WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – U.S. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy says the United Arab Emirates has a history of transferring American weapons to extremists.
"The UAE is our ally, but there is no escaping that the Emiratis have a history of transferring U.S. arms to extremist militias, and have violated international law in Libya and Yemen. At the very least, we should not rush this sale through in a lame duck session,” Senator Murphy said on Twitter.
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alongside Senators, Chris Murphy and Rand Paul, introduced measures to prevent President Donald Trump’s administration from selling arms worth $23 billion to the UAE, American Politico newspaper reported.
The proposed deal includes 50 F-35 fighter jets, a stockpile of missiles and 18 drones.
Many other lawmakers also worry about whether the UAE would use the weapons in attacks that would harm civilians in Yemen, whose Saudi-led war is considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
When the deal was announced, Amnesty International warned that the weapons would be used for "attacks that violate international humanitarian law and kill, as well as injure, thousands of Yemeni civilians.”
The senators said the Trump administration, seeking to rush the sale as it brokered a normalization deal between the UAE and the Zionist regime, circumvented the normal review process. They said State and the Pentagon failed to respond to their inquiries.
Weaponry involved includes the world’s most advanced fighter jet, more than 14,000 bombs and munitions and the second-largest sale of U.S. drones to a single country.
Past measures to block arms sales over concerns about Yemeni casualties passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support, but failed to get enough Republican backing to override Trump’s vetoes.