the UAE’s shady track record. I commend these congresspeople for taking initiative to stop this deal, and I ask you to support their legislation.
Second, in any statements you issue, name the crisis the UAE has caused in Yemen and its supply of weapons to Libya. Additionally, include that military assistance to Israel should be cut or conditioned rather than expanded — this is an issue of preventing violence and militarization, not one of protecting Israel’s dominance in the region.
This deal, should it pass through Congress, will have devastating effects on the Middle East and the world for decades to come. The thirty-day window for blocking the sale ends on December 10, so you must act quickly. I am calling on you as my congressperson to stand up to the Trump administration in its final weeks and prevent the US from further arming the Middle East. Thank you.
Toward peace in the Middle East and around the world,
Ariel, Carley, Angela, Ann, Caty, Cody, Danaka, Emily, Farida, Jodie, Kelsey, Koohan, Leila, Leonardo, Maxine, Mary, Medea, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, Teri, and Yousef
P.S.: CODEPINK and Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation are starting a Yemen Cultural Series called “Beyond the War”. Tune in on December 17th for a discussion on Yemeni Futurism with Yemeni-Bosnian-US artist Alia Ali. RSVP here.