Trump Set To Approve Weapons Sales To Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Blocked By Obama

Tyler Durden's picture

There was cheering among the libertarian community when, in the last months of his administration, Barack Obama decided to halt some arms sales to Saudi Arabia, following "allegations" of war crimes perpetrated by the kingdom in Yemen. However, it appears that Saudi Arabia - despite its clear predisposition toward Hillary Clinton in the presidential race - has made even deeper inroads into the White House than many suspected because according to the Washington Times, the Trump Administration is poised to "quickly approve" not only the deal rejected by Obama.

According to the Wash Times, citing one U.S. official directly involved in the transfers, a roughly $300 million precision-guided missile technology package for Riyadh and a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal for Bahrain are now in the pipeline ready for clearance from the new administration. The deals, if approved, would send a clear signal about the "priorities of the new administration." For one it would suggest that Saudi Arabia is once again a clear beneficiary of US weapons exports, which would suggest that the proxy war in Yemen, fought largely with US-made weapons, will continue. The source spin is that the US delivery is meant to help defend the Saudis from potential ISIS terrorist threats, as well as concerns about Iran.

“These are significant sales for key allies in the Gulf who are facing the threat from Iran and who can contribute to the fight against the Islamic State,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Whereas the Obama administration held back on these, they’re now in the new administration’s court for a decision — and I would anticipate the decision will be to move forward.”

If confirmed, it would suggest that contrary to expectations of a military de-escalation in the middle east, the Trump administration will contribute further US military involvement, both direct and indirect, in the region.  Already Trump has vowed to create "safe zones" in Syria, a decision which critics have blasted as assuring even more US troops are sent into harm's way.

While the WT said that the Pentagon also declined to comment, congressional sources have told it they anticipate the Trump administration will easily overcome resistance on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and some Republicans have called for restrictions on sales to Riyadh amid an outcry from human rights groups over large-scale civilian casualties of the Saudi-led military campaign in neighboring Yemen. Various rights groups have charged that the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition waging war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen “appear[s] to have deliberately targeted civilians and civilian objects such as hospitals, schools, markets and mosques, which may amount to war crimes.”  More than 60 members of the House signed a bipartisan letter calling on former President Obama to delay a $1.15 billion sale of battle tanks to Saudi Arabia last Summer. In September Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky co-sponsored a bill with Democratic Sens. Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and Al Franken of Minnesota to try to block the sale.

While the bill was tabled by a 71-27 procedural vote, the senators made headlines arguing that Riyadh’s indiscriminate bombing in Yemen was feeding extremist narratives and strengthening al Qaeda and Islamic State in the war-torn nation.

Which is not to say that Obama was a pacifist: the Obama administration ultimately approved the Saudi tank deal — a move many saw as part of a pattern to ease security fears of the Saudis and other Arab Gulf states in the wake of the nuclear deal Obama strongly backed with Iran. William Hartung of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for International Policy noted in an analysis published in December that the Obama administration offered more than $115 billion worth of weapons to Riyadh in 42 separate deals between 2009 and 2016 — more than any U.S. administration in history.

“The majority of this equipment is still in the pipeline, and could tie the United States to the Saudi military for years to come,” wrote Mr. Hartung, who said in an interview this week that the Trump administration should proceed with caution on both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

During his final days in office, Obama suddenly shifted on weapons sales to the Saudis, specifically with regard to the now-pending package of precision-guided weapons technology.

An Obama administration official told Reuters in December that “systemic” and “endemic” problems in Saudi Arabia’s targeting in Yemen had led to the decision to spike the sale of the so-called smart bomb technology from Raytheon.


The U.S. official who spoke with The Times this week questioned that logic and suggested the Trump White House is now poised to embrace the deal, which would include enough of the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company’s “Paveway” guidance systems to “convert thousands of dumb bombs into smart bombs.”


The U.S. has sold precision-guided bombs and technology to the Saudis as far back as 2008, but the kingdom has reportedly been badly in need of a resupply since its campaign in Yemen kicked off two years ago.

How does the Trump admin justify actions which could lead to many more innocent civilian casualties? As follows: “While we’re very concerned about Saudi actions in Yemen in terms of the civilian casualties, we believe a more accurate partner is a more effective partner and results in fewer casualties,” the official said. “If they’re going to drop stuff, it should be precision-guided rather than dumb.”

Unless, of course, the civilians casualties are being specifically targeted.

