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How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons


On August 9, 2018 a fighter jet dropped a
bomb on this street in Dahyan, Yemen. It exploded here, near a busy marketplace. Killing 40 children on a school bus. The plane was from a coalition led by Saudi
Arabia. They have conducted thousands of airstrikes
in Yemen since 2015 – many aimed at civilian targets. This is the bomb. And this photo, reportedly taken after the
attack, shows that the serial number – 94271 – corresponds to a 500-pound laser-guided
bomb built by the Lockheed Martin corporation. It was made in the United States. In fact, most of Saudi Arabia’s weapons
are. The US is the biggest arms dealer in the world
– and Saudi Arabia is its number one customer. For nearly 75 years, the two countries
have been strategic allies — trying to keep the Middle East stable for their own benefit. But today, the Middle East has fallen apart. And Saudi Arabia has been using US weapons
to make it worse. So why does the US sell Saudi Arabia so many
weapons… and will it ever stop? In 1938, a lot of it was discovered in the
new country of Saudi Arabia. “For here are more proved and readily accessible reserves than in all of North and South America together.” In 1945, US President Franklin Roosevelt made
a deal with the Saudi King AbdulAziz al-Saud: The Saudis would provide the US with a safe,
reliable source of oil and in exchange, the US would support and protect the Saudis. This was at a time when the US was making
other alliances in the Middle East. “Oil, however. Together with its strategic location, it has made this area important in world affairs.” But at first, US arms sales to their allies in the Middle
East were limited. The US hoped fewer weapons would mean less conflict and therefore a steady
supply of oil. But that didn’t last for long. War broke out between Israel and these Arab
States. in 1967. This put the US in an awkward situation – it
had allies on both sides. The US ultimately decided to sell fighter
jets to Israel to give them an advantage over the Arab states. But war broke out again six years later. This time, the US sent thousands of tons of
arms to Israel . This outraged the Arab allies, including Saudi
Arabia. So they struck back. “The oil producing countries of the Arab world decided to use their oil as a political weapon.” These Arab states cut-off oil supplies to
the US to protest their support of Israel… And it caused a crisis. The price of oil nearly quadrupled in the
US. The cut-off ended several months later when
the US brokered a peace deal between Israel and Egypt. But to help rebuild its relationship with
its Arab allies, the US decided to sell them weapons. And the Saudis were particularly eager to buy. By the 1970s, oil profits had made Saudi Arabia’s
monarchy extraordinarily rich – and they could afford to buy a range of advanced weapons. Between 1970 and ’76, US sales to Saudi Arabia
skyrocketed. In the meantime just
across the Gulf, Iran had emerged as another extremely strategic ally to the US. Like Saudi Arabia, it was a large, oil-rich
country. But more importantly, it shared this long
border with the Soviet Union – America’s primary enemy during the Cold War. So, President Nixon said the US would ““sell
Iran virtually any conventional weapons it wanted.” Together, Saudi Arabia and Iran became America’s
Twin Pillars in the Middle East. For the US, selling them guns, bombs, planes,
and tanks was a way to prevent the Soviets from entering the Middle East, and protect the oil supply. And having these countries rely on American
weapons gave the US important leverage to dictate how and when they were used. It was also an important sign of trust and
support between allies. US arms came with years of training and maintenance,
so each weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, for example, was a long-term commitment to work
together. This would prove to be important because Saudi
Arabia and the US would soon have to rely even more on each other… In 1979, the Islamic revolution overthrew
the pro-US Shah of Iran who was replaced by a religious leader; Ayatollah Khomeini. Suddenly, one of the America’s twin pillars
turned on it. The new Iran was ambitious and extremely anti-American. While armed with $9B worth of American-made weapons. And it was also the enemy of Saudi Arabia. Each saw itself as the leader of the muslim
world; and started competing for influence in the Middle East. So Saudi Arabia continued to want more weapons and the US continued to sell them. In the meantime, the Soviet Union, which had
been developing its own alliances in the Middle East for decades, started selling advanced weapons to countries like Iraq and Syria. At this point a full-scale arms race was taking
place in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer thanks to the US. “I do not think it contributes towards achieving peace in the Middle East. And therefore I think this arms sale should be disapproved.” These sales sparked fierce debates in the
US. Like on June 5, 1986 when President Ronald
Reagan supported the sale of 2,500 missiles to Saudi Arabia: “Our proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia will increase the Saudi’s ability to withstand the threat from radical Arab states.” Many in Congress were skeptical about
selling more weapons in the name of defense… “Over the past 30 years , the US has sold over 50 billion dollars worth of military weapons and services to the Saudis. More than we’ve sold to any nation on Earth. Where are the reciprocal acts of friendship?” Reagan argued that the arms sales were an
important part of the alliance. “We have had for more than 40 years now, a relationship and an agreement, mutual security agreement, with the Saudi Arabians. And it has been beneficial to both
of us.” He insisted that it was important that the US be the ones to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia… “First of all, look, they’re gonna have arms,
whether we do it or not. But when they have them from us, there are
restrictions on their use of them; and that they are restricted to using them defensively. Or then there are things that we will do.” “It is not a very valid argument, but I can use the same argument on drugs out in the street. If I don’t sell drugs to someone, someone
else will. The question is not whether someone else
will, the question is whether it’s right.” Congress pushed for some changes to the deal before ultimately approving the sale. In fact, Congress would never fully block a foreign arms sale. Over the next 20 years, the strength of the
US-Saudi alliance would waiver, but their reliance on each other never quite
stopped. The Soviet threat vanished when the country
collapsed in 1991. But Iraq under Saddam Hussein emerged as a
new threat to both Saudi Arabia and the US. So the Saudis went all out. In 1993, the US and Saudi Arabia agreed on
a record number of arms sales. But arms sales decreased during the late 1990s
and hit rock-bottom after the 9/11 attacks – 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Two years later, the US launched a war in
Iraq and threw the Middle East into chaos. It turned to Saudi Arabia as a partner and arms sales started increasing again. Over the next decade, the Middle East continued
to fall apart… And Iran took advantage of the chaos by supporting
militant groups in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq – turning these conflicts into proxy wars. To the US, this is Iran destabilizing the
Middle East, but to the Saudis, this is Iran closing in on them. So Saudi Arabia started using its weapons – aggressively. Along with a coalition of allies, Saudi Arabia
intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015. The Saudis claimed they wanted to restore
the government, but only made the conflict worse. Iran stepped in to support the rebels, turning Yemen into a proxy war. The Saudi’s aggressive tactics have created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Out of nearly 16,000 airstrikes since 2015,
the Saudi-coalition has hit civilian targets a third of the time. Most estimates put the civilian death toll well
over 10,000. The UN has found that many of the civilian
attacks were intentional and could be considered war crimes. The problem is the US has continued to sell
arms to Saudi Arabia this whole time. In fact, the Obama Administration approved
the most arms sales to the Saudis in US history. These included not just new weapons, but also
replacements for weapons used or damaged in Yemen. Including this bomb: likely sold to Saudi
Arabia in 2015 and dropped on a school bus in 2018. “$3 billion dollars, $533 million dollars,
$525 million dollars. That’s peanuts for you.” While the Trump administration focuses on
the supposed economic benefits of selling weapons, it misses the real point:
Decades of arming Saudi Arabia was supposed to give the US some leverage over it. But that’s clearly not working. Saudi Arabia’s leader – Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman is accused of ordering the brutal murder of a US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And it’s sparked historic resistance to
the US-Saudi relationship… “I will not support arms sales until all responsible for the death of Mr. Khashoggi have been brought to justice.” And I will no longer support the war in Yemen as constructed.” “The bombing of a school bus full of children and other civilian targets is not something I want America’s fingerprints on.” So will the US actually stop selling weapons
to Saudi Arabia? It’s a difficult question.
The Middle East is more unstable than ever. After 75 years, Saudi Arabia and the US still
need each other. But it’s clearly not a trustworthy alliance
anymore.


