U.S. Halts Saudi Arms Sale But Boasts Massive Sales to Other Gulf Allies

United States (GPA) – The United States has announced they will be canceling– or at least holding off– on an expected arms sale to Saudi Arabia due to the high number of civilian casualties in Yemen. However, military aid in other areas will continue flowing to Riyadh. Other Gulf allies complicit in the Saudi-led coalition will continue to receive military aid as well.

On December 8th, the U.S. Defense Department announced five major upcoming weapon deals including sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. If completed, the deals were expected to total a whopping $7.9 billion. These five are on top of the sales announced in November to Qatar and Kuwait. Well now Washington appears to be backing-out of the Saudi part of the deal– but not entirely.

A Reuters exclusive reported today that the United States would be halting some air dropped munitions destined for Saudi Arabia including precision-guided munitions. Instead, Washington has decided to focus on beefing-up security along the Saudi-Yemeni border and intelligence sharing. “It’s not a matter of how smart or dumb the bombs are, it’s that they’re not picking the right targets. The case in point … is the one on the funeral,” an official said.

A close-up view of two GBU-12 laser-guided bombs mounted under the wing of an F-4E Phantom II aircraft.

A close-up view of two GBU-12 laser-guided bombs mounted under the wing of an F-4E Phantom II aircraft.

So will this change the United States’ approach to Yemen? Not at all. Morocco, Qatar, and the U.A.E. are all major players in the Saudi-led coalition and are all expected to receive physical military support including Apache attack helicopters and missiles. Qatar will also be receiving logistics support and parts to revamp its C-17 fleet.

Indeed, the United States is just trying to save its own skin. The international community hasn’t bought into western propaganda concerning Yemen the same way they have with Syria. It is clear that the United States is knowingly– although indirectly– responsible for the deaths of thousands of Yemenis via Saudi Arabia. By making Qatar or the U.A.E. the new “face” of the war in Yemen, the United States is just distancing themselves from Saudi Arabia’s actions. The weapons will keep flowing to the same side in the same war just as they always have been, and the same powers will continue to pull the strings. The only thing that’s changing is how the weapons will get to where they’re headed.


This report prepared by Randi Nord for Geopolitics Alert.