Press Release: Groups Praise Murphy on Stand on Saudis
February 25, 2016
The Connecticut based groups Promoting Enduring Peace and the Middle East Crisis Committee are praising Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy for his public comments calling for suspension of U.S. support for Saudi’s Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen. Murphy has made increasingly critical remarks about that support first in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, then in an interview and also on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York at the end of January he said, “There is growing evidence our support for Saudi-led military campaigns in places like Yemen are prolonging humanitarian misery and aiding extremism.” He was critical on the Saudi backing for the spread worldwide for the extremist Wahhabi doctrine. He said “other strains of Islam can hardly keep up with the tsunami of money behind this export of intolerance”. He noted that “vicious terrorist groups that Americans knows by name are Sunni in derivation and greatly influenced by Wahhabi, Salafist teachings”
In an interview with Huffington Post’s Foreign Affair reporter Jessica Schulberg Murphy said, ““We are at war, the US is in many aspects are at war, against certain forces inside Yemen” and “We are actively coordinating with the Saudis with respect to targeting with respect to resources.” He said he’s for a complete reversal of U.S. policy towards that war and in regard to U.S. arms sales to the Saudis that directly will be used for its war in Yemen “that we not approve those sales”.
(Source: the audio interview is about 31 minutes into this podcast “Interviews with Zephyr Teachout, Chris Murphy, Reid Ribble, https://soundcloud.com/so-that-happened-1)
On the floor of the Senate he apparently went further calling for suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia not only over the Yemen war, but also “until we make some progress on this export of Wahhabism”. He noted Saudi money was going to spread Wahhabism, including the “teaching of intolerant Islam to hundreds of millions of young people”. He said the Saudis had spent $100 billion to spread Wahhabism since the 1960’s while as a point of comparison the Soviet Union spent less than a tenth of that amount, “$7 billion” to spread its doctrine over the whole 70 years of its existence.
Stanley Heller, Administrator of Promoting Enduring Peace said, “We agree completely with the Senator that the U.S. policy towards the Saudi monarchy needs to change. As he says the United States is ‘at war’ in Yemen. It’s another war that Congress never approved and is incredibly brutal. Every day it seems we hear reports of Saudi bombings of hospitals, weddings, workplaces and historical sites, sometimes with cluster bombs. At the start of this year the United Nations said that the conflict had been responsible for 8,119 civilian casualties in 2015, including 2,795 dead”.
“The Saudis had no business attacking Yemen in the first place. It was not an act of self-defense and was thus not permitted by international law. The ‘alliance’ the Saudis have created to fight the Yemen war is unsavory to say the least. It includes Sudan whose leaders stand accused of genocide and the al-Sisi government of Egypt which has killed thousands of Egyptian dissidents.”
“Murphy is also correct in his criticism of the Saudi funding of Wahhabism. It provides the doctrine on which even more extreme movements grow like al-Qaeda and ISIS. Saudi Wahhabism also provides the rationale for grotesque laws and punishments inside Saudi Arabia that trample on religious and other human rights and recently led to the execution of the renowned Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.”
Heller continued, “We hope the Senator will follow up his statements by leading a fight in Congress to stop all weapons sales to the Saudis. Measures like Senate resolutions should be tried and any Administration moves for further arms sales should be defeated. In fact all current weapons deliveries should be suspended. It’s time the U.S. sent the Saudis a very clear message against their wars and against their internal rights abuses.”
Promoting Enduring Peace was founded in New Haven in 1952. www.pepeace.org
The Middle East Crisis Committee was founded in New Haven in 1982 www.TheStruggle.org