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5 US senators paid by Saudi lobby voted against Yemen war bill: Study

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US Congress is shown in this AFP file photo on November 14, 2018.

At least five of the 37 US republican senators who voted against a recent resolution to end US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen have received election contributions from lobbying groups working for Saudi Arabia, according to a study.

Senators Tim Scott, John Boozman, Roy Blunt, Richard Burr and Mike Crapo all received financial contributions from firms representing Saudi interests between 2016 and 2017, according to a report by the Center for International Policy (CIP).

The report, released last month by the Washington-based think tank, illustrates how Riyadh uses its vast wealth to influence US foreign policy.

All five Republican senators voted against advancing the bill, which, if passed, would force the US to limit its support for the devastating Saudi war in Yemen.

Senators in the upper chamber of Congress voted 63 to 37 to move the resolution forward. The House of Representatives has yet to take action over the Yemen war.

US President Donald Trump, who has touted the country’s lucrative purchase of arms from the US, has threatened to veto the bill if it arrives on his desk. 

Saudi Arabia spent around $27 million on lobbying in 2017, according to some estimates.

Some lobbying firms, such as the Glover Park Group and BRG Group, have dropped their Saudi clients in the wake of the backlash over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Trump has dismissed a CIA assessment that Saudi’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, likely ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

Trump has vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite repeated calls from members of Congress for a strong US response to Khashoggi’s death.

Khashoggi’s killing has put unprecedented pressure on the traditionally close ties between the two countries and helped bolster efforts to stop the Saudi-led war.

The Yemen war has killed more than 15,000 people and created the world’s most urgent humanitarian emergency.

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