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Trump’s $110 Billion Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia May Be Illegal

By in Huffington Post on May 19, 2017

By Akbar Shahid Ahmed

WASHINGTON ― The human rights arm of the American Bar Association has sent the Senate a legal analysis saying that President Donald Trump’s plan for an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth more than $100 billion would be illegal because of the Saudis’ role in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

Citing “multiple credible reports of recurring and highly questionable [air]strikes” by the Saudi military that have killed civilians, the U.S. “cannot continue to rely on Saudi assurances that it will comply with international law and agreements concerning the use of U.S.-origin equipment,” Michael Newton, a prominent Vanderbilt University law professor and former military judge advocate general, said.

Newton, in his 23-page opinion, said the strikes have continued “even after Saudi units received training and equipment to reduce civilian casualties.”

“Continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia ― and specifically of arms used in airstrikes ― should not be presumed to be permissible” under the two statutes covering most sales of military equipment by the U.S government to foreign nations, he said.

The letter comes ahead of Trump’s weekend visit to Saudi Arabia, during which the president is to announce the new arms deal. On Friday, the Associated Press reported the package is expected to cover $110 billion in sales of ships, tanks, missile batteries and missile defense technology over 10 years.

Though the Obama administration committed to many elements of the package before Trump’s inauguration, the president is expected to present it as a major accomplishment. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House aide, has built a rapport with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman […]    

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