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.

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ThirdWorldDude's picture

Let's play Connecting the Dots: 

If it's too difficult to understand, consider this and this.


In other news, TPTB are playing western serfs like a cheap fiddle: the sudden U-turn that Obozo made in his last days regarding arms sales to ME Salafists was a prearranged headfake a-la "the enemy of my enemy".

Power brokers are well aware of the fact bipartisan division has infected society to such a level that hard core Trumpets will be purring with pleasure at DJT's decision to do the opposite of what Obama did, whatever it may be...

Ink Pusher's picture

Three letter response : M.I.C.

Business is very good.

"U.S. Sold $33 Billion in Weapons to Gulf Countries in the Last Year" Clay Dillow Mar 28, 2016
SubjectivObject's picture

MIC want's a pony, MIC get's a pony.


Troy Ounce's picture



Trump is going to do an Obama


Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Trump is going to do an Obama"

No, this is going to be much different. No moar woar. No moar Goldman Sachs.

rodocostarica's picture

Donald needs to invite Ron Paul for lunch and start learning about BLOWBACK.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

DJT is obviously not interested in Ron Paul's policy and philosophy on non-interventionism.

Ink Pusher's picture

I don't know why Trump doesn't just cut through all this silly diplomacy,diversion and moral red tape and produce the Pay Per View Grande Finale Knock Down Drag 'Em Out Battle Royale between the Saudis and Iranians.

Designate a 1000 Sq Km Perimeter in Yemen and let them go at it until only one army is left standing. No nukes,chemicals or bio-warfare allowed, conventional weapons only.

The ratings will be incredibly fantastic and gross revenues will be in the billions! Be assured the spectacle will dominate worldwide MSM broadcasts and print for at least 6 months if not more...

The best part is the Military Industrial Complex will create a few jobs and our armies will only be there acting as referees.

It's a win/win for everyone and after the show is over,just maybe things will finally settle down in the Middle East. 

The other FINAL solution is less palatable but guaranteed to be 100% effective.

Preemptive simultaneous nuclear strikes on Mecca and Tehran without warning in the middle of Ramadan. 

Also a win/win scenario for everyone, they all get to become martyrs and we finally get some peace and quiet.

swampmanlives's picture

I guess that is why those ragheads were at Trump's hotel

johnnycanuck's picture

handing over the offshore account numbers

skbull44's picture

So the Military-Security-Industrial Complex is still making a 'killing'.

So much for DT 'draining the swamp'.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Meet the New Boss!...

Same as the Old Boss!!!...

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Meet the New Boss!...

Same as the Old Boss!!!..."

Not true. This one has real balls.

"I can do whatever I want"

"I will ruin his career!"

"So-called Judge"

"Israel will stop being treated like a second class citizen, on day one"

I know we are not supposed to use the word here, but can you say fascism?

Max Cynical's picture

Unless Saudi Arabia agrees to house (at their cost) ALL Muslim refugees starting with the 100,000 air conditioned tents outside Mecca, no deal.

Torgo's picture

That was my thought as well. Stefan Molyneux made a video recently discussing a phone call that Trump had with the Saudis discussing this exact topic.


UnschooledAustrianEconomist's picture

Why do you think those Saudi fuckers build that german-engineered (how ironic) hitec fence on their norther border?

To get a lot of those poor suckers and nutty fuckers, they so eagerly worked on to create?

Boca's picture

damm it, same as the old boss

SharkBit's picture

I hope this is just more wishful thinking from the neocons and Trump sets the record straight.  Otherwise, not good.

vegas's picture

Oh wait ... Saudi Arabia heads up the U.N. Council on Human Rights ... maybe Chalky forgot about that, and in his haste to pardon drug dealers that get caught again and wind up back in jail, he was listening to Maxine Waters claim that these weapons were going to North Korea. With that bunch, anything is possible.

aliens is here's picture

WTF! I am disappointed in Trump on this one. Sad.

cherry picker's picture

Well, well, well....

Good-bye Trump and HRC and the swamp

You have provided enough moral reasons for a human being to no longer abide by a 'Nation of Laws'

Take those laws and stuff them where the sun don't shine, and it would be nice to get a refund for all those military expenses incurred over the last few decades, too bad we can't bring the lives back or take back the injuries.

Dirtnapper's picture

Take their money while they still have it.  I really do not think they have that much longer to be in power.

NAV's picture

@ 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.

Iran is real estate with oil reserves not yet governed by a U.S. puppet. The U.S. and Israel are determined to change that. The pro-Israel viewpoint is the war party mantra; namely that Iran is a threat to the world and the US must mobilize for another war.

All in the name of Israel to be the dominant player in Middle Eastern politics and in energy. Iran is a major hurdle to the Israeli dream –it’s large, has an educated population, retains a strong military, and it can’t be compromised.

