In a series of arm sales announced Tuesday, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of 3,000 “Smart Bombs” or “GBU-39 small diameter bomb munitions” with associated equipment to Saudi Arabia in the Trump administration’s push to normalize relations between Middle Eastern states and Israel.
“On the same day, the agency also announced approvals for the sale of AH-64E Apache helicopters worth $4bn to Kuwait, $104m in defensive equipment against missile attack for the plane of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as well as $65.6m in precision targeting equipment for Egyptian warplanes,” reported The Guardian.
The sales come as the Trump administration has been pushing for another Middle Eastern nation to join the Abraham Accords led by the White House.
Critics of the sales have slammed the human rights track records of the nations the Trump administration is working with, some stating the sales are being rushed and have not been explained properly.
“On Wednesday, a New York thinktank is planning to sue Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the proposed sale of $23bn worth of advanced weaponry, including drones and stealth warplanes to UAE, saying the administration has failed to meet legal requirements to provide a full rationale for the sale, and to consider the impact on US security and world peace,” reported the Guardian.
On the other hand, the State Department has stated that the sales will promote stability in the region as the Trump administration works to build an anti-Iranian coalition, bringing together Israel and the Arab nation states.
The State Department stated that the sales advance “US foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East.”