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Pentagon reports more than $1 billion in weapons sales

By John L. Grahn, Special to the Guardian

Feb 24, 2011

A new Department of Defense report shows that the U.S. has committed $1.75 billion to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as both sides continue to test-fire conventional and mobile missiles against one another in war games.

U.S. military sales of conventional weapons to Saudi Arabia, worth $1.75 billion this year, have increased from $1 billion in 2011, according to the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress.

Since 2009, the number of military sales has nearly doubled to $2.1 billion — a rise of 11 percent. The weapons are a major component of the Saudi Arabian assault on Yemen, a conflict that has claimed around 10,000 lives, displaced 10 million, displaced another 1.1 m바카라사이트illion and displaced more더킹카지노 than 20 million people.

Saudi Arabia’s air campaign is designed to put pressure on Houthi rebels seeking to oust President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Hadi, a longtime leader of the Hadi family, has been leading a military campaign for months against Shiite rebels, including Iran and Hadi’s Shiite allies and their Al Houthi coalition.

In the early days of the Saudi assault, Hadi, who had close ties to Shiite cleric Shiite Houthi rebels, had criticized the country’s Gulf allies for failing to arm and train an effective opposition, saying the alliance was “all about oil money.”

During the last couple of years, however, the U.S. has become increasingly concerned about Shiite rebels in the Gulf, especially in Yemen. They are seen as a legitimate force fighting the Iranian-supported Hadi regime.

U.S. officials say they expect more of the weapons to flow to Riyadh as the Saudis are now making gains against Houthi rebels in areas that were once strongholds of the rebels.

Although U.S. officials have been keeping a relatively low profile in recent years regarding weapons sales to Riyadh, defense industry leaders say they are growing increasingly worried about that growth.

The Defense Department report also said that the Saudi air campaign is contributing to a “rapid erosion of the credibility of the Yemeni security forces,” including the ability of the country’s interior ministry to conduct elections.

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Some Gulf countries, the report said, are now warning Riyadh against further intervention, but Gulf allies are still wary of doing so.

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