(Shared from Sunjeev Very, Freedom Forward)
To Congress: We demand that the United States immediately stop all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. and issue a full moratorium on U.S. arms sales to these two governments. We cannot continue arming these repressive monarchies and enabling their slaughter of civilians in Yemen and across the Middle East. It is time to end the U.S. alliances with the dictatorships that rule over Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. The U.S. must stop backing the machinery of war and start investing in peace.
Why is this important?
We are deeply disturbed by recent reports that the Trump administration is moving forward with a $478 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, which would provide 7,500 precision-guided missiles to a government that has already bombed thousands of civilians in Yemen, often with U.S. weapons. We are also troubled by the Trump Administration’s prior announcement of a $556 million arms sale of 4,569 MRAP vehicles to the U.A.E., a government that has also brought misery to both Yemen and Libya.
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. pose significant threats to U.S. interests, regional democracy, and global security. Here are eight primary reasons:
** Using U.S. Weapons to Drive War and Coronavirus:
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have used U.S. weapons in their devastating wars in Yemen and Libya, which have contributed to the spread of the Coronavirus across the Middle East and North Africa by decimating local healthcare systems.
** Supporting Terrorist Networks, Including with U.S. Weapons:
Officials from the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have been caught supporting terrorist networks, such as Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups across the Arabian peninsula.
** Jailing and Killing Human Rights and Democracy Advocates:
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have both jailed reformers and advocates for democracy within their borders. Saudi Arabia has also assassinated and executed nonviolent reformers and dissidents, of whom Jamal Khashoggi is only the most famous example.
** Exporting Dictatorship:
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. both intervene across the Middle East and North Africa to stop democracy and promote dictatorship, including in Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.
** Violating Women’s Rights:
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. both violate women’s rights through systems of discrimination and repression, as well as through imprisonment and torture of women activists. Two notable Saudi women’s rights activists who are still imprisoned are Loujain al-Hathloul & Samar Badawi.
** Modern-Day Slavery:
Both Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. maintain the kafala system, an abusive labor system that robs foreign workers of their human rights. Under kafala, workers are often trapped, unable to leave abusive employers without their permission, in circumstances that can amount to forced labor.
** Global Kidnapping, Espionage, and Murder:
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have both worked globally to silence critics and forcibly stop those attempting to escape state repression, including through espionage, armed kidnappings, and assassination.
** Driving the Climate Crisis:
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are major contributors to the global climate crisis through their massive fossil fuel export economies, which are responsible for a significant share of the world’s fossil fuel emissions. In addition, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly undermined global climate negotiations.