US government approves multibillion-dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

US government approves multibillion-dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE
Update: 03 August 2022 21:42
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Just weeks after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, the US government cleared the way for arms sales to its oil-rich allies in the region

According to a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), a government body responsible for foreign military sales, the state department approved possible sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) worth $3.05 billion and $2.24 billion, respectively.

Under the terms of the approval, the US will be able to sell Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system missiles to UAE 

The approval comes at a time when the US softens the relations with Saudi Arabia to fulfill its energy requirement after years of tensions due to the murder of a dissident journalist in the Saudi embassy in Turkey and the Saudi interference to the war in Yemen. 

Biden, then a presidential candidate had labeled Saudi Arabia a pariah state but when oil prices skyrocketed after the war in Ukraine, he bumped a fist with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he personally held responsible for the murder of Kashoggi, in a visit to Jeddah to discuss business relations.

The DSCA statement said that the proposed deal with Saudi Arabia will help replenish its “dwindling” stocks of Patriot missiles, arming the Saudis with 300 new weapons.

“These missiles are used to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s borders against persistent Houthi cross-border unmanned aerial systems and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia,” the statement said.

The approval coincided with the United Nations announcement of a two-month extension of the truce in Yemen where Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebel group have been engaged in a years-long bloody conflict that has killed thousands of civilians.