Trump Administration Plans to Approve $1 Billion Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by ‪Vice President Mike Pence‬ (L) and Energy Secretary Rick Perry (R), hosts Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a working lunch at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Trump administration plans to approve a $1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, the State Department announced during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States this week.

The White House has signaled its support for the sale, which would include around 6,700 anti-tank missiles and $300 million in parts for the Saudis’ helicopters and tanks, the department said Thursday.

The Defense Department confirmed the deal in its own release. “This proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

“This potential sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key partners in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase stability.”

However, the deal is likely to cause controversy due to the Saudis’ role in Yemen. Saudi Arabia ― the largest foreign buyer of American-made arms ― is a major belligerent in the Yemeni civil war, and since March of 2015 has carried out a deadly airstrike campaign against the Houthi rebel group that opposes the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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SOURCE: The Huffington Post, Nick Visser and Nick Robins-Early