tv Senators Graham and Murphy on Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia CSPAN June 14, 2017 8:09am-8:31am EDT
casualties. more important, as the counter isil coalition continues to make gains in mosul and raqqa, iranian supported militias and iraq or posturing too great a land bridge to iraq and into syria. the land bridge could ultimately extend to lebanon and improve iran's support for hezbollah. so now is not the time to undermine what of our critical allies in the arab world by disapproving heart of it on sales package that will improve saudi capabilities. >> mr. president, i take the floor today strenuously argue against the proposition being pushed by senator paul and murphy and others to deny arms sales of about $500 million to the kingdom of saudi arabia. the package that they're trying to exclude the $110 billion farm bill is precision guided
munitions that would be used by the f-15s, the package of joint direct attack munitions, pave laserguided bombs. the bottom line, the package we're talking about, the precision weapons that the saudi air force and military could use in operations against iran's proxy in yemen and other threats that the kingdom faces. the flaws of the saudi government are real. they are known to me, but my friends on the other side, particularly senator paul, constantly put saudi arabia and iran on the same thing. i think that is a very unwise analysis to suggest that saudi arabia is as bad as i ran. it is just missing the point big-time. the iranian theocracy is the most destabilizing force in the
mideast. they have aggressively pursued military action through proxies and directly been involved in military action in syria. iran's efforts to dominate iraqw lebanon, syria, and now human, have to be pushed back. here's what secretary mattis said about this proposal. i asked in the question, how would i ran view passage of this proposal limiting precision guided weapons to saudi by the congress? i believe iran would be appreciative of not selling these weapons to saudi arabia. that's pretty direct. iran would be really happy. and i would say this, on september the 21st, 2016, 71 united states senators supported
71 votes to 27.s in other words, 71 united states senators rejected rand paul proposal to stop the sale of things. i would argue that a tank is not nearly as a precision weapon aso the weapons were talking about here to be given to the air force. if you're worried about collateral damage in yemen, i understand your concern. precision weapons would help'v that cause, not hurt it. you've got to understand who we're dealing with in yemen. what it with iran. saudi arabia has a border with yemen. the iranians are backing a force called the houthis to bring down a pro-western government in yemen. everywhere you look you see iran encroaching throughout the mideast. this theocracy in iran is the biggest threat to world order, and that is saying a lot, given the world as it is. and i say that with confidences because what iran is trying to do is destabilize the mideast in unprecedented fashion, and our arab allies are tired of it and
now is the time to stand with them, with their imperfections, i guess i ran with their hostility. so this $500 million chunk of the $110 billion weapons sale is absolutely essential that the saudi air force did these weapons not only to minimize o casualties, but when the fight against the aggressive nature of iran in human and other places. i don't know where we are going with iran but th the president d that the current nuclear deal is absolutely a terrible do. he is right. this deal marks -- if they don't cheat, they don't have to cheat. in ten or 15 years the agreement i reprocess without limitation. so this deal has to be replaced. i hope we don't go to war with anyone, but if we go to war i want allies who are to help us in the fight. we complain about our arabh allies not doing enough when you want to do more, we say no to them. guess what. b no wonder people believe that
america is unreliable partner. you say one thing and doay to another. all i can say to my democratic colleagues, you are okay with the voting to a president obama increase the capability of the saudi army at a time that was in our nationals could interest. what changed between september 21 and today? what geopolitical situation has changed so that all of a sudden iran is a longer a threat they were in september of last year and saudi arabia is less reliable? nothing other than the election of donald trump.sident i have been a critic of donald trump, president trump what i thought it was necessary for the good of the country. all i can say is this wholesale defection by democrats really is disturbing. it is undermining i think our national security interests when it comes to contain iran. it is sending the worst possible
signal we could be sent to our arab allies at a time we need them the most. added a question peoples motives.t. i question your judgment.. and here's my problem. i have no problem helping president obama because ian believe saudi as a bulwark against iranian expansion that our allies and saudi arabia are imperfect to do share intelligence with us. they are in the fight and weel need to help them because it's in our interest to help them. you had absolutely no problem helping them when it was president obama's id. everything trump you seem to be against. that is absolutely disappointing to and, quite frankly, despicable. to my republican colleagues over here, rand paul has been consistent. compl i respect his consistency. i just completely disagree with him. if you don't think containing iran and keeping them from toppling yemen, iraq, syria,
lebanon is not in our national interest, you're making a huge mistake. the last thing we want is the md iranian ayatollah to march through the mid east and start spreading his form of radical shiism in the backyard of all of our arab allies. so i could not urge of this body more to reject this ill-conceived idea. it's $500 million million dollars out of $110 million package but it's the kind of weapons that will matter on the battlefield. it will lessen civilian will casualties which is a noble goal, and it will also give capability to the southeast to more effectively contain iran who is marching through yemen through their proxies, the houthis. all i can say is general mattis, secretary mattis, has it right. iran would be appreciative of us not selling those weapons to saudi arabia. we are going to sanction iran this week i hope for what they've done outside the nuclear agreement.
