Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul is expected to offer legislation as soon as Wednesday that would block President Donald Trump’s $110 billion weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
Paul’s planned bill disapproving of the arms deal, confirmed by a Senate source familiar with the timeline, comes as Trump completes the first leg of an overseas trip that began with a warm welcome from the Saudi royal family in Riyadh. Paul recently joined three Democrats in proposing to make future arms sales contingent on reining in Saudi military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, and he is likely to take advantage of a 1976 law that allows any senator to force a vote on halting overseas arms sales.
Full report @ Politico http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/23/rand-paul-saudi-arabia-arms-sales-238730
Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, reports NYT.
According to NYT, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.
Full Report by Robert Wenzel @ The Ron Paul Report Institute:http://www.ronpaullibertyreport.com/archives/saudi-arabia-threatens-united-states-will-dump-us-treasury-holdings-if-congress-passes-9-11-bill
The United Nations top official on human rights recently told the U.N. Security Council that the U.S.-supported, Saudi Arabian-led coalition of Sunni nations fighting Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen bore a disproportionate responsibility for attacks on civilians. Since the civil war in Yemen began in March 2015, more than 2,700 civilians have been killed and dozens of hospitals and schools have been attacked, leading the United Nations to warn of violations of international law.
The problem is that the United States is supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes by providing intelligence for targeting and also by refueling coalition’s war planes, thus extending the range of their bombing. Domestically, Saudi Arabia has a horrendous record on human rights that it is exporting to Yemen via bombing civilians there. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein exacerbated the Sunni-Shi’ite division throughout the Islamic world, and the war in Yemen is actually a joust for influence in the Persian Gulf between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran, which are bitter regional rivals
Full commentary by Ivan Eland of The Independent Institute @ http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=8635
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting Donald Trump’s remarks about banning Muslims from entering the United States, saying that Israel “respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”
“Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”
Full report from NBC News @ http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trumps-muslim-comments-draw-rebuke-netanyahu-n477141
In defense establishment discussions of the Iranian nuclear agreement, Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, which advises the government on nuclear issues, has endorsed the pact, a source familiar with the commission’s stance told Haaretz Thursday. The panel’s position runs directly counter to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cabinet ministers and most of the political opposition.
The commission’s members say they are convinced that the April 2 agreement between Iran and the world powers will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. In recent years these experts have been analyzing information about Iran’s nuclear project, and estimating how far away the Islamic Republic was from developing a bomb. The panel’s viewpoint deals only with the technical aspects of the agreement, and not with the geostrategic implications of its non-technical clauses, such as the gradual lifting of sanctions on Iran.
Full article @ Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.681918?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook
Today, 340 rabbis from all streams of Judaism sent a letter to all Members of Congress urging that they support the agreement between the international community and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program.
“We commend the U.S. and the other negotiating teams for their dedication to reaching an agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. This deal is good for the United States and our allies in the region, and is the best arrangement possible given current international realities,” declared Rabbi Steven Bob of Glen Ellyn, IL.
Rabbi Rachel Mikva of Chicago added, “A wide array of views about the nuclear deal exist among American Jews, as demonstrated in the recent Jewish Journal poll that showed 49% approving of the agreement (31% opposed) and 53% wanting Congress to approve it (35% opposed). However many Jewish Federations, AIPAC and other leading national Jewish organizations are campaigning in opposition, which is being interpreted to mean that American Jews want to see the deal scrapped. This is a false and dangerous message that we as rabbis hope to counter with our letter to Congress.”
– See more at: http://www.ameinu.net/newsroom/press-release/340-rabbis-urge-congress-to-support-nuclear-deal-with-iran/#sthash.5BQ0SiIo.dpuf
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
It advances the security interests of the P5+1 nations (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the European Union, their partners and allies in the Middle East, and the international community.
When implemented, the JCPOA will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran’s enrichment facilities and research and development, including advanced centrifuge research and deployment. Taken in combination with stringent limitations on Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile, these restrictions ensure that Iran’s capability to produce enough bomb grade uranium sufficient for one weapon would be extended to approximately 12 months for a decade or more.
Moreover, the JCPOA will effectively eliminate Iran’s ability to produce and separate plutonium for a nuclear weapon for at least 15 years, including by permanently modifying the Arak reactor, Iran’s major potential source for weapons grade plutonium, committing Iran not to reprocess spent fuel, and shipping spent fuel out of the country.
Full statement from a distinguished group of experts concerned with nuclear non-proliferation, with list of signers, can be read @ http://www.armscontrol.org/files/Nonpro_Specialist_statement_on_Iran_Deal_Aug_2015.pdf