The US president Donald Trump approved the sale of weapons worth US$ 8 billion to Saudi Arabia without the approval of the Congress, citing Iranian threats. He did so by saying that the ongoing tensions amounts to national security.
Democrats accused the president of bypassing Congress because the sale of weapons included precision bombs that would be rejected, and it further angered people about the use of the weapons against civilians in Yemen by Saudi-led forces.
Weapons would also be sold to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
The US Congress have heavily criticised the Saudi Arabia’s human rights record over its role in the Yemen conflict and for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October.
Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State notified the Congress of the administration’s decision to make the sale. He wrote, “[Iran’s] activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad. [Transfer] must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East”.
Khashoggi, who was a strong critic of the Saudi government, was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His body was reportedly dismembered and his remains have still not been found.
Owing to the repeated threats by Iran, President Trump’s administration decided to add 1500 additional troops equipped with fighter jets and drone to counter Iran.
The tensions between Iran and US had risen after Mr. Trump reinstated sanctions last year after abandoning the nuclear deal. Early this month, four oil tankers were damaged spiking tensions in the gulf causing temporary closure of the pipeline.