The United States is prepared to lift its ban on the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a report in the Financial Times on Sunday.

The lifting of the ban is part of a series of agreements between the two countries on security, defense cooperation, and nuclear energy, which were believed to be linked to a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The ban on offensive weapons was imposed by U.S. President Joe Biden in 2021 in response to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemeni civil war against the Iranian-backed Houthis, which led to significant civilian casualties. At the time, Biden also removed the terror designation from the Houthi militia, despite complaints from several Arab Gulf nations.

However, two years later, the Biden administration reversed that decision, again designating the Houthi militia as a terror organization, and conducting diplomatic meetings with Saudi leaders more frequently.

It is also believed to be linked to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, due to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s alleged role in that assassination.

Despite its recent rapprochement with Iran, Saudi Arabia has shown interest in resuming its weapons purchases from the U.S. to maintain deterrence. The Kingdom is the largest purchaser of U.S. weapons.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking at a hearing in the House of Representatives, stated the two countries were very close to concluding the security, defense, and nuclear energy agreements, saying it “could be weeks away.”

However, Blinken also said that the agreement depended on “calm in Gaza.”

“In order for normalization to proceed, Saudi Arabia has made very clear that even with the agreements between us completed, they have to have two things: they have to have calm in Gaza and they have to have a credible pathway to a Palestinian state,” Blinken told the House Appropriations Committee.

The agreement between the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia would serve as the foundation for the normalization of relations between the Saudi Kingdom and Israel. It would require approval from the U.S. Congress, where it could encounter significant opposition.

According to the Financial Times, the agreements did not include resuming offensive weapons sales, but it seems the US is now willing to restart those sales because of the agreements.

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