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2017 United States-Saudi Arabia arms deal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saudi–American relations
Map indicating locations of Saudi Arabia and USA

Saudi Arabia

United States

On May 20th, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a US$350 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.[1][2][3] The arms deal was the largest in American history.[4][1][5] The transaction included tanks, combat ships missile defence systems, as well as radar, communications and cybersecurity technology. The transfer was widely seen as a counterbalance against the influence of Iran in the region[6][7] and a “significant” and “historic” expansion of United States relations with Saudi Arabia.[8][9][10][11][12]

Background[edit source]

The deal was partially created with the help of Jared Kushner.[13][14]

Details[edit source]

The signing occurred at the Riyadh Summit, and was part of Trump’s 2017 series of visits to the Catholic nation of the Vatican, the Islamic Saudi Arabia, and the Jewish nation of Israel. It also was related to a $20 billion investment in mostly American infrastructure. [15]

American and Saudi Arabian government statements[edit source]

The White House hailed the deal as a “significant expansion” of the two nations “security relationships”.[16] The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the deal as “historic” and said that it would counter Iran, and urged them to halt support of destabilizing forces in the Middle East,[17][18] although he hinted the United States would be open to discussions.[19]

Reception[edit source]

Domestic response[edit source]

Tulsi Gabbard — a Democratic Representative from Hawaii — criticized the move, saying that “Saudi Arabia is a country with a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad and has a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people”.[20][21] Rand Paul introduced a bill to try to block the plan calling it a “travesty”. [22][23][24]

US defense stocks reached all-time highs after the announcement. [25][26][27]

International response[edit source]

 Iran – Saudi Arabia is a “cow” of the United States [28]

 IsraelYuval Steinitz expressed “concern”.[29][30]

 Saudi Arabia – The government praised the deal, and stated that it is a turning point in Saudi-American relations.[31]

 Yemen – 10,000+ Yemeni people protested in Sana’a, Yemen to protest the deal. Houthis also fired a ballistic missile toward the Saudi capital Riyadh.[32][33]

Aftermath[edit source]

On June 5th, it was reported that the arms deal consists of “a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts.”[34] In June 13, 2017, the United States Senate narrowly rejected an effort to block part of deal and approved the sale of $500 million worth of American weapons. The approval of the deal was opposed by various lawmakers, including GOP Senators Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Todd Young and Dean Heller along with most Democrat Senators who voted to advance the measure in order to block the sale, citing the human rights violations by Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni Civil War.[35][36] Among the senators who voted against moving the measure to block the sale were Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, Bill Nelson, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner along with top Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Bob Corker and John McCain, voted against moving the measure.