On Saturday, the White House announced a $350 billion weapons deal with long-time Gulf State ally Saudi Arabia. The announcement comes as President Trump charts a new course with the Islamic world and meets with Arab leaders in Riyadh.
“The agreement, which is worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion that will take effect immediately, was hailed by the White House as ‘a significant expansion of … [the] security relationship between the two countries,” reports CNBC. “The arms package represents an enhancement of Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities as tensions flare in the region, with the U.S. viewing the Saudis as a linchpin in efforts to check the global ambitions of Iran.”
Since January, the Trump administration has been striving to move away from Obama-era policies privileging the fraught nuclear deal with Iran over America’s traditional alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“This package of defense equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats, while also bolstering the Kingdom’s ability to contribute to counter terrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the U.S. military to conduct those operations,” reads a White House statement announcing the arms deal.
As the president highlighted in his address to the Muslim world Sunday, the administration’s efforts to bolster its alliance with the Gulf States is underscored by the cooperation of America’s unparalleled defense contractors.
In this latest arms deal with the Saudis, Lockheed Martin will provide a significant portion of the weapons and technology to bolster U.S.-defense alliances in the region and move the kingdom’s economy forward.
The deal “will directly contribute to [Saudi Arabia’s] Vision 2030 by opening the door for thousands of highly skilled jobs in new economic sectors,” says a statement released by the defense contractor.
For better or for worse, selling weapons to the Saudis has become as American as apple pie.
Despite a sour relationship with Riyadh over his administration’s contentious nuclear deal, former President Obama always made sure to keep the supply line of weapons open to the Gulf State ally. In his last year in office, Obama “offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance,” according to Reuters. The offer came as Saudi fighter jets indiscriminately bombed Yemen, drawing widespread condemnation from human rights group and international monitors.