WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement on Tuesday after the U.S. Senate voted on a bipartisan resolution Murphy introduced with U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) to block a portion of new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in support of their military campaign in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen has led to thousands of civilian casualties and caused a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS. Last month, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee received official notice of pending sales of offensive weapons, including precision-guided munitions. The newly noticed sale is part of a broader arms agreement that the Trump administration said would commit the United States to nearly $110 billion in immediate defense equipment sales and training and up to $350 billion over 10 years.
“A bipartisan coalition of Senators just sent a major message to the Saudis. Today’s vote total would’ve been unthinkable not long ago, but Congress is finally taking notice that Saudi Arabia is using U.S. munitions to deliberately hit civilian targets inside Yemen. They’re purposely creating a humanitarian crisis inside Yemen to bring the Houthis and Saleh to the negotiating table, and in the process the Saudis are making terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS stronger,” said Murphy. “The United States has no business supporting a war that has only served to embolden our terrorist enemies, exacerbate a humanitarian crisis, and incite fear and anger among the Yemeni people toward the United States. This will come back to haunt us.”
Murphy has been a vocal critic of U.S. support for military campaigns in Yemen that have led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups. Murphy introduced bipartisan legislation to limit U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen and called on the Saudi government to take action to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. He also led a bipartisan request that members of the U.S. Senate receive a classified briefing on ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations and objectives in Yemen in the wake of a deadly U.S. raid in Yemen earlier this year. Last year, Murphy introduced a bipartisan joint resolution of disapproval to block the $1.15 billion U.S. sale of Abrams tanks and associated major defense articles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also applauded a decision by the White House in December 2016 to halt some military arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and called for further action by the United States to end military support for a war marked by humanitarian abuse