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Democrats demand clarity on Trump’s 'sweeteners' in Saudi arms sales

Democrats argued that the White House may have ulterior motives for deals with Saudi. [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 July, 2020

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There is growing opposition to US arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

US Democrat Party lawmakers have demanded President Donald Trump's administration come clean about arms exports to Saudi Arabia, according to Foreign Policy.

Six Democrat lawmakers are challenging the administration's claims that Saudi arms deals could create "over a million" new jobs in the US.

US Representative Katie Porter of California is demanding information about recent negotiations between US defence contractors and Saudi officials, about the possibile transfer of technology to Riyadh and plans for American weapons to be manufactured in the kingdom.

"We write to you because we believe that the Trump administration has grossly exaggerated the economic benefits of arms exports, particularly to Saudi Arabia," the six lawmakers wrote to the Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Cordell Hull.

"Further, we believe that the extraordinary transfer of military technology to Saudi Arabia as part of recent arms sales may undermine the American defense industrial capacity and fuel violence in the Middle East."

Another US precision-guided munitions deal with Riyadh is also under scrutiny due to affixed "sweeteners", a congressional aide told AP.

"Giving this kind of military technology to the Gulf states is cause for concern," Porter said.

"Congress must investigate, not only because these sales undermined human rights and regional security but also because they may have undermined our own defense industrial capacity."

The total number of jobs created from these deals are estimated to be between 20,000 to 40,000, according to the Centre for International Policy. This would discredit Trump's claims of a huge job creation in the US from the arms deals.

The Trump administration is also considering ending its informal notification to Congress of arms exports, according to sources of another FP report.

The bi-partisan fight on arms sales to the Middle East has been put under the spotlight since Trump clashed with Democrats over his attempts to override Congress opposition to 22 arms deals with Gulf states.

There has also been ample congressional opposition to the US support for the Saudi-led coalition intervention in Yemen and the recent deployment of American troops to the Gulf state.

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