It’s as if we elected Hillary Clinton to “pursue the oligarchs’ dream of total world dominance through total moral corruption” which above all else includes the destruction of Iran.

“Over the course past 100 years, Iran hasn’t invaded nor attacked any country. In such a turbulent and chaotic region as the Middle East, Iran has constantly been at the center of peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts and has regularly contributed to any genuine and legitimate peace initiative which the other countries in the region or other parts of the world have taken up.” – Kourosh Ziabari, Global Research, May 30, 2012

Ink Pusher's picture

Sorry to burst your Iranian Innocence bubble,

But do the dates : 'November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981' ring any bells?

I am guessing that maybe you weren't even born yet eh?

But as far as I know; Iranian nationals Attacking a US Embassy pretty much constitutes an act of war.

"Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981 after a group of Iranian students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It stands as the longest hostage crisis in recorded history.

The crisis was described by the Western media as an “entanglement” of “vengeance and mutual incomprehension.” President Jimmy Carter called the hostages “victims of terrorism and anarchy” and said, “The United States will not yield to blackmail.”In Iran, it was widely seen as a blow against the United States and its influence in Iran, including its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution and its longstanding support of the recently overthrown Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had led an autocratic regime."

GoinFawr's picture

Sorry to burst your disingenuous Usean innocence bubble, but how's about we go back to 1953, Kermit?

Not saying it is always righteous, but folk tend to hold a grudge when their right to self determination has been USlurped.

Ink Pusher's picture

How about we stay on subject , which by the way is IRAN.

The administrations that previously failed miserably on IRAN.

The current proxy war with IRAN.

I never ever implied ,alluded to or suggested the USA was innocent of anything.

If you want to talk about Korea , start another thread.

GoinFawr's picture

"How about we stay on subj..."

 just where the hell have you been hiding? I take back the "disingenuous", I guess; but the "innocence" moves up a level to "naivety".

TIme to Catch Up! The relevance of my comment clear to you now? I sure hope so....

shimmy's picture

So the nation that the official 9/11 narrative says helped in that incident. Trump cares about safety though!

Herdee's picture

Keep backing the Wahhabi head- choppers in Saudi Arabia. You know the ones, they're behind the 911 tragedy.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Well so much for lack of hypocrisy in that "travel ban"???

Feeding the beasts that are the source of the problem and "not" the symptom!

Where this has "gotten" after 16 years of it? I pine for stepping into the "way back machine" when their were 19 guys with box cutters (2 planes and 3 buildings) repeat!

gespiri's picture

Let's wait and see on this one if its real.  If it is, this is BULLSHIT and I didn't vote for him on this.  

Publicus's picture

We are winning so much it's hard to keep track!


Make America great again!

shizzledizzle's picture

Bad idea Mr. President. You recall that Iran has F-15's (albiet grounded in direlect condition). We should not have sold the F-16 to the countries we did. If quantum radar becomes a working reality stealth will be out the window. Bring back production of affordable purpose built aircraft like the A-10, F-16, F-18, F15, F-5 and build a lot of them. 

Maestro Maestro's picture

Not F-15s, the Iranians have F-14s. Old design but with good radars so powerful that they can even serve as mini AWACS. Iranians also claim that they reverse-engineered the Phoenix air-to-air missiles which have longer range than anything else currently available.

Quite possibly, we'll find out soon enough, if the Americans, Jews and Europeans persist in their psychopathic behavior.

directaction's picture

This is a Five-Star stupid move.
I didn't vote for more war. 

wobblie's picture

If you voted for Hillary or Trump you voted for more war.

directaction's picture

Beginning to look that way.
If Trump start that mindless war crap I'll be ranting against him,

... like I did against the three psychos: Obama and Bush II and W. Clinton. 

espirit's picture


dulce bellum inexpertis


roisaber's picture

The House of Saud is a bunch of crypto-yids according to the research of Saddam's Mukhabarat. Who would even be surprised if it were true?

katagorikal's picture

Mohammed's father was Jewish.

giorgioorwell's picture

His credibility score just dropped another 20 points. 

UnschooledAustrianEconomist's picture


wobblie's picture

Once again, one could have told the Conservative that they are making a big mistake by believing in the Trumpster. But no, like their stupid allies the Liberals they just have to vote for their scumbag.

If you voted for Trump, like the Liberal, you voted for war, and the continuation of robbing the people for the sake of Wall Street.

samsara's picture

And exactly WHO on the ballet do you think should have been elected?


Jill Stein?

Gary Johnson?

Hillary Clinton?

Donald Trump?


Now WHO in the above list were we stupid for NOT voting for?

dogmete's picture

Gary Johnson was a better choice than the other three. Rand would have been a better choice than Johnson if he'd of made it to the nomination.