President Barack Obama's Administration does not need to halt arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
In August, Obama and his administration approved the sale of 130 Abram tanks, 20 armed battle vehicles, machine guns and other military equipment, according to Foreign Policy magazine. The value of the sale totals approximately $1.15 billion.
Senators Chris Murphy and Rand Paul, along with other members of Congress, strongly oppose this arms deal. According to Defense News, those in opposition to the sale believe that America is participating in attacks on Yemen by selling dangerous war materials to Saudi Arabia.
According to The Guardian, Saudi Arabia began intervening in Yemen’s civil war in March of 2015, primarily through air strikes. Since that time, more than 6,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed.
The United States sold many of the bombs used in these air strikes to Saudi Arabia.
For this reason, many congressional representatives, including Murphy and Paul, are calling for a discontinuation of the arms deal.
Halting sales, however, would not be a wise decision for the United States.
The Guardian reports that the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency gives justified reasoning for the approval of the arms deal.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic regional partner which has been and continues to be a leading contributor of political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” said a representative of the DSCA.
According to Foreign Policy magazine, Saudi Arabia is a longtime ally of the United States. In recent history, Osama bin Laden targeted both the United States and Saudi Arabia. The United States is not wrong in helping a longtime ally acquire materials to promote national security.
Foreign Policy writer Michael Pregent notes, “The fact is that Washington needs Saudi Arabia today more than ever if it is to defeat the so-called Islamic State, al Qaeda, and their global offshoots.” Given Saudi Arabia’s geographic placement and power in the Middle East, the United States needs to maintain favorable relations with the country.
In the future, the United States may need to take greater advantage of Saudi Arabia as an ally. In this case, it is wise to ensure that the country owns the proper equipment for militaristic protection of its borders.
Once the sale is complete, Saudi Arabia completely owns the weapons and materials traded in the arms deal. The United States is not responsible for the decisions that the Saudi Arabian government makes regarding the use of its weapons.
The U.S. should go through with the $1.15 billion sale.