The Trump administration has approved nearly $200 million in upgrades to Saudi Arabia’s missile defenses, Al-Monitor has learned, despite continued congressional uproar over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Under the commercial deal approved by the State Department in December, Saudi Arabia will receive $195 million in upgrades to improve its Patriot PAC-3 defenses, including a guidance system that increases its ability to intercept ballistic missiles able to evade US-made radars.
Though the State Department notified Congress of the sale in December, it did not make the exact dollar value of the transaction public. The figures were provided to Al-Monitor by the Security Assistance Monitor.
A State Department spokesperson told Al-Monitor on background that Trump had indicated the United States would remain a “steadfast” partner for Saudi Arabia, despite tensions over the war in Yemen and Khashoggi’s death.
“For four decades and across seven US presidential administrations, Saudi Arabia has been an important partner for the United States in curbing the malign behavior of Iran, who is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and the source of the growing ballistic missile threat to our regional partners,” the spokesperson said. (end of excerpt)
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