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Rand Paul lays down gauntlet to block Saudi arms deal

Conservative Review

Is it too much to ask that we don’t arm our enemies who promote poison on our shores and foment and entangle us in unwinnable Islamic civil wars overseas?

That is a question many conservatives asked during the Obama administration. But few are willing to remain consistent today as the foreign policy swamp under H.R. McMaster leads President Trump down the same path.

As one of the few consistent men left in Washington, Sen. Rand Paul. R-Ky., is planning to fight the $350 billion Saudi arms deal the same way he fought Obama’s deals with the Saudis, Pakistanis, and Egyptian government under Mohamed Morsi. Senator Paul is promising to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval to block the Saudi arms deal, or at least force an up-or-down vote.

Although the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 gives the president the power to export defense services and weapons without consent of Congress, any member can introduce a resolution of disapproval to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or House Foreign Affairs Committee and force a vote on the Senate and House floors within 10 days.

Much like the Congressional Review Act can nullify administrative regulations, this process can have the effect of killing an arm’s deal. Obviously, the president could still veto the resolution, but this effort would at least shed light on the indefensible nature of some of these arms deals.  

Sen. Paul used a similar process to force a vote on disapproving a proposed sale of F-16s to Pakistan last March. He also teamed up with Sen. Chris Murphy. D-Conn., last September to force a vote on the approving the sale of Abrams tanks to the Saudis. Needless to say, most Republicans and Democrats are bought out by the Islamic Kingdom.   

As I noted earlier this week, the Saudi arms package is problematic for a number of reasons. Foremost, it will further entrench the Saudi economic and civilization jihad by funding activities and infrastructure on our shores.

In return for selling them sophisticated weapons systems, the Saudis have agreed to fund billions in U.S. infrastructure projects so they can further spread their poison on our own shores while we send our troops overseas to do their bidding, refereeing their own Islamic civil wars. (The most dyslexic priorities imaginable.)

This will also further entangle us in yet another unwinnable Islamic civil war in Yemen — we are now funding the Saudis to fight the Iranian-backed Houthis while we fight both the Houthis and Al Qaeda of Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is backed by the Saudis.

Plus, we are supporting a new Saudi-backed government under Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi with ties to AQAP. In fact, the raid in which we lost Navy SEAL Ryan Owens in late January was against an AQAP kingpin who had ties to the very government we are supporting!

Does your head hurt yet?

Thus, by giving $360 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, we are essentially putting weapons in the hands of AQAP against which our special operators will be fighting. What an utter disgrace.  

It’s kind of similar to us bombing Shiite militias in Syria and then working with them in Mosul and doing Iran’s bidding in Anbar while fighting them by proxy against Bashar al-Assad. Or fighting ISIS … but then fighting those who fight ISIS in Syria, while allowing our weapons to be captured by Sunni terrorist groups.

There is absolutely no good player or reasonable outcome in these theaters. Yet we continue to get our military sucked into them and are now funding multiple sides of a civil war in often contradictory ways.

And don’t think that funding the Saudi quagmire in Yemen is the way to combat Iran when we are recertifying the Iran nuclear deal (what happened to submitting it to the Senate as a treaty?) and serving as the Shiite air force in Iraq.

This is straight up genuflecting to the Saudis without hurting Iran where it counts. This is not being driven by our strategic interests, but by the crony globalists and corporatists in bed with the Saudis for decades. It’s the very America-last policies voters expected the White House to eschew under Trump.

The trend of this president cozying up to the Saudis – first by acceding to their demand not to move America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, then by making them his first diplomatic visit overseas, and now by forging the largest arms deal ever – should be disquieting to any conservative.

This needs to be nipped in the bud before it’s too late, and Rand Paul’s bold stance against the arms deal is the first hill to take in this battle. 

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