Washington on Tuesday approved the sale of more than $5 billion worth of Patriot and THAAD missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. In late July, US President Joe Biden was in Saudi Arabia, where he met with controversial Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
The US Department of Defense has notified Congress that it will sell 300 Patriot missiles to Riyadh for $3.05 billion.
The Pentagon did not fail to mention that this would help to replenish Saudi Arabia’s “dwindling Patriot missiles.” They have been used against drone strikes by Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen on Saudi Arabia, which has been ringing in Washington. Since 2015, a bloody conflict has erupted in Yemen between government forces backed by a Riyadh-led military coalition and Houthi rebels backed by Iran.
The United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally in the conflict in Yemen, may also rely on US weapons. Two THAAD systems, 96 missiles, are being delivered to Abu Dhabi at a cost of $2.25 billion.
The American group Raytheon manufactures the Patriot, while Thad is a division of the American Lockheed Martin.
The announcement of the arms sales comes shortly after the UN announced it was extending a ceasefire in Yemen for another two months, hoping to “intensify” negotiations leading to a lasting peace.