United States President Donald Trump vetoed Wednesday three congressional resolutions that blocked US$8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Yemen World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis: Human Rights Report
The Trump administration avoided Congress by using a legal loophole citing rising tensions with Iran to call on emergency provisions. By declaring it a national emergency, Trump will justify selling weapons to Saudi Arabia by arguing that the Kingdom is a strategic partner in the region.
“The resolutions weakened the country’s global competitiveness and damaged the important relationships we share with our allies and partners," the White House said in a statement, adding that blocking the deals would damage "the credibility of the U.S. as a reliable partner."
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, yet not a veto-proof majority, approved three bipartisan resolutions to block weapons sales to the Arab nations in June.
The three resolutions blocked the sale of Raytheon’s precision-guided munitions (PGMs) and related equipment to the two countries. House’s Democratic leaders opted to take up those three, out 22 resolutions supported by the Senate, before the others because the PGMs could be delivered quickly, aides said.
In February and March, using the 1973 War Powers Act to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen, and rebuffing President Donald Trump's policy toward the kingdom.
Trump vetoed the congressional resolution, but any sale of weapons would still need congressional approval. Now by using an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act, the president doesn’t need congress anymore.
According to a report from the University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) and Yemeni monitoring group Mwatana, the U.S. and U.K made weapons have killed or maimed nearly 1,000 civilians in Yemen, including children and women, since the start of the war in 2015.
Dubbed the “Forgotten War,” the Yemeni civil war started on March 26, 2015, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led a coalition of countries into a military campaign against Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels in Yemen in support of the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The war in Yemen has already, according to a United Nation’s report, claimed 230,000 lives, many of those civilians, and has left almost 14 million people at increased risk of famine. “At least 85,000 children may have died of hunger and preventable diseases,” General Director of Pax International Jan Gruiters said.