Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

(Image courtesy of CodePink.)

Hillary Clinton’s State Department Armed Saudi Arabia to the Teeth

While Saudi Arabia and Boeing poured cash into the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton's State Department approved enormous sales of Boeing fighter jets to the kingdom.

As Hillary Clinton emerges as the front-runner for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, she’s receiving increased scrutiny for her years as secretary of state — and in particular her hawkish foreign policy. Many critics are focusing especially on her long relationship with Saudi Arabia.

During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton made weapons transfers to the Saudi government a “top priority.”

On Christmas Eve in 2011, Hillary Clinton and her closest aides celebrated a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighter jets, manufactured by U.S.-based Boeing Corporation, to Saudi Arabia. In a chain of enthusiastic emails, an aide exclaimed that it was “not a bad Christmas present.”

These are the very fighter jets the Saudis have been using to bomb Yemen since March 2015. A year later, at least 2,800 Yemeni civilians have been killed, mostly by airstrikes — and there’s no end in sight.

The indiscriminate Saudi strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers. They’ve hit the Chamber of Commerce, facilities supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders), a wedding hall, and a center for the blind. The attacks have also targeted ancient heritage sites in Yemen. International human rights organizations are saying that the Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes.

During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton made weapons transfers to the Saudi government a “top priority,” according to a new report published in The Intercept. And even while Clinton’s State Department was deeply invested in getting weapons to Saudi Arabia, the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the weapons manufacturer Boeing. Christmas presents were being gifted all around.

Despite the brutal attacks on Yemen and its egregious domestic human rights violations, Saudi Arabia remains the number one U.S. ally in the Arab world. While the original U.S. interest was to secure Saudi’s vast oil reserves, today only 10 percent of oil used in the United States comes from the kingdom. Instead, U.S. dependence on Saudi oil has been superseded by U.S. dependence on weapons sales.

U.S. activists must follow the example of our European allies and demand that our government stop supplying the Saudi rulers with weapons to bomb civilians in Yemen and repress its own citizens.

The most recent Saudi weapons deal was made in November 2015, a sale worth $1.29 billion that included 22,000 smart and general purpose bombs, and over 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits to convert older bombs into precision-guided weapons using GPS signals. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency justified the sales, saying they helped “sustain strong military-to-military relationships between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”

It’s hard to exaggerate the enormity and high-tech nature of Saudi weapons purchases. Indeed, the deals this decade constitute the most enormous military sales in history.

According to a White House press release in 2014, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest U.S. Foreign Military Sales customer, with active and open cases valued at approximately $97 billion, as Saudi forces build capabilities across the full spectrum of regional challenges.” The weapons include F-15 bombers, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, missile defense systems, missiles, bombs, armored vehicles, and related equipment and services. Weapons manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and McDonnell Douglas have been unapologetically pushing these sales to offset military spending cuts in the United States and Europe.

While the U.S. government continues to provide massive amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia, on February 25 the European Union took the extraordinary step of voting for an EU-wide arms embargo to Saudi Arabia. While non-binding, it’s a powerful statement that will put pressure on all European governments.

Already, government committees in the United Kingdom have urged Prime Minister David Cameron to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia; Germany has pledged to review all future arms sales to the kingdom; and in Belgium the government has denied an export license to ship weapons to the country. Canadian activists are also pressuring their government in light of Canada’s $15 billion transaction with Riyadh for weaponized armored vehicles, the biggest manufacturing export deal ever struck in Canada.

U.S. activists must follow the example of our European allies and demand that our government stop supplying the Saudi rulers with weapons to bomb civilians in Yemen and repress its own citizens.


© 2021 Foreign Policy In Focus

Rebecca Green

Rebecca Green is the D.C. office coordinator at CODEPINK. She is a student at Northeastern University with a sociology degree and a minor in women’s gender and sexuality studies.

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.

Ahead of Historic House Hearing, Fresh Big Oil Misinformation Campaign Exposed

"It's always helpful to remember that big fossil fuel companies (besides being overwhelmingly responsible for carbon pollution) are also skeevy disinformation hucksters."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Very Welcome' Progress as Iran Agrees to Restart Talks on Nuclear Deal Sabotaged by Trump

One peace advocate urged all sides to reconvene negotiations "as soon as possible and with renewed urgency" to avert "disastrous" consequences for Iran and the world.

Brett Wilkins ·


House Progressives: 'When We Said These Two Bills Go Together, We Meant It'

"Moving the infrastructure bill forward without the popular Build Back Better Act risks leaving behind working people, families, and our communities."

Andrea Germanos ·


As US Makes Case for Extradition, Global Demand Rises For Assange's Immediate Freedom

"Virtually no one responsible for alleged U.S. war crimes committed in the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been held accountable... and yet a publisher who exposed such crimes is potentially facing a lifetime in jail."

Julia Conley ·


Wyden's New Billionaires Income Tax Plan Applauded as Step Toward Justice

"For too long, families have been denied basic supports... while billionaires evade taxes on obscene amounts of wealth. This dynamic is economically dangerous and morally unsustainable."

Jessica Corbett ·

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