The $110 Billion Arms Deal Trump Just Signed With Saudi Arabia May Be Illegal
A $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that President Donald Trump announced Saturday would be illegal because of the Saudis’ role in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, according to a legal analysis the Senate received Friday.
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 in an opinion sent to the full Senate by the human rights arm of the American Bar Association. He cited “multiple credible reports of recurring and highly questionable [air]strikes’’ by the Saudi military that have killed civilians.
In a 23-page assessment, Newton 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.