WASHINGTON (AFP) –The US Senate on Monday failed to prevent the controversial sale of $8.1 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, after President Donald Trump vetoed congressional resolutions blocking the deal.
Despite bipartisan votes this month that served as a rebuke to the president – and an expression of lawmakers’ outrage with the kingdom over Riyadh’s role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year – the effort to override Trump’s third use of his veto powers since taking office fell well short.
Trump sought approval for 22 separate sales of aircraft support maintenance, precision-guided munitions and other weapons and equipment to countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a moment of heightened tensions in the Middle East.
Critics said the arms sales would aggravate the devastating war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a US-backed coalition in a battle against the Iranian-supported Huthi rebels, and which the UN said has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Trump’s administration took the extraordinary step of bypassing Congress to approve the sale in May.