No THAAD Sytems to Saudi As US Senate Blocks $8 Billion Arms Sales To Riyadh

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:49 AM, June 21, 2019
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No THAAD Sytems to Saudi As US Senate Blocks $8 Billion Arms Sales To Riyadh
Lockheed Martin THAAD missile defense system (image: UPI)

Saudi Arabia will not be able to acquire the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense systems as the United States (US) senate has blocked $8 Billion arms sales to Riyadh and its allies, owing to their interference in the Yemen conflict.

The Republican-led Senate joined the Democrats in a symbolic rebuke to President  Donald Trump who had claimed earlier this year that "emergency" circumstances require Washington to provide Riyadh with more precision-guided bombs because of Iranian threats. This is the first time the Senate has advanced legislation to block arms sales, after two failed attempts to block separate sales to Riyadh in 2016 and 2017. 

Total arms sales by the US to Saudi Arabia, UAE and its Gulf allies have amounted to over $ 20 Billion in 2019 alone. Most of these arms have been bought by members of the Coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and for restoring ‘legitimacy’ in Yemen.

The blockade will deviate arms sales to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE); it could thus prevent the sale of $946 million-worth sophisticated Lockheed Martin missile systems and related support, to Riyadh.

According to a report published by The New York Times on June 7, Trump's administration is allowing Raytheon to work with Saudi to manufacture control systems, circuit cards, and guidance electronics used to make smart bombs.

The UAE however managed to secure a $353 deal with Raytheon for Patriot missiles during the IDEX-2019 exhibition.

Trump's administration in May of this year bypassed Congress’s approval to give a go-ahead to the arms procurement when the president used emergency authority to approve 22 contracts that include the sale of mortar bombs, missiles, drones, repair and maintenance services, and precision-guided munitions to Saudi and the UAE.

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