The Trump administration's proposal to sell $110 billion in American weapons to Saudi Arabia is a "travesty," according to Sen. Rand Paul. (R-Ky.)
Paul said he and a bipartisan group of senators are planning to force a vote to disapprove of the sale. "Let's hope the Senate will have the sense to stop this travesty," Paul wrote Wednesday in a Breitbart opinion piece.
On Saturday, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia signed an arms deal worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion that would take effect now, according to CNBC. Paul said in his opinion piece that the $350 billion amount is "unimaginable."
The senator noted the timing of the deal, one year after Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Attack in 2016 to allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for parts it might have played in the attacks. Congress overrode former President Barack Obama's veto of the act.
"Selling military weapons to questionable allies is not in our national security interest. At some point, the United States must stop and realize that we are fueling an arms race in the Middle East," the senator said, adding that Iran and Israel are likely to add more armaments in order to keep up with Saudi Arabia.
Arms industry jobs would not be at risk without the deal, Paul said. "The moment when the best interests of defense contractors start determining what is in the national security interest of our country, the tail has begun to wag the dog."
The U.S. has achieved little of substance in the "Middle East quagmire," Paul said, as he noted that Saudi Arabia's ties to Islamic extremists are an "open secret."
Paul noted an April 20 statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: "We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world," according to Reuters.
"Do we have to amend this statement to say, "… unless they have billions of dollars to invest in the United States?" Paul asked.
In a Breitbart News interview Tuesday, Paul addressed the arms deal proposal, saying, "They've been killing each other for a thousand years. I just don't think feeding their fury with more weapons is a good idea."
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