Reader Comments

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  2. "In the mean time, just across the gulf, Iran had emerged as another extremely strategic ally to the U.S." at 3:20 is a strange way to summarize the CIA overthrowing a moderate, democratically elected leader and installing a brutal regime.

  3. I could literally watch this video n others like this for hours. Meaning I wish these videos had more that they were longer like documentary long. Really good informative well put together video. Kinda puts it all into perspective

  4. so is't a proplem to protect our self from terrorist group on our southern border ?
    Imagine a terrorist group occupying Mexico
    Will America accept that there is a terrorist group on their southern border?

    by the way we doing a real favor to western countries especially america
    in this fight
    because this Terrorist group called (houthis) and their slogan (death to america)
    Their ideology is based on murder and they consider whoever kills any western person will enter Paradise
    + There are other suppliers of weapons

    Such as Russia and China

  5. Now let’s all forget how many civilians been killed iin Iraq war or afghanstan war by American soldiers.. thanks wiki leaks

  6. why if the oil nowhere found in saudi? I dont think America or Israel will support…wow god bless saudi in future

  7. If US stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia Iran will be stronger and we know for sure Saudi Arabia not the enemy in this equation, at least that’s what the video said

  8. الصراحه بعد هاذا المقطع ما الوم اي عربي يكره السعوديه
    حكومتنا عدوكم بس شعبنا يحبكم
    After watching this video, do not blame any Arab to hate the government of Saudi Arabia against us, but its people love you to the Jews

  9. You said 15 out of 19 are saudis thats totally false & misguide sentance.

    9/11 is a inside job & proved by american engineering association.

