UPDATED 3:48 PM PT – Thursday, November 4, 2021
The Biden administration approved a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia amid its ongoing proxy war with Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.
On Thursday, the State Department approved the sale of 280 air-to-air missiles to Riyadh at an estimated cost of $650 million. Saudi officials claimed the weapons will help protect the kingdom from drone attacks by Houthi rebels.
A State Department spokesperson said the sale “is fully consistent with the administration’s pledge to lead with diplomacy to end the conflict in Yemen while ensuring Saudi Arabia has means to defend itself from Iranian-backed Houthi air attacks.” This comes as there has been an increase in cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia over the past year.
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 4, 2021
The Yemeni-based group has also been known to target Saudi oil facilities and civilian infrastructure in the past.
Meanwhile, Biden’s decision contradicts past statements by Democrats who tried to block arms sales to the Saudis under 45th President Trump.