Pompeo Defends Trump on Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

Warns Congress against blocking sales to 'important partner'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pushing Congress not to block US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, defending President Trump’s decision to try to close the arms sales quickly, and without Congressional authorization.

“Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself,” Pompeo insisted, adding that it would be “most unfortunate” if Congress blocked the sales. He emphasized mounting tensions with Iran, and the fact that the Saudis don’t get along with Iran.

The administration has been trying to use Thursday’s tanker attacks, and accusations of Iranian guilt, to sway Congress back toward supporting arms deals. Within the Senate, however, it is still believed that a majority oppose the sales of arms to the Saudis.

This opposition began to grow when the Saudis murdered Jamal Khashoggi. Trump’s declaration of a “state of emergency” to avoid a 30-day Congressional oversight period is particularly rubbing many the wrong way, especially since almost none of the arms are to be sent within 30 days anyhow.

The real reason the administration tried to slip it through with the loophole was the very real possibility that not only would Congress vote to block the arms sales, but that there is a real chance they might override a presidential veto.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.