EXCLUSIVE-Biden plans to change arms export policy to promote human rights -sources

US President Joe Biden’s administration is preparing an overhaul of arms export policy to place more emphasis on human rights, a departure from former President Donald Trump’s priority on economic benefits for US defense contractors, said four people familiar with the initiative.

Defense companies and activists are examining these policies to better understand the administration’s position as it balances the business interests of exporters like Lockheed Martin Co and Raytheon Technologies with the country’s stated commitment to human rights. man. Two State Department deputy assistant secretaries will brief Congress staff on Biden’s proposed Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy on Friday, two of those familiar with the situation said, with an official unveiling expected as early as September. .

The administration briefed a smaller group of congressional assistants about two weeks ago, underscoring the State Department’s desire for a “more robust” review of arms sales with more contributions from the rights office. of the department man, said an administrative source and a congressional aide who attended. Details of the proposed change have yet to be finalized and are being released to other more export-friendly agencies like the Defense Ministry, the people said. The Pentagon has traditionally advocated putting weapons in the hands of the allies so that US forces can rely more on them in conflicts abroad.

A congressional aide involved in the briefings on the issue said he expected any policy change to have the greatest impact on sales of smaller weapons such as assault rifles and equipment. surveillance, which can be used by the police or paramilitary forces against national populations. A senior administration official confirmed that the new CAT policy is under development and “will help us build and maintain strategic partnerships that best reflect US values ​​and interests.”

The new policy would also make it possible to “discuss more firmly” the links between arms transfers and human rights, the official said. The revamped policy could affect sales in countries like the Philippines, where human rights groups have called for an investigation into police use of lethal force in raids.

Sales of major systems, such as air defense systems or naval systems, could be slowed down, although they would likely continue to grow. “In some cases, it will add an extra layer to get the yes on a particular case,” said the congressional aide.

PROGRESSIVE PRESSURE Supporters of a stronger focus on human rights have said the change could affect sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, especially given the pressure from the United Arab Emirates. Biden’s progressive wing of the Democratic Party on the civilian toll of their raids in the Civil War. in Yemen.

“A new American approach to arms sales is absolutely necessary. We need to move beyond approaching arms sales as a transaction, ”said Rachel Stohl, vice president of the Stimson Center in Washington. “Overall, the Biden people seem to be in the same fashion as the Trump people in promoting arms exports,” the congressional aide said, noting that the pace of arms sales under the Biden administration is roughly the same as under Trump.

The United States is by far the world’s largest arms dealer, selling more than $ 100 billion in arms, services, and training annually. Trump, a Republican who promoted arms sales as a way to create jobs in the United States, deployed in 2018 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-arms/trump-launches -effort-to-boost- us-weapons-sales-abroad-idUSKBN1HQ2E6 a new version of the CAT policy that gives as much weight to commercial concerns as to human rights in the decision to approve or not the sales weapons.

US arms makers have backed Trump’s strategy https://www.reuters.com/article/cbusiness-us-usa-trump-arms-insight-idCAKBN1HO2PT-OCABS, which called on Cabinet secretaries to act in as close to major arms deals and sent top government officials to promote US arms at international air shows and arms bazaars. Trump himself has promoted arms deals in meetings and conversations with foreign leaders, including urging the Emir of Kuwait to move forward with a $ 10 billion fighter plane deal. .

He controversially rejected Congress’ consideration of major arms deals to push through a massive sale of smart bombs and other weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, despite concerns over the war in the United Arab Emirates. Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump said Riyadh was spending billions “buying military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other major US defense contractors” and that canceling the contracts would be “foolish.”

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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