Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
The New York Times reports that Trump’s bogus arms sales “emergency” is even more of a giveaway to Saudi Arabia than we suspected:
When the Trump administration declared an emergency last month and fast-tracked the sale of more American arms to Saudi Arabia, it did more than anger members of Congress who opposed the sale on humanitarian grounds.
It also raised concerns that the Saudis could gain access to technology that would let them produce their own versions of American precision-guided bombs – weapons they have used in strikes on civilians since they began fighting a war in Yemen four years ago.
The emergency authorization allows Raytheon Company, a top American defense firm, to team with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia. That provision, which has not been previously reported, is part of a broad package of information the administration released this week to Congress.
The move grants Raytheon and the Saudis sweeping permission to begin assembling the control systems, guidance electronics and circuit cards that are essential to the company’s Paveway smart bombs. The United States has closely guarded such technology for national security reasons [bold mine-DL].
The president has abused his power to expedite these arms sales, and in this case he is also giving away technology to the Saudis that will enable them to build more of the weapons they have used to slaughter thousands of Yemeni civilians. The Trump administration is apparently so desperate to cater to the Saudi government that it is willing to give them things that our government usually doesn’t share. Jarrett Blanc comments on the report:
Proliferation of sensitive production technologies to poorly controlling clients is a terrible idea. We should be working diplomatically to get Iran to do _less_ of this sort of nonsense, not doing more of it ourselves. So of course, current management… https://t.co/jAJcFuerRY
— Jarrett Blanc (@JarrettBlanc) June 7, 2019
Arming the war criminals in Riyadh is shameful, and circumventing Congress to do it over their objections is obnoxious, and handing the Saudis U.S. technology is irresponsible. This move also makes a mockery of the president’s lame job creation justification for selling so many weapons to the Saudis:
The production agreement took some lawmakers by surprise. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and an outspoken critic of the Yemen war, said it seemed “to serve no purpose other than to forfeit our technology and prevent future congressional oversight.”
The arrangement, which would effectively outsource jobs, appears to be at odds with Mr. Trump’s position that arms sales are important because of the American jobs they create.
The claim that arms sales are important for job creation was always overblown and a poor excuse for providing weapons that we know will be used to commit war crimes and kill civilians, but the Trump administration can’t even hide behind that argument now.
Fortunately, many members of Congress don’t buy the phony “emergency” declaration, and they understand very well that these weapons are going to be used to continue fueling the atrocious war on Yemen:
“The Saudis and Emiratis have become so intertwined with the Trump administration that I don’t think the president is capable of distinguishing America’s national interests from theirs,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the committee. “The administration has presented us no evidence that Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. face any substantially new or intensified threat from Iran that would justify declaring an emergency.”
Mr. Malinowski, a top human rights official under President Obama, said the bombs were for use in Yemen, not for defending the Saudi or Emirati homeland from Iran, as some Trump administration officials have suggested.
The Saudis receive one gift after another from Trump, and the US has nothing to show for any of it except to be implicated in their crimes and abuses. Innocent Yemenis will pay the price for these arms sales, and the US will continue to aid and abet the Saudi coalition’s war crimes thanks to Trump’s latest Saudi giveaway.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.