saUDI ARABIA

Why Trump needs to obscure his Saudi arms sales
A troubled US-Saudi relationship hangs over the firing of a State Department inspector general

By ALISON TAHMIZIAN MEUSEMAY 20, 2020

he US-Saudi relationship, which has come under unprecedented bipartisan pressure in the era of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is facing fresh scrutiny this week.

Congressman Eliot Engel on Monday revealed that an inspector general fired by President Trump was investigating the validity of an “emergency” declaration used to expedite US$8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“I’ve learned there may be another reason for IG Linick’s firing. His office was investigating – at my request – Trump’s phony emergency declaration so he could send Saudi Arabia weapons,” tweeted Engel, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Monday.

Responding to reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to sit down with the inspector general for his investigation into the Saudi purchases, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu also tied the firing to the scrutiny over the massive deal.

“Last year my amendment to block arms sales to the Saudis passed the House. We all knew @SecPompeo made up a fake emergency justification. If Pompeo was right, he would have agreed to be interviewed. Instead he got IG fired.”

ecretary Pompeo has denied that the call for the inspector general’s removal was in retaliation for any investigation. Linick, who served in both the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations, is now the fourth inspector general to be fired from his or her respective agency by President Trump in the past six weeks.

What emergency?