White House Pauses Smart Bomb Sale to Saudi Arabia, But Leaves Room for Future Weapons Aid

Since World War II, the US has maintained a strategic alliance with the Saudi kingdom and asked few questions about its internal or external affairs. In exchange, Washington gets access to cheap petroleum and huge airfields. However, the genocidal war in Yemen is unprecedented and popular opinion has shifted firmly against Riyadh.

The White House has paused two proposed sales to Saudi Arabia of $760 million in guided munitions after moving to end US support for Riyadh’s six-year-long war in Yemen.

“We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” Biden said in a Thursday speech. “At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.”

The Saudi war began in 2015 when the Houthis, a Zaidi Shiite sect from northern Yemen, led mass protests over reforms widely believed to amplify poverty in one of the world’s poorest nations. The Houthis forced Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi from power and Hadi fled to Riyadh, which launched a coalition war to restore Hadi to power in Yemen that included the US, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan, among other Sunni-majority nations.

In the final days of the Trump administration, the US State Department designated the Houthis as a terrorist…

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