US Senate member and chairman of the foreign relations committee has told the State Department that the Congress will stand in the way of all arms deals with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) until peace returns among these US allies.
US allies in the Gulf have been divided into two groups; one side grouping Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, plus Egypt and several other Arab-Islamic countries, and on the other side, Qatar accused by its neighbors of funding terrorism – a charge the rich-gas tiny monarchy rejects.
Senator Bob Corker in a letter to the State Department said that rift between the allies has weakened the fight against the Islamic State and Iran.
“For these reasons, before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC,” the Senate member added.
Senator Corker pointed out though President Trump’s May visit to the region to seal cooperation with the GCC members was a good move, the US allies had failed to take advantage of a summit with President Trump to overcome their differences and had “instead chosen to devolve into conflict”.
Last month, a motion to halt sale of about $500m of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia as part of the $110 bn arm deal signed in May in Saudi Arabia was narrowly defeated.
The Pentagon also this month inked $12bn army deal with Qatar for the sale of several fighter jets.
The Congress can, under US Law, oppose any sale of weapons to a foreign country.