Washington : Despite the tensions generated between the United States and Saudi Arabia due to the negotiations with Iran, a news has come to the fore that the Obama administration has supplied Saudi Arabia with arms worth $115 billion. The Obama administration is facing strong criticism for extending this aid to Saudi, since Saudi used these weapons in the conflict in Yemen. The US Senators have also put forward a proposal to stall even the additional $1.15 billion arms collaboration deal with Saudi. Meanwhile, a few days back, a dispute was generated due to the Obama administration supplying an amount of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran. In July last year, the Obama administration had carried out certain negotiations with Iran concerning its nuclear program. Since these negotiations were aimed at granting some concessions to the nuclear program of Iran, Saudi Arabia was upset with the Obama administration. The Obama administration had struck some important defense cooperation deals with Saudi Arabia, upset with the negotiations with Iran. There was an increase in the military aid given by the US to Saudi.
However, in a report authored by William Hartung of ‘Center for International Policy’, a US-based study group, some important information has been published about this.
Ever since the President Obama assumed office in 2009, the US has initiated a total number of 42 different defense cooperation deals with Saudi Arabia.
As per the report, the Obama administration, in comparison with any previous US government, has provided the maximum military aid to Saudi. It has also been made clear in the report that the negotiations with Iran are not responsible for the increasing defense collaboration between the US and Saudi. Over the last few years, Pentagon, the Defense Headquarters of the US, had cut down its military budget, resulting in the decline in the production of the defense equipment manufacturing companies of the US. The report states that in order to give a boost to the production of these companies, these arms collaboration deals were struck with Saudi Arabia.
However, the arms deals that the Obama administration struck with Saudi during the last year drew severe criticism from within the US. The arms Saudi received from the US were utilized in the conflict in Yemen. Saudi is being criticized by the United Nations, as well as the international community, for having violated the human rights in this conflict. Additionally, the deal to supply 153 ‘M1A2 Abrams’ tanks along with other weaponry to Saudi, has also generated a lot of controversy. In the conflict against Yemen, 20 Saudi tanks had suffered damages. Hence the White House had granted permission to the cooperation deal, to enable the US to urgently supply Saudi with the said assistance.
However, the US Senators are strongly opposing this aid. The Senator Rand Paul has criticized that if tanks, rifles and other weaponry worth billions of dollars are supplied to such a country with a poor human rights record, then that would promote an arms race and ignite a conflict among the Gulf countries. Following Paul, Republican Party’s Mike Lee and Democratic Party’s Chris Murphy & Al Franken have also put forward an adjournment proposal against the said cooperation deal. Last month too, 64 members of the House of Representatives had urged the President Barack Obama to halt the aid being given to Saudi.