Separately, the Obama administration in October blocked the proposed $3 billion sale of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain until the tiny Sunni Arab monarchy demonstrated measurable progress on human rights. The government in Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has aggressively cracked down on its restive Shiite Muslim majority since the pro-democracy Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. It’s not clear whether the Bahrain and Saudi deals will face the same level of opposition on Capitol Hill as was seen last fall. Once the Trump administration signs off on the deals, Congress will have 30 days to block them.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker suggested the Bahrain deal may be imminent, but declined to comment on the Saudi deal. “I’m hoping the Bahrain deal is going to roll out without the restrictions,” the Tennessee Republican told Defense News last week. “I think it could happen soon.”


A senior aide to Mr. Corker told The Times that the senator stands by the assertion. The Saudi embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

The bottom line, however, is that in Trump the Saudis have managed to land a very near and dear friend, one who will provide them with any weapons they need, for a price. Sources close to the government in Riyadh told the WashTimes that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir is “very, very up” on the Trump administration and believes it will pursue a significantly different policy from the Obama administration, particularly toward Iran.

Other U.S. officials, speaking on background this week, noted that the Trump administration already moved during its first days in office to approve roughly $1 billion in sales for America’s Gulf Arab allies, including some $400 million in air-to-air missiles and helicopter parts for Kuwait and a $500 million-plus package that included Aerostat observation balloons for Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis in particular are likely to see billions of dollars in more defense sales in the coming years.

We conclude with a statement by the abovemention Hartung, who said that “in the case of Bahrain, whatever purported benefits they would get from more F-16s are counterweighted by the fact that they suppress democracy,” he said. The Obama administration’s sudden resistance in December had also sent “a concrete message” to the Saudis that “we’re not going to tolerate their indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Yemen,” he added.

“To lift that now, without some indication from the Saudis that they’re going to stop doing it, makes no sense,” Mr. Hartung said.

We can only hope that Trump will stop this deal absent said indication, alas we will likely be disappointed.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Skiprrrdog's picture

Obama wont care... he has a lot of dick on his plate right now in the BVI...

froze25's picture

I do not agree with this, Fuck the House of Saud. We all know they are the ones spreading this Wahhibist radical shit.

BabaLooey's picture

Add another thing I disagree with the President on.

FUCK the "House of Fraud'.

NO sales of weapons to that cabal of cunts.

As in NONE.

The M.I.C. needs to be leashed and chained. 

barndoor's picture

Ban people who haven't attacked the US, and sell weapons those those who have.  Makes sense.

SofaPapa's picture

And the hyprocrisy rolls on...

This is simple for a 5-year-old: Wahabbi ideology is the wellspring for Islamic fundamentalism.  As such, Saudi Arabia is the ideological home of radical terrorism.  So the U.S. funds and arms Saudi Arabia.  Then the U.S. claims to fight Islamic fundamentalism.

Based on this decision, as I was concerned about all along (you can check my comments going back for many months), the fundamental hypocrisy of the U.S. has not even been dented by the election of Trump.

Our country is on the same path to global destruction it was on before his election, only with new "optics" to sell the story.  "Trump" is a lie, an image sold to people to make us "feel" like we are represented.  Just like Obama was before him, Bush before him, Clinton... ... ... ...

How many times do we have to be sold the same bill of goods before enough people are hit with the two-by-four enough times to realize the "power of the presidency" is a myth?  The game is WAY too consistent to believe otherwise, and the power of decision lies outside of those we are focused on as our "representatives", safely kept out of the hands of those of us who don't even know the names of those who actually wield it.

Manthong's picture

Supplying arms to Saudi Arabia is not conducive to a peaceful world, but if they didn’t buy from us, they would buy from the Chinese, Russians and even possibly the Israelis.

I learned recently that the Saudis have more British warplanes now than does Britain.

That genie is long out of the bottle…

At least until the revolution and the princes all lose their heads.


The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) Manthong Feb 8, 2017 10:58 AM

Why stop with a few airplanes? Give them a couple nukes and let them drop them on Iran.  A lot of problems in the middle east could be solved with a few well placed nuclear explosions.  LOL


Billy the Poet's picture

Prince Bandar Bush-Clinton-Trump.

HowdyDoody's picture

So Trump wants his hands dripping with Yemeni blood too?

beemasters's picture

Farewell to arms? Campaign to stop UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia moves to High Court

When will the same happen in the US?

Got The Wrong No's picture

Either there is a lot of information we are not privy too or Trump and his family have been threatened. 

scaleindependent's picture

Denial is a hell of a drug, manthong.

You need rehab.

evoila's picture

Trump is losing support fast....

pods's picture

For acts like this I really hope so.  Fucking Orange Jesus is hellbent on taking us to war with Iran.

