By George Bao Aug. 30, 2016
LOS ANGELES – U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) led a bipartisan group of 64 Members of Congress in sending a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to postpone the sale of new arms to Saudi Arabia.
Lieu’s office announced Tuesday that the goal is to give the U.S. Congress sufficient time to debate the merits of the deal in light of the Saudi-led Coalition’s operational conduct in Yemen.
The letter is co-led by Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL), John Conyers (D-MI), and Mick Mulvaney (R-SC).
Congressman Lieu has previously raised concerns about the Coalition’s killing of civilians in letters to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last September and to Secretaries John Kerry and Ash Carter in March.
He has also introduced legislation to establish new guidelines for weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
“The actions of the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen are as reprehensible as they are illegal. The multiple, repeated airstrikes on civilians look like war crimes. Hospitals, schools, and wedding parties are not legitimate military targets,” said Lieu.
“Saudi Arabia is either intentionally targeting civilians or deliberately indifferent in executing its military operations – either case flies in the face of long-standing international standards of conduct. The United States of America should never support such atrocities in any way. They are not only immoral and unlawful, but they seriously harm our national security and moral standing around the world.”
“The [Saudi’s] military campaign has had a deeply troubling impact on civilians . . . Any decision to sell more arms to Saudi Arabia should be given adequate time for full deliberation by Congress,” the letter says.
“We are concerned, however, that the timing of this notification during the August congressional recess could be interpreted to mean that Congress has little time to consider the arms deal when it returns from recess within the 30 day window established by law,” says the letter.
The letter is endorsed by Oxfam, Amnesty International USA, International Christian Concern, Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers), Just Foreign Policy, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, Yemen Peace Project, Human Rights Watch, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Physicians for Human Rights, Christian Solidarity Worldwide – UK, In Defense of Christians, Jubilee Campaign USA, The Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, International Christian Concern.