The US state department has approved the sale of $290m in bombs to Saudi Arabia as part of a flurry of arms deals with Middle Eastern dictatorships in the last weeks of the Trump administration.
The state department said the sales supported “US foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East”.
In the case of the UAE arms deal, the administration claimed it enabled the UAE “to deter increasing Iranian aggressive behavior and threats”.
Critics of the arms deals said they were destabilising and rewarded human rights abuses.
“The Trump administration is rushing through with parting arms gifts to Saudi Arabia despite its deplorable human rights record,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the organization founded by Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident murdered by the Saudi regime in 2018).
In a lawsuit, the New York Centre for Foreign Policy Affairs will accuse Pompeo’s state department of rushing the sale of drones and F35 fighter jets to UAE, ignoring the requirements of the arms export control act, to consider the impact on world peace and US security, and the administrative procedures act, “requiring that the department provide a reasoned explanation for its decision”.