And many will cheer this on gleefully.


chunga's picture

On the plus side there's getting rid of TPP/NAFTA, removing 2 existing regs for every new 1, the bashing of the msm, and I might be forgetting something, but the rest isn't too good. I hate the civil forfeiture remarks from yesterday.

It's the blue team that cheers no matter what.

pods's picture

I do like the cutting down of regulations, and the shift to a more nationalist ideology.  Good points.

Ending trade agreements, awesome.

But not taking on healthcare and banks, not good.

Civil forfeiture, terrible.

The immigrant ban, shitty because it wont do jack shit and he is burning capital to push it.

This move, awful too.  

Weird because sometimes it seems like he wants to align us with Russia, and IMO that would be a good match. 

But, Russia is not a fan of SA (our FRN sink) in the middle east.  So that muddies the waters of our relationship with them. And Iran, who has not been attacking anyone for a long time is still a pariah?


Bastiat's picture

Trump didn't get elected because people love him--he's not a flyover country kind of guy.  He has very little personal political capital:  if he falls in line with the deep state program, it won't be pretty.

BabaLooey's picture

In my opinion, he's losing support on certain points, pods.

This is one of them. And it's a damned BIG one.




Anyone with half a brain can surmise that we have ENOUGH oil and natural resources to exist WITHOUT the god damned Middle East and the fuckery that has gone on here.

The U.S. has been fucking around in that god-foresaken sand box for too long; fomenting war. Ginning up horse shit for decades.


WE created this shit. ALL of it. WE are the cause of it. ISIS, Iraq. Afghanistan.



Want irony? A soldier goes to Afghanistan, and guards the poppy fields, FOR Big Pharma. He gets wounded.

Air-lifted back, he now GETS ADDICTED TO the opiates he once guarded to ease the pain of his wound(s) - sustained WHILE guarding the very root OF the issue.

Fuck me sober....

Sam Richards puts it perfectly.

How the fuck would WE react if the tables were turned?

prefan4200's picture

The long term goal for the US re: Saudis seems clear to me.  Make Saudi Arabia the big dog in the MidEast, disrupt all the rest, arm the Saudi's so they can move in and take over some of the "immigrant ban"-7 leftovers, then the US can deal with just the Saudi's on oil and MidEast "issues".  I don't agree with this plan, the Saudis are terrorist cowards, but Saudi MidEast dominance strikes me as the only strategy that is consistent with the US arming the Saudi's.  It's either that or we're trying to create chaos and arm them all so they just shoot up the shit out of each other.

ThanksChump's picture he virtue-signaling Neocons to get appointees confirmed?


Nothing this guy does has just the face-value. He's a chess player.


If those arms are *delivered*, he has betrayed the US.

Got The Wrong No's picture

If Saudi Arabia abandons the Petro Dollar the Empire is finished. Every country that wanted to do so has been dealt with under false pretext. 

SofaPapa's picture



To find out why Trump was elected is simple.  He stated the message "Drain the Swamp", while Hillary said, "The Swamp is perfect.  Let's expand it."

Many Trump voters (the ones with two functioning neurons) knew of the risk that Trump was lying, but given the choice between his lie (Drain the Swamp) and hers (The Swamp is awesome), the election made quite clear the views of the electorate, especially given the unprecedented universal negative press coverage he received.

So here's a note to those strategists in D.C.:  Saudi Arabia is located dead center in the Swamp.  Look up Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal

to see how all these pieces really fit together very nicely.  Not everyone is blind to the fact that Saudi Arabia IS the swamp.  Sending money and weapons to Swamp dead center is the bullseye proof of the Big Lie at the heart of the "Trump" pheonmenon.  Surprise! "Trump!" has been a lie all along.  Anyone who truly expected differently was wearing rose-colored glasses.

Of course, Hillary was no better; that's a given.

Pay attention to who the Swamp is and see how they are treated.  That said, I still do not find a likely solution out of this mess without internal violence in the U.S., which makes me very sad.  If people would examine the Swamp and starve it (plenty of companies to boycott; the list is long), that would do it.  But there are far too few who are aware/willing enough to take the necessary steps for such a strategy at this point.

The only good news to come of this cycle is that the MSM are finally now recognized for the liars and Swamp-dwellers that they are.  I guess we'll have to take our progress where we can get it.

Evil is still firmly in control. But it's finding itself harder and harder to hide.

garcam123's picture

If he gets tagged..........I got dibs on jes git back!

