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Washington offered USD 115bn in weapons to Saudi Arabia over past eight years: report

London [UK], Sep. 9: According to a new report, the Obama administration has offered to sell USD 115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia over its eight years in office, more than any previous administration, and the move was intended to replenish arsenal after war in Yemen.

The surge in sales is in part to reassure the Saudi monarchy of US backing in the wake of last year's nuclear deal with Tehran, which raised fears in the Gulf that Washington would tilt more towards Tehran in its foreign policy, reports the Guardian.

Authored by William Hartung of the Centre for International Policy, the report says that another factor was a drive by the US arms manufacturers to boost sales to compensate declining procurement by the Pentagon.

However, the most recent deals - like the offer to sell more than 150 M1A2 Abrams battle tanks for an estimated USD 1.15 billion - were principally intended to replenish the Saudi arsenal, depleted in the war in Yemen.

"I think that though the Obama administration is not thrilled about the Yemen episode; it feels it can't stay out of it, because of the need to reassure the Saudis," Hartung said.

His report found that since taking office in January 2009, the Obama administration has offered to sell USD 115 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, half of which are accounted for by deals that are still in the pipeline.

The report comes as concerns about the United Kingdom's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and their implication in potential war crimes in Yemen have split the Parliament's arms control committee.

Arms sales over the eight years of the Obama administration have also included combat aircraft, attack helicopters, bombs, air-to-ground missiles, warships and military training.

The latest tank deal has drawn resistance from congressional democrats, who have called for a freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, because of its bombing of civilian targets in Yemen. (ANI)