In response to the proposed sale of U.S. missiles to Saudi Arabia, Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders are leading a bipartisan effort to oppose the sale. This is still a fight of David and Goliath, as Congress has never successfully stopped an arms sale. It’s time for that to change.
While President Biden has pledged to end support for “offensive operations,” U.S. support for Saudi Arabia has continued under the guise of defense. There have been advances, namely a halt on new SDB smart-bomb sales. But the U.S. has relabeled, not halted, the support, which could end Saudi involvement in the Yemeni war altogether. The U.S. continues logistical support for Saudi warplanes and helicopters, the chief means through which the Saudis conduct their offensives.
Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity isn’t threatened. The country is actively engaged in an offensive war of its own choosing, and the U.S. tipping the scales in Saudi Arabia’s favor just perpetuates that war. U.S. neutrality, by contrast, would bring Yemen closer to a negotiated peace. As Saudi Arabia has been forced to deal with diminished U.S. support since April, it has begun brandishing diplomacy instead of bombs.