Senator Rand Paul has launched stinging criticism of US President Donald Trump's "landmark agreement" during his recent Saudi Arabia visit - the conclusion of a massive arms deal, valued at $110 billion.In an op-ed for Fox News on Tuesday, Paul charged the US government with jeopardizing Israel's security and even initiating a potential arms race in the Middle East by signing the arms deal, described by Trump as "tremendous". "It would seem counterproductive to provide weapons that might someday be used against Israel," wrote Paul.
"If the past is any indication, any time we sell weapons to an adversary of Israel, the Israelis are forced to purchase more and newer weapons which only escalates an arms race in the Middle East."Ahead of this week's Senate vote on his resolution to stop the arms sale, the Republican senator highlighted what he considers considerable hypocrisy on the part of the US government. "In 2016, Congress overwhelmingly voted to allow the family members of those killed in the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia," Paul recalled. "So why, less than year later, are we agreeing to sell Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in arms to further escalate a war that has been loudly and repeatedly condemned internationally?"Paul, urging caution, concluded, "we must also pause and ask ourselves, does providing additional weapons to the Saudis make Israel safer or more dangerous in the long run?" Israel's response to the arms deal was notably muted with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making no public remark. After visiting Riyadh, Trump's next stop on his nine-day foreign tour was Israel. Among Israeli politicians that did react, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz commented that the deal "really should trouble us," and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz stressed that "Israel's qualitative military edge should be maintained."
Trump signs $110 billion Saudi arms deal (credit: REUTERS)