since nuclear agreement was pa passed, they have humiliated our soldiers, our sailors. they captured them on the high seas and humiliated them. i don't member saudi arabia doing that. they are just like missiles in violation of u.n. resolutions that could destroy israel and one day reach us or our allies throughout the mideast and europe. they are spreading their form of radical shiism all through the world, all through the mideast. the money they received from the iranian nuclear deal is not going to build roads and bridges and hospitals. its increasing the lithology ofe the irg and other iranian combat units. what we're trying to do, president trump is trying to do is give our allies the ability to contain the threat, which is in our interest. so sanction iran and denying saudi arabia the weapons they need to defend themselves and others against iran is pretty
inconsistent. all i can say is that there's a military necessity for these weapons. they will change the equation oc the battlefield. it is in our interest that iran lose its effort to take over yemen and destabilize the mideast at large. you've got to remember these are the same people, the iranians, the bill lethal ieds and interjected them into iraq that killed many, many american kille soldiers. this is the same version that took over our embassy years ago, that humiliated our sailors, that chance death to america and israel on regular basis. nearly our city as a legislative body contemplating not helping an ally who is willing to fight the threat posed by iran in the mideast. all i can say is in september 21, 2016, almost every democrat saw this as a good move to saudi arabia. now almost all of you are voting against an arms package that's
more necessary today than it wae in 2016, and the only changes we've got a new president who a you hate. well, i wasn't a big fan of president obama but when i thought he was right i stood with him. president trump is right to increase the capability to the saudi military to do with the iranian aggression.ni there's a bigger threat to mideast and america i believe than this iranian regime in the hands of an ayatollah who is really a religious nazi. so i hope you will vote for what's best for america, which is to empower our allies tollies contain threats that we commonly enjoy. we enjoyed the experience of being in the causes of the ayatollah. o they want to destroy the role of family and saudi arabia in the want to destroy israel, and if you want to destroy us. and the idea that we're not going to help an ally willing to fight is justinconceivable and the idea that we're going to vote now for an arms package because trump is president and all the over there voted yes
before is disappointing.ing. to my republican colleagues, if you really think iran is a threat, don't but with senator paul. get your sending the wrong signal. with that i yield. >> mr. president? >> the senator from connecticut. >> thank you, mr. president. the my friends limerick on the modes of democrats of fresh in peoples might let me directed directly. there is a new president today but there's a different policy.r that's what this resolution is about. let me be very clear about what wwe're talking about here today. senator graham would have you believe that we are about to vote on the entirety of the $110 billion in arms sales that was proposed that was unveiled by president trump during his visit to saudi arabia. that is not the case. we are voting today on $500 million of that 110 alien dollars sale -- $110 billion in silver you can still be friends
with saudi arabia and selden $119.5 billion or $109.5 billiob worth of arms rather than $110 billion worth of arms. and the specific set of arms that we're talking about, precision guided munitions at that are going to be used to perpetuate the saudi bombing campaign in human were the specific set of weapons that the obama administration refused to transfer to the saudi is at the end of 2016. we did not take a vote on this in 2016. we took a vote on a different arms sale. but it is not so be that there'n a new president, and democrats are objecting to arms sale that president trump is moving new forward with. it is that we have a new policy. this specific set of emissionsrt -- munitions that president
trump is asking us to consent to president obama would not sell. the policy is different. not just the personnel. and let's talk about why the policy is different. what is happening today in yemen is a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. there are four famines that exist in the world today. one of them is in yemen. only one of those for is caused in part by the united states. the united states supports the saudi led bombing campaign that has the effect of causing a humanitarian nightmare to plant in that country such that 8 million people right now in yemen are in starvation or on the brink of starvation.
