Donald Trump’s administration is planning to bypass Congress to allow the sale of $7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are involved in a bloody war in Yemen, US media reported.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several State Department appointees are pushing the administration to invoke an emergency provision that would allow Trump to prevent Congress from halting the sales, which are currently on hold. Reports of the plan have angered politicians on both sides of the aisle, who are frustrated by the government’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in the ongoing Yemen war. Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called invoking the provision a “slap in Congress’s face.”
“I have deep concerns about how our Gulf partners have conducted the war in Yemen, including with US weapons, some of which have reportedly ended up in the wrong hands in Yemen,” he said in a statement.
The provision could be invoked within the next few days, the Times said, citing current and former officials, as well as legislators familiar with the plan. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Wednesday: “We do not comment to confirm or deny potential arms sales or transfers until Congress is formally notified.”
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