The U.S. State Department has approved a $1.29 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that includes 22,000 smart and general-purpose bombs, including 1,000 GBU-10 Paveway II Laser Guided Bombs, and over 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits to turn older bombs into precision-guided weapons using GPS signals, BBC News reported today.
Saudi Arabia promotes the Wahhabi theology that has been embraced by ISIS, which is involved in large-scale terrorism, beheadings, crucifixions, and destruction of cultural heritages, and is carrying out indiscriminate air strikes in neighboring Yemen. The seven month-long ongoing air strikes by the Saudis have killed more than 1,000 Yemenis.
The U.S. Congress now has 30 days to stop the deal, if it wishes to do so, BBC News noted. The sale, if it is not blocked by the U.S. Congress, “will replenish the Royal Saudi Air Force’s current inventory, augmenting Saudi Arabia’s capability,” a State Department spokesman said, BBC News reported. The arms sale is Obama’s pledge to bolster military support for Saudi Arabia following a U.S.-brokered nuclear deal with Iran.
In addition to the announced arms sale, Saudi Arabia, one of the largest buyers of U.S. weapons, was approved in September for a potential second sale of 600 Patriot-PAC-3 air defense missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp., a deal valued at $5.4 billion, and last month the U.S. government also approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of up to four Littoral Combat Ships made by Lockheed for $11.25 billion, Reuters reported on Nov. 16.