United States sells $1.1 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia
The U.S State Department has sold an estimated $1076.8 million of military equipment to Saudi Arabia according to the Defense Post. The recorded arms deal, which includes 6,600 missiles, Howitzers, parts for M1A2 Abrams tanks, Humvees, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and maintenance services was reported by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Thursday.
As The Region writes in an article "United States sells $1.1 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, fuelling Yemen crisis", the deal also sees Saudi Arabia dealing with a contractor named DynCorp International, which will provide Riyadh with maintenance and technical support -- including training, blueprints for engineers and custom requests.
Also on Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he hoped for an end to the conflict in Yemen. "We must also reinvigorate urgent efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the civil war in Yemen and we support you in this regard," he told the Prince. According to Reuters, he also praised Saudi Arabia for the "significant amounts of humanitarian aid" it was providing to Yemen.
Saudi Arabia began an aerial bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in 2015. The war in Yemen is estimated to have caused the displacement of over 2 million people. The country is at a high risk of nation-wide famine, and already nearly 1 million people have been diagnosed with cholera.
The war in Yemen has often been called the worlds largest humanitarian crisis by the United Nations. The head of the UN office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that "The situation in Yemen -- today, right now, to the population of the country -- looks like the apocalypse,"
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump of the United States praised the arms trade with Yemen. Trump, who negotiated $200 billion worth of Saudi investments with the United States (which included military gear), said to reporters that "Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they're going to give the United States some of that wealth", He also credited military sales with Saudi Arabia for producing 40,000 American jobs.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S Senate failed to pass a resolution seeking an end to U.S support for Saudi Arabian involvement in Yemen. Many Democrats voted in favour of the resolution, but some Democrats joined the Republicans in killing the motion.
As of today, the United States is still supportive of Saudi Arabia's efforts. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a senior American official said that Washington's commitment to Saudi Arabia partially stems from its need to curtail the "threatening behaviour" of some "dangerous" regional players, referring to Iran. "Saudi Arabia is a primary partner and old friend" he told the outlet, "We look forward to bolstering ties further in joint security and economy," he concluded.