Trump Declares Fake Emergency to Sell Arms to Saudis and UAE

Declaration allows sales to bypass Congressional objections

In a move predicted earlier this week by members of Congress, President Trump has declared a “national emergency” for the sole reason of circumventing Congressional restrictions on arms sales, and using it to rush shipments of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, Congress is supposed to get a 30 day notice ahead of any sales, and can then block shipments. Concerns about war crimes in Yemen mean Saudi arms would be likely to face some effort to block them.

But the law has a loophole in it, which allows the president to declare an “emergency” of any sort he wants, with no oversight on that declaration, and then send the arms over without Congressional notification.

This is a notoriously cheap way to circumvent Congress on arms exports, but several Senators said they expected Trump to make such a move as soon as next week. It appears he decided to get out in front of that move with a declaration on Friday going into the holiday weekend.

Officially, the “national emergency” is tensions with Iran, though several in Congress have pointed out that the US has had nonstop tensions with Iran for decades, and that’s not a reason to suddenly declare a new emergency.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.