Rand Paul Tries To Block Sale Of F-16s To Pakistan Through Obscure Rule

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

GOP Sen. [crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore] is pushing hard to block the Obama administration’s sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Despite protest, the Obama administration pushed through the sale of $700 million worth of F-16s to Pakistan, ostensibly for humanitarian and counter-terror reasons. Paul, however, is opting for one last ditch effort to block the transaction, Politico reports.

Although the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 hasn’t been played decades, the senator is relying on this bit of legislation, combined with a resolution forwarded in the senate, to prevent the F-16s from ever reaching Pakistan. The resolution was introduced Feb. 25.

“The U.S. and Pakistani relationship has been a troubled one,” Paul said in a statement. “Though the government of Pakistan has been considered America’s ally in the fight on terrorism, Pakistan’s behavior would suggest otherwise. While we give them billions of dollars in aid, we are simultaneously aware of their intelligence and military apparatus assisting the Afghan Taliban.”

The Arms Export Control Act includes a process whereby a senator can introduce a resolution to block arms sales. After the resolution is introduced, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has ten days to act on it. Those ten days have elapsed, meaning Paul can push a floor vote to discharge the resolution.

It’s likely Paul will get the floor vote he’s looking for in advance of the next recess, which takes place March 21, one Republican told Politico.

Blocking foreign military aid to Pakistan has been a consistent theme of Paul’s tenure in the senate.

Several other members of Congress have tried to block the sale to little effect. These legislators say Pakistan has a history of receiving U.S. military aid and then ignoring or even outright supporting terror networks. GOP Rep. [crscore]Ted Poe[/crscore] said in December the idea of Pakistan using F-16s for humanitarian reasons is completely suspect.

“I don’t know how an F-16, with all of its hardware on there for combat can be used for humanitarian aid. If they were buying C-130s … I could see those being used for humanitarian aid. But F-16! It’s not really humanitarian aid.”

The justification that Pakistan would rely on the F-16s to combat terrorism has run up against disbelief, as many charge Pakistan has provided a safe space for the Haqqani terror network to operate. Some Pakistani security officials reportedly back away from cracking down on the network because it forwards Pakistani interests in Afghanistan, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

“Senator Paul believes that over the last few years we have seen that Pakistan is an uncertain ally when it comes to cooperating with our nation,” Paul’s communications director Sergio Gor told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “As he travels in Kentucky, he meets countless individuals who are struggling to survive in this economy, the last thing they want to happen is for American tax dollars to be spent on Pakistan.”

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