Would Sanders Support Murphy-Paul Conditions on Military Aid to Saudi Arabia?

On April 21, the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland and the National Iranian American Council sponsored a “Presidential Surrogates Foreign Policy Debate” between former Assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb, a foreign policy advisor and surrogate for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet, a foreign policy advisor and surrogate for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

In the debate, the surrogates were asked whether their candidate would support the bill introduced by Senator Chris Murphy [D-CT] and Senator Rand Paul [R-KY], S.J. Res 32, which would require the President to certify that Saudi Arabia was working to minimize civilian casualties in its war in Yemen and cooperating with the US against ISIS and Al Qaeda as a condition of US weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia. (Rep. Ted Lieu [D-CA] and Rep. Ted Yoho [R-FL] have introduced a companion bill in the House, H.J. Res 90.)

Derek Chollet, the Clinton surrogate, said that he could not answer because he was not familiar with the bill.

Larry Korb, the Sanders surrogate, said he was familiar with the bill and thought that Senator Sanders would support it.

An “unofficial transcript” of the exchange (i.e., transcribed by me from the video) follows. The question begins at approximately 1:18:20.

You can email your Senators about the Murphy-Paul bill here and call them here. You can vote for a question about the Murphy-Paul bill in Monday’s Florida Senate “open debate” between Rep. Alan Grayson [D-FL] and Rep. David Jolly [R-FL] here.

Indira Lakshmanan: We’re going to take another question from one of our viewers, who tweeted us to ask, Derek Chollet, does Secretary Clinton support Senator Chris Murphy and Senator Rand Paul’s call for new conditions on US military support for Saudi Arabia?

Derek Chollet: I don’t know.

IL: OK, what would be your thought?

DC: I’d have to see what those conditions are. I mean, we don’t give them everything they want, I used to handle the Saudi account at the Pentagon and there’s a lot that the Saudis are interested in that we don’t give them for a whole variety of reasons. So I would have to take a look at that more closely to advise her on what I would say…

IL: OK, fair enough. Larry, are you familiar… ?

Larry Korb: I am, and I think Senator Sanders would support it. Again, because as he’s talked about, the concern about what the Saudis do and how they get away with things. Remember, we got Chris Murphy and Rand Paul, different parts of the ideological spectrum, and they’re the same group that’s supporting get them to release the 28 pages, of the 9/11 report.