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Trump is proving Chris Hedges's point again and again: it is impossible for Americans to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs and the MIC. But hey, they do a good job of keeping the Left/Right battle going so that nobody notices as the Wall Street/MIC cabal picks everybody's pockets.

sarz's picture

"Trump is proving Chris Hedges's point again and again" -- that's an achievement in itself, in just three weeks. Americans as a matter of fact did vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. I say, let's overlook all the Goldman Sachs appointees for the nonce -- including, by the way, Steve Bannon. If in four years the Federal Reserve still exists, I will agree that Trump has not fulfilled his promise.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

You could be right but he does need to keep some in his corner while he deals with a bunch of other issues.  Maybe he is using this as a bartering chip and will now ask the Saudi's for something in return (other than the money that they will pay).  He's been playing 4 dimensional chess while everyone else plays checkers so it's too early to make the call on Trump and any of his actions.

barndoor's picture

If he was playing 4D chess, wouldn't the press releases go out without dozens of spelling mistakes?

techpriest's picture

I'm looking at it from the libertarian angle. The main issue I had with Trump pre-election was that like every other politician before his fundamental message is "The other guy (in this case, woman) doesn't know how to run things, but I do, and I can run the country better than anyone else."

Nowhere in that mindset is room for "Nobody should be running X, Y, or Z, because those belong to the people." Granted, I put the blame on the voters who enable this thinking.

The application here, is that every president wants to bring "peace and democracy to the Middle East." So far Trump seems to want to do the same. I think "get the hell out of there" is a better choice.

ne-tiger's picture

So orange god's in bed with camel rider, that made  sense. F trump!

Supafly's picture

Big buyer's remorse on that one.


two hoots's picture

It's not likey that Saudia Arabia will attack the US with warplanes/munitions.   It is also a check to Iran.  Until we can produce something the world wants besides our weapons  (and Iphone/pads) we are stuck selling them to help with the trade imbalance.    Yep, they will likely bomb and kill innocents in their attemp to....well......eliminate people that they don't like and a few that threaten them but so goes the world.  This is the USA, the country with the most deployed military and equipment in the world.   What does one expect, this is not the Vatican.

mary mary's picture

Iran is not a problem.  ISIS is a problem.  Iran is fighting ISIS.  Saads are arming ISIS.  Therefore, Trump should arm Iran against Saads.

Ink Pusher's picture

Arming anyone else, training anyone else , funding anyone else, all 3 are equally stupid concepts. Showing a possible turncoat combatant your battle systems and tactics is an act of blatant idiocy and extreme arrogance.

Essentially asking for a proverbial knife in the back.

Cut all foreign aid, weapons shipments and all non-US military support off for 6 months and we will find out who our actual allies are pretty damned quick.

Then get to work sorting out who gets deserved support instead of misplaced funds.

balolalo's picture

hey, we are seeing eye to eye more and more. 

- asset forfeiture is bad

- MIC is bad

- get the fuck out of MENA

- Big Pharma is bad

there is hope for common ground. 


GeorgeHayduke's picture

Get used to saying that the next four years.

blue51's picture

Saudi Arabia acts as the hiring agency & payroll clerk of nutbag merc's . The Parent " secret " .

DrunkenMonkey's picture

So 'pant-suit' and 'mini-hands' (cia nicknames) are in league together or working for the same masters ? Next up, bending over for the turks.

localsavage's picture

So Obama holds it up for a fews months ain the twilight of his Presidency and then the media claims some moral high ground for him.  WTF?

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Apparently self deception is easier than self realization, huh?

GUS100CORRINA's picture

OBAMA has done so many things to hurt America.

No wonder President TRUMP has a tendancy to get really, really frustrated and maybe say things he should not say.

I am sure he is continuing to discover OBAMA TURDS everywhere he looks.

I keep asking myself the question: HOW THE HELL DID OBAMA EVER GET ELECTED?

I very quickly come to one conclusion: It was remedial judgment on America from GOD.

[2Th 2:11 NKJV] 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,


Ink Pusher's picture

If you are still stuck on Obama, I'd suggest you attempt stepping into TODAY instead of trying to figure out what it was that you missed YESTERDAY.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

The Babble quote at the end puts his post into the looney bin anyway. It's going to be funny watching those who shouted "Blame Bush" as an insult to Obama supporters, use the same tactic of "Blame Obama" for four years. All the while thinking any of this shit is changing.

Mustafa Kemal's picture


"HOW THE HELL DID OBAMA EVER GET ELECTED?" Hope and change. Similar to this time. I hoped we would change out the swamp and change our warmongering. Hope and change. Working again.
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

So that was how he was able to bring down the prices of US planes at Lockheed!

Leverage, bitchez.

johnnycanuck's picture

Leveraging blood money. Maga!

Toronto_notes's picture

What's up with Trump and his boot licking of Arab countries ?! he's budding up with the Wahhabist, business must be good.