Trump administration pushing $500m arms sale to Riyadh: Reviews | Weapons Information
Donald Trump’s administration plans to sell nearly $ 500 million worth of arms to Saudi Arabia before the US president leaves the White House, US media reported, a move that one expert calls “moral outrage” designated.
Citing two unnamed sources familiar with the issue, Bloomberg reported that the State Department on Tuesday informed Congress that it would license Riyadh to sell precision-guided air-to-ground ammunition, the value of which valued at $ 478 m.
U.S. gun maker Raytheon Technologies Corp will be able to sell the guns directly to the Saudis if it gets the license, Bloomberg said.
The Washington Post also reported that the weapons would be manufactured in the Gulf Kingdom under the terms of the deal, which has been in the works since early 2019. The agreement also includes a $ 97 million internal security communications system, the newspaper said.
The news of the proposed sale, which Al Jazeera was unable to independently confirm, came as Trump entered the final weeks of his presidency.
The Republican leader was a staunch supporter of Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally, and the country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, made strong U.S.-Saudi Arabia ties a pillar of his government’s Middle East policy made.
Trump personally protected Crown Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, from criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.
War in yemen
The war in Yemen began in 2014 when Houthi rebels took control of large parts of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates formed a US-backed military coalition to restore the government of Riyadh-backed Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
US politicians have criticized Trump’s unwavering support for Riyadh and, in particular, the government’s continued assistance to Saudi Arabia-led forces in the war-torn country facing a major humanitarian catastrophe.
Trump vetoed a bill in Congress last year to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led war effort.
The United Nations warned last month that Yemen could experience the worst famine in decades.
Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said the proposed US arms sale to Saudi Arabia was “a moral outrage”.
“This new arms shipment only deepens American complicity with the crisis in Yemen, which is widely considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis on our planet,” Hashemi told Al Jazeera on Thursday in an email.
“This new arms shipment needs to be understood in relation to Trump’s office over the past few days. He pardons his corrupt friends and allies and releases the Blackwater Guards from war crimes in Iraq for which they have been convicted in a US court. “
The Washington Post also reported this week that the US is weighing a motion to grant MBS immunity from the US federal prosecutor in a case involving alleged threats against a former Saudi intelligence officer.
“This is not a time to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia as it kills thousands of civilians in air strikes on targets in Yemen,” said William Hartung, director of weapons and security programs at the Center for International Policy, a non-presidential profit group in Washington, DC, on the reported arms trade.
Hartung said in an email that the sale to Riyadh, like a recent $ 23 billion arms deal with the UAE, could enable violations of international humanitarian law.
“The fact that the Trump administration is pushing these deals on the way to the door is outrageous. Congress and the new Biden administration should block these sales as soon as possible, “Hartung told Al Jazeera.
President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on January 20, has promised to reassess US-Saudi Arabia relations when he takes office.
“Under a Biden Harris administration, we will reassess our relationship with the kingdom [of Saudi Arabia]End US support for the war in Saudi Arabia in Yemen and make sure America doesn’t check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil, “Biden said in October.