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The U.S. Senate voted 53-46 to defeat the Murphy-Paul-Franken bill that would have been a step in getting Congress to cancel a $500 arms sale to Saudi Arabia.   The weapons deal had been done by Obama officials, but never approved by Congress.  Now it's a go.


The Senate voted to approve the weapons despite a raging plague of cholera in Yemen brought on by "allied" bombing that has wrecked water systems.   There's been over 100,000 cases of cholera this year and as of mid-June some 900 reported deaths.  The weapons that were subject of the vote are called "precision guided munitions" though the record of Saudi/UAE airstrikes (with U.S. guidance) is anything but precise, with wedding parties, funerals, and factory worker being hit right and left. 


After Trump's visit it's pretty clear the Saudis have a free hand to use anything they want to support the forces they favor in the Yemeni civil war.  The Senate vote confirms it.


The good news is that the opposition is growing.  On May 19 the American Bar Association Center  for Human Rights issued a report that said the kingdom was complicit in "gross human rights violations" in Saudi Arabia and that its human rights violations in Yemen "requires a cessation of further arms sales".  A letter signed by 41 human rights groups and other NGO's called for cancellation of the deal   Just Foreign Policy and CODEPINK send out alerts daily.  A day before the vote a Washington Post writer said that a close vote would be a "political setback" for Trump and the Saudis. 


Last fall a similar effort to limit arms sales received only 27 votes.  This time Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer announced in advance he would vote against the arms deal and Senator Bernie Sanders announced his conversion to opposition in a speech before the Senate.  The vote was pretty much along party lines, but 4 or 5 Republicans joined Democrats is opposing the arms sale.  Why the change?  Either these politicians have seen the light or the Democrats are partisans who are willing to defy the president since he's not a member of their party..  Either way opposition to the Kingdom of Horrors becomes more mainstream.


The good news is drowned by the roars of Saudi and UAE jets (made by U.S. companies) sending their deadly payloads over Saudi skies and the cries of people losing their bodily fluids due to cholera.