During his first day in Saudi Arabia President Donald Trump excitedly announced a deal that would inject $110 billion into the United State economy. Unfortunately, the President’s arms deal is going to cause pain and suffering for many people in the region.
Saudi Arabia is considered one of the worst human rights violators in the Middle East and Democrat Senator Chris Murphy is speaking out against the deal.
“It appears the Trump administration is counting on the country with the worst human rights record in the region to enforce peace and security in the Middle East,” Murphy wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed criticizing the deal. “The arms sale is a terrible idea.”
Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, notes that the Saudi Kingdom has repeatedly used U.S.-provided weapons against civilians in the region, including in Yemen during a time of civil war.
“Obama withheld precision-guided munitions because the Saudis were using U.S.-provided munitions to repeatedly target civilian and humanitarian sites in their bombing campaign inside Yemen, despite regular protests from the United States,” Murphy wrote.
“By selling the Saudis these precision-guided weapons more — not fewer — civilians will be killed because it is Saudi Arabia’s strategy to starve Yemenis to death to increase their own leverage at the negotiating table. They couldn’t do this without the weapons we are selling them,” he continued.
Attacks against the Yemenis have radicalized a growing population. Murphy warns that the weapons are not likely to be used against targets in Iraq and Syria as promised.
“The Saudis’ obsession with Iran, and the proxy wars (like Yemen) that flow from this obsession, mean that they have little bandwidth to go after extremist groups,” he wrote.
Trump’s deal includes a vast increase in Saudi Arabia’s defense capabilities which will allow the U.S. to scale back its military presence. The move will take away some of the U.S. oversight that currently exists in the region.
Murphy and many of his cohorts believe the new weapons deal will only escalate a proxy war in the region and will lead to Iran escalating their own position with increased focus on a growing nuclear program.
“Yes, this is the Saudi’s money, but we shouldn’t just assume that the path to global security is through the spread of more and more weapons,” he reasoned, while adding that terrorist organizations “thrive on economic destitution” that more education could combat.
Murphy wants the $110 billion to be shifted into global education which could slow the spread of terrorism.
The defense deal “was negotiated by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, who has zero experience in foreign relations generally, or Saudi arms sales specifically,” Murphy added.
After completing the deal Trump tried to turn it into a positive by pointing to job growth opportunities in the United States.
“Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.