Daily Management Review

U.S. Firms To Supply Precision Munitions Worth $7 Billion To Saudi Arabia: Media Reports


11/23/2017




U.S.  Firms To Supply Precision Munitions Worth $7 Billion To Saudi Arabia: Media Reports
Precision guided munitions, valued at $7 billion, would be bought by Saudi Arabia from U.S. defense contractors, according to the latest media reports. However, the reports also indicated that there could be objections to the deal in America on apprehension that the weapons could be used or contribute to the deaths of civilians in the Saudi campaign in Yemen
 
At the time of President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, the Gulf country had struck agreements to purchase weapons worth $110 billion and this deal, which would be supplied by Raytheon Co and Boeing Co, is part of that agreement.
 
There were no comments available from both the companies.
 
The U.S. Congress needs to approve any arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council member states because of their contentious nature.
 
Official notification of the precision guided munitions deal is yet to be notified to the Congress by the U.S. State Department.
 
“We do not comment to confirm or deny sales until they are formally notified to Congress,” a State Department official said. The official added that the U.S. government will take into account factors “including regional balance and human rights as well as the impact on the U.S. defense industrial base.”
 
A Saudi-led Arab coalition backs the Yemen government which is pitted against the Iran-allied Houthi rebels in the civil war in the country. The United Nations said in March that there has been death of about 4,800 civilians since March 2015.
 
Saudi Arabia has said that it has attempted to reduce civilian casualties or has denied any role in the attacks or talked about the existence of fighters in the targeted areas.
 
All the agreements that were signed during Trump’s visit would be followed up, said Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman, who however said nothing about the specific sale.
 
“... Saudi Arabia’s market selection remains a choice and is committed to defending its security” even while United States has been always chosen as the country to purchase weapons from, he said.
 
Ever since taking office in January, arms sales worth billions of dollars have bene announced by Trump who is a Republican and one who sees sale of weapons as a means to generate jobs in the United States.
 
The dispute between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other members of the GCC and Qatar is the reason that any arms deal with the main three Arab states would be opposed vigorously, Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had announced in June, and therefore there are chances that this arms agreement could get blocked in Congress.
 
The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has made the U.S. lawmakers increasingly critical of it. Following the firing of a missile by the Houthis, which the Saudis shot down over Riyadh, naval, air and land transportation to Yemen was banned by the coalition.
 
The Saudis “are one errant strike away from moving five or six senators over to the other side”, said David Des Roches, a senior military fellow at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies in Washington, who was aware of the deal.
 
“Saudi Arabia has shown they will fight in Yemen and they’re going to keep on fighting in Yemen regardless of what we think,” Des Roches said.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)






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