Trump bypasses Congress to sell arms to Saudia, UAE
US President Donald Trump, announcing national emergency because of tensions with Iran, reject objections from Congress on Friday to complete the sale of over $8bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan.
The Trump administration informed congressional committees that it will go ahead with 22 military sales to the three countries, infuriating politicians by circumventing a long-standing precedent for congressional review of major weapons sales.
Members of Congress had been blocking sales of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for months, angry about the huge civilian toll from their air campaign in Yamen, as well as human rights abuses.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the weapons sales are needed because any delay could increase risk for US partners at a time of instability caused by Iran.
“These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement, adding that the decision to circumvent Congress was meant to be a “one-time event”.