The Trump administration has few options to move forward on a $2 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that Congress is leveraging to censure the U.S. ally for alleged human rights abuses and to rebuke the White House for its unconditional embrace of the kingdom.
Raytheon Co. has been blocked from selling precision-guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia for more than a year now -- far longer than the normal hold for Congress to review an arms sale.
Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says his April 2018 block on the order will continue until he sees evidence that this technology actually does reduce civilian casualties by turning gravity bombs into more precise “smart” bombs, as the administration claims.
The sale is far from being resolved since the State Department and Defense Department have yet to provide this evidence, according to a person familiar with the proposed sales. Saudi Arabia’s relationship with lawmakers from both parties reached new lows last year over the kingdom’s killing of U.S.-based Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October and the impact that Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen is having on civilians. (end of excerpt)
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