US approves $1.15B military sale to Saudi Arabia
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The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of $1.15 billion worth of battle tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters.

If finalized, the deal will include more than 130 Abrams battle tanks, 20 armored recovery vehicles and other military assets that Saudi Arabia will utilize in its current operations in Yemen.


The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency noted that the sale will benefit U.S. geopolitical interests in the region.

"This sale will increase the Royal Saudi Land Force’s (RSLF) interoperability with U.S. forces and conveys U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia's security and armed forces modernization," the agency wrote, according to the report.

A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthi, Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen. The Saudis intervened after the Houthi forced the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile in March 2015.

Since then, the coalition has been supporting forces loyal to the exiled president, and conducting operations that have resulted in civilian casualties. 

Several U.S. lawmakers from both parties have criticized potential sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, fearing it would be used in operations that kill civilians.

In April 2016, Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocratic Sen. Chris Murphy announces book on gun violence Lawmakers join Nats Park fundraiser for DC kids charity Democrats look to demonize GOP leader MORE (D-Conn.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate ratifies long-stalled tax treaty On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses The buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system MORE (R-Ky.) unsuccessfully pushed a Senate resolution that would have limited weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

“I have yet to see evidence that the civil war we’re supplying and supporting in Yemen advances our national security," Murphy said when introducing the legislation.

“It is no secret that Saudi Arabia’s record on strictly targeting combatants and legitimate military targets in Yemen has been questionable,” Paul said in April.