In-Depth: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced this resolution to block an arms sale to Qatar over its role in the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has led to many civilian casualties and precipitated a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Gregg Roman, the director of the Middle East Forum which promotes American interests in the Middle East, wrote an op-ed in The Hill in support of Paul’s resolution to block this arms sale to Qatar. In it, Roman explained why other Middle Eastern allies including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut off ties to Qatar over two years ago:
“The reasons for this split, a Saudi minister said at the time, were Qatar’s support for terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, Hamas, and ISIS; its support for regional destabilizer Iran; and the role of Al-Jazeera and other government-funded Qatari media in fomenting unrest in the region. All of this has taken place amid an aggressive increase in Qatar’s military spending during the past decade.”
The administration explained the proposed sale through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency:
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East. Qatar is host to the U.S. Central Command forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region. The acquisition of these helicopters will allow for integration with U.S. forces for training exercises, which contributes to regional security and interoperability.”
Of Note: The Arms Export Control Act requires the administration to notify Congress 30 calendar days before it concludes a foreign military sale to a non-major ally and allows Congress to modify or reject the sale using expedited procedures.
After an arms sales disapproval resolution is introduced in the Senate, the Foreign Relations Committee has 10 calendar days to report it, and if no action is taken the lawmaker introducing it can force a floor vote on a motion to discharge the resolution. If it succeeds, the resolution is then considered with overall debate limited to 10 hours. The House doesn’t have a discharge procedure, although the resolution is still given expedited consideration in the chamber.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Defence Images via Flickr / Creative Commons)