That $110 Billion Arms Deal Trump Signed With Saudi Arabia? It’s Probably Illegal

On Saturday–after he had received a gold necklace from Saudi King Salman, done a cute curtsy, and looked like a total fool during a ceremonial sword dance–illegitimate head of state Donald Trump took time to put his signature on a massive $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia which he claimed would be good for American workers.

Problem is, there’s also a very good chance that the deal is illegal.

Michael Newton, a prominent Vanderbilt University law professor and former military judge advocate general, said in an opinion sent to the full Senate by the human rights arm of the American Bar Association that because the Saudis are involved in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, no arms are supposed to be sold to them by the United States. The U.S., Newton wrote:

“Cannot continue to rely on Saudi assurances that it will comply with international law and agreements concerning the use of U.S.-origin equipment.

“Continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia ― and specifically of arms used in airstrikes [in Yemen] ― should not be presumed to be permissible.”

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said he agrees with Newton’s opinion:

“Saudi Arabia is an important friend and partner for the United States. But they are still a deeply imperfect friend. $110 billion in weapons will exacerbate, not ameliorate, those imperfections.”

The State Department, meanwhile, defended the gigantic arms sale which includes tanks, artillery, ships, helicopters, missile defense systems, and cybersecurity technology, saying in a statement:

“This package demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”

Translation: If we want to sell weapons of death and destruction to a repressive regime which uses those weapons to fight an immoral war in another country and even contributes to further instability in the region which will benefit terror groups such as ISIS, we will damn well sell them. Just as long as their check clears the bank before we leave Saudi airspace.

Featured Image Via the Al Jazeera

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