The US Senate has rejected a bipartisan effort to block President Joe Biden’s $650 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia amid the kingdom’s brutal war on Yemen and its human rights record.
In a 67-30 vote on Tuesday, the Senate rejected a resolution aimed at prohibiting the sale of the weapons package, which was approved by the State Department as well as leaders of the Senate and House foreign affairs committees.
The package would include 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), 596 LAU-128 Missile Rail Launchers (MRL) along other equipment and support.
Earlier in the day, the Biden administration said it strongly opposed the resolution.
Passage “would undermine the president’s commitment to aid in our partner’s defenses at a time of increased missile and drone attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia,” the White House Office of Management of Budget claimed in a statement.
The resolution was introduced by Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee, as well as Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats.
“We could stop this war if we really had the will to do it,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “All of America should be appalled at the humanitarian disaster caused by the Saudi blockade of Yemen.”
“The United States must do everything in our power to bring this brutal and horrific war to an end,” Sanders said from the Senate floor. “Exporting more missiles to Saudi Arabia does nothing but further this conflict and pour more gasoline on already raging fire.”
Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Patty Murray of Washington were others who were seeking to stop the arms sale.
Backed by the US, the Saudi regime waged a bloody war on Yemen in early 2015 in order to reinstall the former Riyadh-friendly government in the Arab country.
The Saudi aggression has so far killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and dragged the entire Yemen close to the brink of outright famine in the process.
A new report meanwhile shows that the kingdom has fallen drastically short in the face of Yemen’s determined retaliation campaign against the war, a report says.
“The number of attacks against the kingdom has grown significantly,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing a Saudi government official.
“Drones struck Saudi territory 29 times last month and 25 times in October; the country was struck by 11 ballistic missile attacks last month and 10 in October,” the paper cited the official as saying.
“That is up significantly from February 2020, when Saudi Arabia was attacked six times, five by ballistic missiles and once by a drone,” noted the Saudi source.