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Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom

  • Menendez has blocked $2 billion deal since April 2018
  • Trump vetoed congressional rebuke on U.S. policy in Yemen
Saudi Arabia's First International Air Show
Photographer: Ryan Olson/Bloomberg

The Trump administration has few options to move forward on a $2 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that Congress is leveraging to censure the U.S. ally for alleged human rights abuses and to rebuke the White House for its unconditional embrace of the kingdom.

Raytheon Co. has been blocked from selling precision-guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia for more than a year now -- far longer than the normal hold for Congress to review an arms sale. Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says his April 2018 block on the order will continue until he sees evidence that this technology actually does reduce civilian casualties by turning gravity bombs into more precise “smart” bombs, as the administration claims.