The United States has approved the sale of $3.05 billion in Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia in the wake of President Joe Biden’s visit to the country.
The 300 Patriot missiles, officially known as GEM-Ts, were older wanted from Saudi Arabia and will be subject to congressional approval in addition to negotiations with contractors, according to Bloomberg. The sales package will include tools, test equipment, spare parts and logistics support for the conventional ballistic missiles.
“The US also announced the potential sale to the United Arab Emirates of additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile systems, fire control and THAAD communication stations, and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.25 billion,” the agency noted.
In a statement announcing the sale to Saudi Arabia, the US State Department said the missiles would be useful in the kingdom’s defense “against the Houthis’ persistent cross-border drone and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure.”
“These attacks threaten the well-being of Saudi, international and US citizens (approximately 70,000) residing in the Kingdom,” the statement claimed.
Ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden vowed to turn the kingdom into a pariah state over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The president’s stance appeared odd when he greeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with an awkward fist bump instead of a handshake.
— قناة الخبارية (@alekhbariyatv) July 15, 2022
Fred Ryan, editor of Washington Post, called at the time of a “shameful” attempt to project a “level of intimacy and comfort afforded to [the prince] the unwarranted redemption he desperately sought.”
“This is the accountability you promised [Khashoggi’s] murder? The blood of MBS’s next victim is on your hands,” Khashoggi’s ex-fiancée Khatiche Cengiz tweeted.
The president’s visit with the crown prince did not end as he had hoped, with the kingdom not committing to increasing oil production as gas prices soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.