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26 July 2019 - 08:51
News ID: 446143
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US President Donald Trump vetoed three congressional resolutions barring billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have been committing war crimes in Yemen for over four years.

RNA - In veto messages to Congress released by the White House on Wednesday, Trump argued that the bills would “weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners”, Yemeni News reported.

In his veto messages, Trump claimed that the resolutions were an “ill-conceived and time-consuming” way to address concerns about the war on Yemen.

Back in May, the Trump administration invoked an emergency provision of the law governing arms sales to push for the sale of $8.1 billion worth of munitions in 22 pending transfers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Jordan without the typical 30-day congressional review period. It claimed that the export was crucial to protect the region against what it called “the malign influence” of Iran.

However, the move infuriated American lawmakers, who slammed the Trump administration for attempting to bypass Congress. Many members of Congress have grown alarmed by the brutal Saudi-led military aggression on Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians since early 2015 and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country. They have also censured the Riyadh-sponsored killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last October, as well as Trump’s inaction on the crime.

The three resolutions had been approved by the House of Representatives last week. They had previously passed the Senate in what was viewed as a bipartisan pushback to Trump’s foreign policy.

The US has been supporting the Saudi-led war against Yemen that seeks to bring back the impoverished country’s former Riyadh-backed officials. The American patronage has featured aerial refueling, which the US only stopped earlier in the year after the Saudi-led coalition grew independent of it, as well as logistical and commando support. A year after the war was launched, Trump made his maiden foreign visit to Saudi Arabia, announcing more than $100 billion in arms sales to the kingdom.

Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York who is the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, denounced Trump’s decision to veto the bills. 

“The President’s veto sends a grim message that America’s foreign policy is no longer rooted in our core values — namely a respect for human rights — and that he views Congress not as a coequal branch of government, but an irritant to be avoided or ignored,” he said.

“Worse still, this veto is going to cost innocent lives. These weapons are going to continue fueling a reckless and brutal campaign of violence and exacerbating the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe," he added.

In mid-April, Trump also vetoed a resolution passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives that sought to end US involvement with the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

According to Fars News Agancy, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures. Weddings, funerals, schools and hospitals, as well as water and electricity plants, have been targeted, killing and wounding hundreds of thousands.

According to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.

Save the Children, a charity, has reported that more than 84,700 children under the age of five may have starved to death in Yemen since the Saudi regime and a coalition of its allies launched the brutal war on the already-impoverished nation.

France, the United States, the Uinted Kingdom and some other Western countries have faced criticisms over arms sales to the Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose aggression against Yemen has affected 28 million people and caused what the United Nations calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world". According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

A UN panel has compiled a detailed report of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi military and its allies during their war against Yemen, saying the Riyadh-led coalition has used precision-guided munitions in its raids on civilian targets.

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Tags: US Trump Yemen
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