Members on both sides of the US Congress are deeply “concerned” that President Donald Trump will bypass the legislature and sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the New York Times has reported. Both countries are deeply involved in the war in Yemen.
According to the NYT, US legislators are saying that several countries in the Middle East are seeking to purchase drones, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Members of the Congress also point out that both are waging devastating aerial warfare in Yemen and have killed thousands of civilians.
Congress has sought to prevent the Trump administration and US companies from selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE following criticism of America for selling bombs used in the war.
Last Friday, Trump signed a measure allowing US defence firms to bypass the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a 1987 agreement between 35 countries to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and sell drones to foreign governments previously barred from buying them.
The White House said that under the new policy, drones that fly at speeds below 800 kilometres per hour are no longer subject to the MTCR’s strict rules. This opens the way for the sale of General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (“Predator B”) and Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk drones.