House Members Say They Will Try to Block Arms Sales to Saudis

[Washington Post] Robin Wright - The Bush administration's plan to sell $20 billion in advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia and five other Persian Gulf countries is running into congressional opposition and criticism from human rights and arms control groups. Members of Congress vowed Saturday to oppose any deal to Saudi Arabia on grounds that the kingdom has been unhelpful in Iraq and unreliable at fighting terrorism. King Abdullah has called the U.S. military presence in Iraq an "illegitimate occupation," and the Saudis have been either unable or unwilling to stop suicide bombers who have ended up in Iraq, congressional sources say. Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) said they will introduce a joint resolution of disapproval to block the deals when Congress is formally notified. They have seven Democratic co-sponsors. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) said a pivotal issue will be whether Israel maintains the "qualitative military edge" in the region. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the oil-rich countries should use windfall profits from high oil prices to cover the expenses of Iraqi refugees who have flooded Jordan.

2007-07-30 01:00:00

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