U.S. Senate to block Saudi arms sales in rebuke to Trump

Vastavam web: The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to block the sale of billions of dollars in military sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries, rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to sidestep Congress’ review of such deals by declaring an emergency over Iran. Trump has promised to veto the Senate action in order to proceed with the deals, worth some $8.1 billion. Senators would need 67 votes to override his veto, which looked unlikely after Thursday’s votes. The first and second resolutions of disapproval passed 53-45 and a third vote covering the remaining 20 resolutions was 51-45.

Backers of the resolutions, led by Democrat Bob Menendez and Republican Lindsey Graham, said they sent a bipartisan message to Saudi Arabia that Washington is not happy about human rights abuses, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Many also expressed deep concern with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the war in Yemen, where the two countries are battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The United Nations has described the conflict in Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of people including thousands of civilians, as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.