Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A Houthi rebel looks out at damage caused by a Saudi-led airstrike in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on July 3, 2015. (Photo: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

A Houthi militant watches from the roof of a building as people inspect the debris of a house destroyed in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa on July 3, 2015. (Photo: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

Experts on Military-Industrial Complex Blast Trump Plan to Sell Nearly $500 Million in Bombs to Criminal Saudi Regime

"The United States simply should not be selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, especially given their role in exacerbating the suffering in Yemen."

Brett Wilkins

Experts on the adverse effects of the military-industrial complex on Wednesday blasted a plan by the Trump administration to sell nearly half a billion dollars worth of advanced U.S. bombs to Saudi Arabia, which for over five years has been leading an airstrike campaign and starvation blockade that have added tens of thousands of civilian deaths to the already staggering toll in Yemen's ongoing civil war. 

"The Biden administration has indicated a desire to rethink the U.S. relation[ship] with Saudi Arabia. The outgoing president should not use his lame-duck period to make that more difficult."
—Jeff Abramson,
Arms Control Association 

Bloomberg reports the U.S. State Department has notified Congress of its intention to license the sale of some 7,500 Raytheon Paveway precision-guided, air-to-ground munitions valued at $478 million to the kingdom, despite its status as one of the world's worst human rights violators and prolific perpetrator of U.S.-backed war crimes in Yemen. 

If the license is approved, Raytheon will have a green light to sell the arms directly to the Saudi regime. 

Human rights advocates condemned the proposed sale, citing conduct by Saudi and allied military forces in Yemen. 

"This deal should not be allowed to stand," asserted William D. Hartung, director of the arms and security program at the Center for International Policy, in a statement Wednesday. "The United States should not be selling precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia at this time, given their leading role in the air war in Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians and prolonged a conflict that is now the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe."

Hartung continued:

Saudi access to tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions thus far has not diminished the civilian toll in Yemen, so Pentagon claims that more accurate bombs will reduce civilian casualties don't hold up to scrutiny. A sale could also be seen as a reward to the Saudi regime at a time when it has yet to take responsibility for the murder of [journalist] Jamal Khashoggi or reduced its campaign of internal repression against regime critics and human rights defenders. Last but not least, this should be a decision for a new administration, not a lame-duck president.

Jeff Abramson, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, accused the Trump administration of "dangerously pushing more weapons into the Middle East to countries that have a record of misusing them.:

"The United States simply should not be selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, especially given their role in exacerbating the suffering in Yemen," stressed Abramson. "The Biden administration has indicated a desire to rethink the U.S. relation[ship] with Saudi Arabia. The outgoing president should not use his lame-duck period to make that more difficult."

However, as Washington Post military and national security reporter Missy Ryan noted Wednesday, former four-star general Lloyd Austin, who is President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for defense secretary, is currently a member of Raytheon's board of directors. 

The United Nations—which has called the situation in Yemen the world's worst humanitarian crisis—in September recommended that the International Criminal Court investigate possible war crimes committed by all sides in the six-year civil war, which has claimed over 100,000 lives. 

The U.N. cited U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians, the Saudi-led blockade that has exacerbated famine conditions and disease that have killed at least tens of thousands of people, and a wide range of human rights violations by both Yemeni government forces and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, including unlawful imprisonment and killing, forced disappearances, and use of child soldiers.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

400+ Economists Press Congress to Permanently Expand Child Tax Credit

Such an expansion would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States," they said.

Andrea Germanos ·


Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass 'Imperiled' Polar Bears

"We're hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs."

Jessica Corbett ·


Indian Civil Society Groups to Biden: Force J&J to Share Vaccine Recipe With the World

"His administration has the moral, legal, and if necessary, financial power to lift intellectual property barriers and persuade J&J to license its vaccine."

Jake Johnson ·


Dems Call Fossil Fuel CEOs, Lobbyists to Testify About Climate Disinformation

"Oil and gas executives have lied to the American people for decades about their industry's role in causing climate change. It's time they were held accountable."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Grim and Alarming' UN Report Details 'Catastrophic' Global Failure on Climate

"We are not going in the right direction," warns the head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo