US President Donald Trump has approved the sale of weapons and systems to the country’s Middle East allied nations, circumventing the established precedent of seeking approval from Congress to sell arms.
The US President has declared a ‘national emergency’ citing ongoing tensions in the Middle East with Iran. Trump invoked Section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act to waive Congressional review requirements.
The possible foreign military sale deals will allow the US to supply arms and related equipment to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan. The sales are worth $8.1bn, according to media sources.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said: “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The UAE has requested for 20,004 advanced precision kill weapon systems (APKWS) II all-up-rounds, RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned air vehicles, Javelin guided missiles and follow-on blanket order US Marine Corps training and support and other related equipment.
Manufactured by BAE Systems, the APKWS will support the UAE’s counterterrorism operations and will complement its Hellfire II missile.
The proposed deal with Saudi Arabia involves the sale of aircraft follow-on support and services, and continued tactical air surveillance system aircraft support.
Under the sale, the country will procure follow-on support and services for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) aircraft, engines, and weapons.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) stated that the arms sale will help improve the security of the nations and contribute to stability in the region.
In a statement, the DSCA said: “The Secretary of State has determined and provided detailed justification that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the above defence articles (and defence services) in the national security interests of the US.”
The US Government has revealed the presence of a threat by Iran. In response, the administration has also deployed forces and military assets to the Middle East.