Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Yemeni children hold pictures of airstrike victims during a rally outside the United Nations Office in Sana'a, Yemen

Yemeni children hold pictures of airstrike victims during a rally outside the United Nations Office in Sana'a, Yemen. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

Top Democrat Condemns Trump Plan to Sell 'Most Highly Sophisticated Killing Machine' to UAE

"Does it make the Middle East safer," asked Sen. Chris Murphy, "or does it just make defense companies richer?"

Andrea Germanos

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy expressed fresh criticism this week over the Trump administration's proposed $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, asking if selling "the most highly sophisticated killing machines in the world" will make the Middle East safe or simply "just make defense companies richer."

Murphy (D-Conn.), who's been a fervent critics of the war on Yemen, introduced along with Sens. Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a package of resolutions last month to block the sales. The measures could face a vote as early as this week. 

The proposed weapons transfer, which followed the Abraham Accords, includes F-35 fighter jets, armed drones, missiles, and other military equipment.

The sale has been met with sustained criticism from anti-war and human rights groups who point to the likelihood the arms will simply worsen the humanitarian crises in Yemen and possibly be used to violate international law.

The Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE and others, has been blamed for massive civilian casualties and destruction of essential infrastructure in the ongoing war in Yemen. Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said in a statement last month the "startling fact that the United States government continues its unflinching support of providing weapons that risk adding to the devastating toll of Yemeni civilians unlawfully killed and injured by U.S.-made weapons should shake to the core every person living in this country."

The likelihood that the resolutions of disapproval will pass is unclear. "If every Democrat supports the resolution, they would need two Republican senators in addition to Paul to pass the resolutions of disapproval through the Senate," The Hill reported last week, though because "the measures are privileged they can come up for a vote despite opposition from GOP leadership."

In an 11-part Twitter thread Monday, Murphy pointed to billionaire brothers Neal and Linden Blue, saying the General Atomics owners "are about to make $3 BILLION from the UAE arms sales" and blamed drones for contributing to blowback and civilian casualties. The senator tweeted, in part:

"The story of the Blue brothers is a prime example of how the interests of defense contractors, not the actual security interests of the United States, too often guide our defense spending and our arms sales policy," wrote Murphy. "A cautionary tale for the incoming Biden team."

Murphy's tweets came as other anti-war voices added to the chorus of opposition to the arms sale. Among the voices was Paul Kawika Martin, senior director of policy and political affairs advocacy group Peace Action:

Progressive advocacy group FCNL this week also reupped its call for a halt to the potential sale.

"Time to end U.S. complicity in the world's worst humanitarian crisis," the group tweeted Sunday.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Groups Demand Hearings on the 'Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act'

"The longer Congress waits," warned one advocate, "the stronger and more dangerous this industry will become."

Kenny Stancil ·


Democrats Urge Biden to Abandon Dangerous Trump Policies on Nuclear Weapons

With the Nuclear Posture Review, say congressional lawmakers, the president can ensure "future generations can finally be free from the nuclear sword of Damocles that hangs over all our heads."

Andrea Germanos ·


'There Is No Military Solution': Jayapal, Lee Demand Diplomacy on Ukraine

"We call upon our colleagues to allow the administration to find a diplomatic way out of this crisis," said the progressive Democrats.

Jake Johnson ·


Gun-Maker Slammed for 'Children's Assault Rifles' Based on AR-15

"At first glance, this comes across as a grotesque joke," said one gun control advocate. "On second look, it's just grotesque."

Jessica Corbett ·


Biden Urged to Nominate Black Woman to Supreme Court as Breyer Says He'll Retire

"President Biden has an opportunity to secure a seat on the bench for a justice committed to protecting our democracy and the constitutional rights of all Americans, including the freedom to vote."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo