On June 26, Senator Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), informed Secretary Tillerson that, in light of the current diplomatic stalemate between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, the SFRC would not “provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment” to the six members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, or GCC — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Chairman Corker indicated that this policy would remain in place until the SFRC has “a better understand of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC.” Of course, many have urged the United States to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia for other reasons, in particular Saudi Arabia’s failure to comply with basic principles of international humanitarian law that have resulted in excessive civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing armed conflict in Yemen.
Does Chairman Corker’s letter signal an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries for the foreseeable future? Not necessarily.
Under Section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Congress generally must be notified at least 30 calendar days before the Executive Branch can take the final steps to finalize foreign arms sales above certain dollar value thresholds. The notification periods differ slightly for sales to NATO member countries, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, and New Zealand. Continue Reading