Senators Make Tri-partisan Push to
Block $650 Million Missile Sale to Saudis
Dave DeCamp /AntiWar.com
(November 19, 2021) — A group of bipartisan senators is pushing to block an arms sale to Saudi Arabia that was recently approved by the Biden administration. The potential deal is for $650 million worth of air-to-air missiles, missile launchers, and other related equipment.
Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a resolution of disapproval that would block the missile sale on Thursday, citing Saudi war crimes in Yemen.
“A message needs to be sent to Saudi Arabia that we don’t approve of their war with Yemen,” Paul said in a statement. “By participating in this sale, we would not only be rewarding reprehensible behavior but also exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”
Last week, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced a similar resolution. “It is simply unconscionable to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia while they continue to slaughter innocent people and starve millions in Yemen, kill and torture dissidents, and support modern-day slavery,” Omar said in a statement.
The US is still supporting the Saudi-led coalition Despite President Biden’s vow in February to end all support for “offensive” operations in Yemen. The Pentagon is still servicing Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen, and without such support, Saudi Arabia’s air force would quickly be grounded.
Saudi warplanes have been pounding Yemen in recent months, mostly around the city of Maarib. Since June, about 15,000 Houthis have been killed.
The US-backed war and blockade on Yemen has caused widespread disease and mass starvation in the country. The UN warned in February that if conditions don’t change, 400,000 children under the age of five will starve to death in 2021. This means hundreds of thousands of children may have already died since the warning was made.
At Least 400,000 Yemeni Children Under Five
Could Starve to Death in 2021 — UN Report
(February 12, 2021) — The UN warned on Friday that at least 400,000 children in Yemen could die of starvation this year if the war doesn’t end and aid does not reach areas suffering severe food shortages.
A report released by four UN agencies projected that acute malnutrition in the country will rise by 22 percent from 2020, and 2.3 million children will endure acute malnutrition, with one out of six — 400,000 — expected to die if conditions don’t change. The report said about 1.2 million pregnant or breastfeeding women in Yemen could also face acute malnutrition.
The report was issued by the World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. “These numbers are yet another cry for help from Yemen, where each malnourished child also means a family struggling to survive,” said David Beasley, the head of the WFP.
The report explained that in 2020, agencies in Yemen only received $1.9 billion of the $3.4 billion needed to operate, causing the shuttering of some food programs. “But there is a solution to hunger, and that’s food and an end to the violence,” Beasley said.
The alarming report comes after President Biden pledged he would end all US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen and halted planned bomb sales. Since 2015, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition has regularly targeted civilians and infrastructure in Yemen, including food supplies.
The Biden administration is also seeking a diplomatic solution to end the fighting in Yemen. Timothy Lenderking, Biden’s new special envoy for Yemen, is in Saudi Arabia this week to push for an end to the war.
The vicious bombing campaign has been coupled with a land, sea, and air blockade of Yemen. Questions remain over whether or not the US will still support the blockade.