The US Senate held a rare vote Wednesday on whether to disapprove the Obama administration’s plan to sell $1.15 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
The resolution had been put forward by the Republican senator Rand Paul and Democratic senator Chris Murphy, who argued that Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen conflict along with and its human rights record made it a problematic recipient of American arms.
However, the senate voted 71 to 27 against the resolution to block the billion-dollar sale of tanks, guns and other military equipment.
— Oxfam America (@OxfamAmerica) September 21, 2016
Those that backed the plan argued that America’s Middle East allies require assistance to combat Islamic State extremists.
Sen. Lindsey Graham who supported the proposed sale said that Saudi Arabia was a valuable partner in the ‘war on terror’.
Dubbing the discussion as “ass backwards”, he said the debate should be about re-imposing sanctions on Iran and not on whether to provide arms to the oil rich kingdom.
But as Alternet point out, he had a strange way of defending the sale:
“[Think about if we] want to cut off military aid to [Iran] because of human rights violations when the people on the other side are watching Iran destroy the Mideast, threaten us and create the possibility of a second holocaust of the Jewish people,” Graham said. “Not one person over there has risen their hand and said, Maybe we want to revisit sanctions on Iran since they signed the deal.”
“We can’t ask our Middle East allies to fight harder and do more and not provide them with the weaponry to do it,” Graham added. “I think Saudi Arabia is a valuable partner in the war on terror. If you want to lose Saudi Arabia as an ally, be careful what you wish for.”