The administration of US President Donald Trump is poised to approve major weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which were previously blocked over concerns about human rights, according to a report.
A package of precision-guided missile technology for Saudi Arabia, valued around $300 million, and a $4 billion deal to provide F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain are now ready for clearance from the White House, a US official involved in the transfers told The Washington Times.
During his final months in office, former president Barack Obama had blocked the transfer of precision munitions to Riyadh because of the outcry over large-scale civilian casualties resulting from Saudi airstrikes in Yemen.
The Obama administration also notified Congress that it would not complete approval for Bahrain to buy as many as 19 F-16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp. until the kingdom could demonstrate progress on human rights.
The government in Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, has aggressively cracked down on political dissent since 2011.
The arms packages, if approved, would underscore the priorities of the new administration.
“These are significant sales for key allies in the [Persian] Gulf who are facing the threat from Iran and who can contribute to the fight against [Daesh],” the official who spoke with The Times said 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.”