The Biden administration on Tuesday approved massive arms sales in two separate deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The approved weapons are meant for defensive purposes, as the two Gulf nations have faced recurring rocket attacks against their territories from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The sales provide Saudi Arabia with weaponry worth over $3 billion and the UAE with weaponry worth about $2.25 billion.
The U.S. administration notified Congress of the approval, just weeks after President Joe Biden returned from three days in the Middle East, where he met with the leaders of the two countries.
The pending arms deals follow a two-month extension of the truce in the Yemen war, in which both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been involved in recent years.
Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have criticized past arms sales to Saudi Arabia in light of their conduct in Yemen, and the U.S. State Department welcomed the extension of the truce.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Gulf region,” the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.
The Pentagon stated that the Saudis have requested to buy 300 Patriot missiles, which are to be used for border defense “against persistent Houthi cross-border unmanned-aerial-system and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.”
“The proposed sale will improve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by replenishing its dwindling stock of PATRIOT GEM-T missiles,” it stated.
The DSCA said the UAE sale would “support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner. The UAE is a vital U.S. partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.”