Washington: US President Donald Trump has bypassed Congress to approve the sale of $8.1 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan by declaring that ongoing tensions with Iran amounted to a national Emergency. He also announced on Friday that he would order about 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East to increase protection of those American forces already there.
The new deployment is less than what hardliners in the White House were said to have wanted, and below what commanders in the region were considering, the New York Times reported. The deal would “deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defence capacity” of US allies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added, referring to heightened tensions with Tehran.
Pompeo’s notification to lawmakers about the move effectively give the Trump administration a green light to conclude the sale and transfer of bombs, missile systems, semi-automatic rifles, drones and repair and maintenance services to aid the Saudi air fleet, and precision-guided munitions that lawmakers fear Saudi Arabia may use against civilians in Yemen’s civil war. Some Democrats accused Trump of bypassing Congress because the sale of weapons would have been strongly opposed on Capitol Hill. The move quickly garnered opposition. (IANS)
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