Trump to Resume Halted Saudi Arms Sales for Yemen War

Obama Admin. Froze Certain Sales in December Over Civilian Deaths

In mid-December, the Obama Administration made a surprise last minute move to freeze the sales of certain “precision munitions” to Saudi Arabia, related to concerns about the soaring number of civilians being killed in Saudi airstrikes in their war in Yemen.

Reports out of the State Department today suggest the Trump Administration is about to reverse this, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson having already given approval for full resumption of arms sales, and President Trump seen ready to sign off on it any day now.

There is no sign that the move involves any change to Saudi Arabia’s targeting standards, as indeed Saudi airstrikes hitting civilians remain a problem as the ongoing Yemen War enters its third year, but rather reflects the new administration being less concerned with the growing human rights violations there.

There have been recurring concerns that Saudi warplanes killing Yemen civilians, with American-made planes, American-made bombs, and Pentagon-refueling operations, might put America in a negative light in Yemen. At this point however, officials seem to have decide that ship has long since sailed, and that they are in for a penny, or a pound.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.