Representatives from two major defense contractors whose advanced weaponry is being used in the Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign that has killed scores of civilians in Yemen were quick to defend the human rights record of the Persian Gulf kingdom in a panel discussion held last week in Washington, D.C.

Ronald L. Perrilloux Jr., an executive with Lockheed Martin, complained of an atmosphere of “hostile media reports” shaping the views of Congress, most of which, he said, are “patently false.”

“Another significant irritant,” Perrilloux said, “is the application of human rights laws” toward U.S. allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Perrilloux argued that these countries, despite being “better partners to us than some of our NATO allies,” were being unfairly judged compared to Chinese human rights abuses.

Democrats on Capitol Hill recently blocked arms transfers to Saudi Arabia over concerns regarding the rising civilian death toll caused by the campaign.

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