Rep. Ilhan Omar Introduces Joint Resolution to Block $650 million Saudi Arms Sale
WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) today introduced a joint resolution of disapproval to block the sale of $650 million worth of weapons from the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“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,” Rep. Omar said. “We should never be selling human rights abusers weapons, but we certainly should not be doing so in the midst of a humanitarian crisis they are responsible for. Congress has the authority to stop these sales, and we must exercise that power.”
The sale comes as Saudi Arabia continues its offensive in Yemen, sparking the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. As of this year, more than 4 million people had been uprooted from their homes and more than 21 million are in dire need of assistance, including 11 million children.
If passed by the Senate, the joint resolution would prohibit the sale of $650 million missiles and other weapons, announced by the State Department just last week. The sale would include 280 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, along with 596 missile launchers, support equipment, spare parts, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, and technical support. The State Department says these are for air defense capabilities and is designed to replenish Saudi Arabia’s existing inventory.
"The United States should not sell any weapons to Saudi Arabia or other abusive governments, period. Congress should block this and similar deals in the future,“ said Raed Jarrar, Advocacy Director for Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi. "These air-to-air missiles could be used in offensive operations or they could be used to enforce the Saudi blockade, which humanitarian aid groups have identified as one of the reasons behind the prices of medicine being out of reach for millions of Yemenis. Rather than selling more weapons, the Biden Administration should compel Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade and end its war on Yemen.”
Rep. Omar has been a leading advocate for Congressional oversight over arms sales and accountability for human rights in Saudi Arabia and around the world. Earlier this year, she called on the United States to act to end the blockade on Yemen. She met with White House officials in a classified briefing and joined hunger strikers outside the White House in protest. In July, she reintroduced the Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act to establish red lines Once a country is determined to have crossed those lines, it automatically triggers a prohibition on security aid of any kind.
You can read the full resolution here.