The State Department on Thursday approved a series of potential arms deals for Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan.
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE will receive upgrades to their missile defense systems as the Houthis in Yemen have been stepping up attacks in response to the brutal war the two Gulf countries have been waging on Yemen.
According to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Saudi deal is worth about $23.7 million and includes 31 communication and navigation terminals and related equipment to upgrade missile defense.
The UAE has been approved to buy $65 million in spare parts for its missile defense, which includes Hawk, Patriot, and THAAD systems.
For Jordan, the State Department approved a massive $4.21 billion deal for the purchase of 16 F-16 fighter jets and related equipment, including hundreds of various Joint Direct Attack Munition tail kits to upgrade munitions.
Jordan joined the initial intervention in Yemen in 2015 and is technically a member of the Saudi-led coalition but is not nearly as involved in the war as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of President Biden declaring that he was ending “offensive support” for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. But that support has continued in the form of maintenance to Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen and arms sales.
In the wake of recent Houthi attacks on the UAE, the US has escalated its role in the war by intervening to intercept Houthi missiles. The US is also sending a warship and some fighter jets to the UAE. The Biden administration frames this support as “defensive” in nature. But the Houthis wouldn’t be launching attacks if Saudi Arabia and the UAE hadn’t been waging war in Yemen since 2015, which has only been possible because of US support.