Trump administration approves $290m bomb sale to Saudi Arabia

Also included are containers, weapon support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, US Government and contractor engineering, and technical and logistical support services, the statement said.

The move comes as part of a flurry of arms deals with Middle Eastern dictatorships in the remaining days of President Donald Trump’s term, including a $23 billion weapons package for the United Arab Emirates.

The administration also recently moved forward with approving a license that would allow the direct sale by Raytheon of 7,500 Paveway air-to-ground “smart” bombs at an estimated value of $478 million, The Hill reported.

The move comes despite lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum being increasingly opposed to selling the country weapons amid thousands of civilian deaths in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

“President Trump’s lame duck Middle East arms bonanza continues,” William Hartung, the director of the arms and security programme at the Centre of International Policy think tank, told The Guardian.

“Selling more bombs to Saudi Arabia given its history of indiscriminate air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen should be a non-starter. If Congress can’t block it, the Biden administration should do so when it takes office.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), told the newspaper: “The Trump administration is rushing through with parting arms gifts to Saudi Arabia despite its deplorable human rights record.”

The administration argued the sale will “support US foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East.”

“The proposed sale will improve Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its stocks of long-range, precision air-to-ground munitions. The size and accuracy of the SDB I allows for an effective munition with less collateral damage,” the notice said.

Lawmakers have 30 days from Tuesday’s release to block the sale if they choose to do so.

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