last week we received word that 100,000 people in yemen now have colorado. cholera? all of this directly a result of the civil war. and the reason that the obama administration decided not to transfer the precision guided munitions to the saudi is because the saudi is were using the weapons that we were giving them to deliberately target humanitarian infrastructure andv civilian infrastructure inside yemen that the status have made it pretty clear, that time is on their side. that they can wait out the yemeni population and try them to the negotiating table. they suggest that this humanitarian catastrophe acc ultimately accrues to the benefit because it eventually will push the houthis into supporting a better deal than
they would otherwise, for the dt southeast. and let me give you some direct evidence of how this bombing campaign is leaving to the humanitarian crisis. this cholera outbreak that has been covered in the news began in part because the saudi airstrikes were targeting water treatment facilities inside sinai. this is independent reporting from relief agencies operate on the ground inside yemen. tell us that the saudi bombing campaign targeting civilian infrastructure in this case water treatment facilities has led to the cholera outbreak. and they continue. the bombing campaign that is leading to this catastropheldn't continues. and the reason that the obama administration would not sell them the specific set of arms is
because they did not have confidence that the arms would be used to hit purely militaryre targets. and so what we're asking for is to hold off on sundays precision guided munitions until we get some clear promise, some clear assurance from the saudi that purp munitions only for military purposes. and that they're going to start, taking steps, real steps, tangible steps to address the humanitarian crisis. senator young has been very articulate on the things that the saudi are doing to stop, to halt come to slow the flow of relief supplies into human today. there are some proactive things that set is could do that they are not, that could save millions of lives inside yemen, today. more broadly, mr. president, i
think this is an important moment for u.s. policy in the middle east. the saudis are our friends. they are an important stabilizing presence in the middle east. they have helped to broker a kind of the taut between sunni nations and it took him our sacred alley. they cooperate with us on counterterrorism measures the they share intelligence with us. clearly read an important economic relationship, but they are imperfect partner. and this body should have a debate as to whether it's in the united states national security interest to get drawn more deeply into the set of proxy wars that is playing out in the region. this is between the sunnis and the shia, that proxy battle plays out in yemen, it plays out in syria. it plays out in other ways in places like lebanon.
and just because you have a friend doesn't mean that youav have to back every single one of your friends fights. ask my friend asked me to hand him a rock to fill the neighborhood kids. not i'm not going to do it.e but if he wants me to help him stand up to neighborhood bully,r then maybe i'll be there for him. even with your friends, you decide what fight she joined amanda what fights you don't. in yemen, it's not just me that's making the argument that that civil war is accruing to the detriment of u.s. national security interests. it's a broad swath of foreign-policy experts, middle east experts in the city. and across this country and across the globe. why?e this because the civil war is radicalizing the yemeni people against the united states. they don't receive this bombing campaign that is killing thousands of civilians as a saudi bombing campaign.
they pursue it as a saudi bombing campaign. just get your intelligence briefing and look at the difference in the amount of space that aqap controls the versus what a controlled before the civil war began. aqap, which is of the arm of al qaeda that has the most capability to hit the united states, has grown. exponentially in terms of the territory and controls. isis has grown as well. these extremist groups take advantage of the civil war if our priority really in the region is about defeating these organizations, then the civil war is not helping in that effort.civilians civilians are dying. extremist groups are growing. the yemeni population is beingem radicalized against us. and to exacerbate matters, the trump administration has walked away from the political process.
secretary kerry was actively involved in trying to bring the houthis and the saudi backed government together. he got close to an agreement but it fell apart. this administration has not restarted that process. and so for those who want to throw more arms into this contest, i think it's hard to believe that ultimately that will lead to any cease-fire or any peaceful transition to a new government if the united states is totally absent from the negotiating table, as we are today. t so this is not about objecting to the entirety of the sale. this is not about delivering a broader message to the southeast. -- saudi. >> this is but think this specific conflict in yemen is not going well.
it's hurting the united states. and until we get some real assurances from the saudis that they're going to pay attention to the no strike list, until he get some commitments from the saudi that they will let relief supplies flow into human to address the famine, to address the cholera outbreak, then let's press pause on this small slice of this arms sale. so i'm proud to join with senator paul and others and hopl that my colleagues will see fit to support it when we vote in about an hour and a half. thank you, mr. president. >> in a moment we'll go live to remark some house chair greg walden to be taught by his legislative priorities but we do have some news to share this morning we dissociated press numerous sources along with our capitol hill producer tweeted out there's a shooting at a congressional baseball game
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