20, Jun, 2019
$8 billion US arms sales to deter Iranian threat

$8 billion US arms sales to deter Iranian threat

The sales come after Trump vetoed an attempt by Congress to stop US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has bypassed Congress to sell $8.1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, citing a threat from Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration would circumvent the required review by Congress to approve 22 arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan, saying that the freeze on sales by Congress could affect the Arab allies’ operational abilities.

The weapons, which include munitions and aircraft support maintenance, are meant “to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defence capacity”, Pompeo said in a statement.

The sales come after Trump vetoed an attempt by Congress to stop US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Pompeo has resolutely defended US support for the Saudis, noting that the Houthi rebels who control much of Yemen are allied with US adversary Iran and saying that Houthi rocket attacks into Saudi Arabia could kill Americans taking commercial flights.

Trump has waged a major campaign to roll back Iran’s influence in the Middle East and also on Friday announced he was deploying 1,500 additional US troops to the region.

Pompeo said he considered the emergency sales to be a one-off and voiced frustration that the US was no longer being seen as a “reliable security partner for our allies”.

On Friday, Trump seemed to downplay the prospect of conflict when he spoke at the White House. “Right now, I don’t think Iran wants to fight and I certainly don’t think they want to fight with us,” he said.

[“source=khaleejtimes”]