Washington: US is planning to sell a billion dollars-worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including some $670 million-worth of anti-tank missiles. The Gulf State is waging a war on Yemen, in which 10,000 civilians have so far died.
The sale also includes support, maintenance and spare parts for American tanks, helicopters and other equipment already in Saudi Arabia’s arsenal. Lawmakers have 30 days to act if they want to try and stop the deal.
The announcement came two days after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with President Trump as the royal started a three-week tour of the U.S. Earlier Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the prince that Saudi Arabia was “part of the solution” in Yemen, where the Saudis are leading a U.S.-backed military campaign against Houthi rebels that has been heavily criticized for inflicting civilian casualties.
Earlier this week the Senate debated and then shelved a resolution calling for an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Mattis had opposed the measure, saying it would be counterproductive by increasing civilian casualties, jeopardizing counter terrorism cooperation and emboldening Iran to increase its support for Houthi rebels.
Mattis said the Saudis had “stood by the United Nations-recognized government, and we are going to end this war. That is the bottom line. And we are going to end it on positive terms for the people of Yemen but also security for the nations in the peninsula.”