US Senate votes in favour of $1.15bn arms sale to Saudi Arabia


The US Senate voted in favour of a $1.15bn military arms sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, amid criticism raised over the Middle Eastern country's role in the Yemen crisis.

The Senate voted 71 to 27 against the bipartisan resolution introduced by Senators Rand Paul, Chris Murphy, Al Franken and Mike Lee in US Congress to block the sale of Abrams tanks and associated major defence articles to Saudi Arabia.

The four senators sought to block the the military equipment sale, as the Saudi-led military operation against the Houthis and their allies has killed and wounded more than 10,000 civilians in Yemen.

“This motion comes at a singularly unfortunate time and would serve to convince Saudi Arabia and all other observers that the US does not live up to its commitments."

Murphy was quoted by media sources as saying: "If you're serious about stopping the flow of extremist recruiting across this globe, then you have to be serious that the ... brand of Islam that is spread by Saudi Arabia all over the world, is part of the problem.”

In August, the US Department of State approved the sale of more than 130 Abrams battle tanks, 20 armoured recovery vehicles and other equipment to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.

In 2015 alone, the US sold more than $20bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia.

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was quoted by Reuters as saying: "This motion comes at a singularly unfortunate time and would serve to convince Saudi Arabia and all other observers that the US does not live up to its commitments.”