  10. you leave out the us backed regime change part,why do you think iranian hate america. what about flight655?reagan called that an understandable mistak.

  11. Waiting for the day which I’m sure I’ll be way dead by then that the saudis
    Run out of oil and see that if they still are going to act they live in such a royalty sense.

  12. Saudia arabia : I am the king of Muslim world
    Iran : I am the king of Muslim world
    Pakistan and Turkey : Are we a joke to you.

  13. Free energy is their nightmare. They'll never give up the money that comes from oil, think of the trillions that runs thru the worlds economy thru oil. The capitalists and for profit companies will never let it happen, there's way to much invested in the current infrastructure and money to be lost. Even tho its good for the world and will benefit humanity, greed will get in the way.

  14. Who made the Taliban are the Americans and those who supported the American advocate and how to a man named Asama Bladen lives in a cave in Afqstanistan and I can hijack two planes and overcome the American air defense worth billions in the idea that Iran is the main financier of al-Qaeda,

  15. Congress wants a ISIL USA…. Stiff drug laws, no tobacco, no alcohol…. US Congress will have us all praying to the east if you let them..

  16. These reports have lost their credibility to everyone. Everyone knows that the superpowers are planning and working for such things. All things in the world are going according to the estimates of countries like America, Russia, China, etc.

  17. America is the most brutal country and the killing of the American Indians where they killed a large number of Iraqis, the Vietnamese and others

  18. Partyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀🌎 🌎 jajajajajaja jajajajajajajajajaja 😁 😁 jajajajajaja 😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁 jajajajajaja 😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁 jajajajajaja 😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁😁 😁 jajajajajaja

  19. welp it would not surprise me anymore if a third major world war started from these middle east countries, and the greatest villain US will make everything go downhill

  20. Its jul 2019

    US: let us not end the war and take our troops to Saudi Arabia supporting "children killers" I mean democracy ..

  21. The US sells weapons to the Saudis to help stabilize the Middle East. Imagine if the Saudis side with Russia. We’re doomed!

  22. And now the Trump crime gang tries to silently sell nuclear technology to Saudi. How could that go wrong… Don't sell em nuke technology. Nuke em.

  23. interesting how you left out the part where saddam invaded Iran and u.s sold him weapons and gave him support in a war that killed a million Iranians

  24. U.S Doesn't wants it's fingerprint on Civilian Killings in Yemen after they Bombed civilians in Iraq ,Syria and Afghanistan

  25. So basically the US killed 40 kids on a school bus? Let's imagine what would happen if another country bombed a school bus in Say Miami.

  26. You know what, the world can be in peace if all nations come together and wipe off USA from the map..
    It's the main insect..

  27. I think Iran is a bigger threat the civilians in Yemen are just gonna have to be counted as collateral damage in the cold war against Iran.

  28. Russia China India Pakistan France The United Kingdom and the United States can sell them weapons but Isreal always wins

  29. US sells weapon towards Afghani Mujahideen and Taliban and CIA train them during 1980's so they can fight Soviet Union, and then 9/11
    Now US sells weapon towards Saudi Arabian, imagine if they use those weapon towards US.

  30. Saudi Arabia is a long time cancer that should be eradicated. Unfortunately money is more important to the US, so this Saudi filth keeps on destroying lives of millions and millions of people.

  31. USA just digs it's own well. 😒

    And it's joke of the millennium when USA talks about human rights. They are supporting Saudi Arabia which cares least about human rights, killing innocent civilians.

  32. Saudi regime is a cancer, nothing more, and it causes more and more hatred agsint USA. American governments are fully responsible for supporting and supplying it. What goes around comes around.

  33. its not us or saudi fault. in Middle East they just mixing politics, money, religion and all the good stuff for disaster.

  34. America allowed the democratic Iran to be overthrew because they wanted to sell the oil for much more

  35. You forgot the fact that Iran oppresses it’s minorities,the most important oil province,arabistan ( ahwaz ) is a completely contaminated city and doesn’t get many services,even though they are Shia Arabs.

  36. the timeline of the video is not accurate. many important details are not shown . examples :
    the oil embargo ended not due to a peace deal btw Egypt and Israel , but other reasons . the Riches and vast income of Saudi Arabia started happening after the saudi’s practically ended the US share in the oil company that ran the oil fields , this lasted till the seventies . Iran timeline is not accurate as well , the Shah was an ally , but up to 1979 when he was ousted ….but thanks for the effort

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