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President Trump approves arms sale worth $8 bn to Saudi, other Mideast nations to counter Iran, bypassing US Congress

Washington/Riyadh: The United States has decided to supply arms, worth $8 billion to its allies in the Middle East, asserting that the tensions in the region have risen, given the constant threats of attacks from Iran. Defying the US Congress, President Donald Trump has decided to sell arms on a large scale, to the nations of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Jordan on an immediate basis. The decision has attracted a severe reaction from Iran, which fired a salvo of criticism stating the decision to be a significant threat to international peace.

After stating that a state of emergency had emerged because of the tensions between the United States and Iran, President Trump announced the decision to supply arms to the three allies on an immediate basis. The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo dispensed information on President Trump’s decision. In a letter to the US Congress, Pompeo stated that ‘The Iranian movements have created a threat to the Mideast and US stability endangering the US interests. Therefore, considering the situation, the decision to supply arms on an immediate basis was taken, to curb the malign and dangerous Iranian activities.’

As per President Trump’s decision, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Jordan would be supplied with arms worth $8.1 billion. The weapons comprise of the Paveway laser-guided bombs, precision guided munitions (PGM’s), engines for use in F-16 fighter jets and Javelin anti-tank missiles.

For the last few months, senior US Congressmen have repeatedly issued warnings over arms cooperation with Saudi Arabia. The Members of the US Congress and senior officials had cautioned not to supply defence systems to Saudi, because of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin-Salman’s involvement in the Khashoggi killing and the conflict in Yemen.

Nevertheless, considering Iran’s nuclear program and its manoeuvres to dominate the Middle East, President Trump took the decision to enhance the defence cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Trump was, therefore, in the effort to arrange for the arms sale to Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, due to the Congress opposition, Trump had to decide by invoking his exclusive rights to approve the sale of arms to Saudi and other Middle East countries. Severe reactions are expected to emerge from the US as well as Iran.

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