The US state department has approved the sale of $290m in bombs to Saudi Arabia as part of a flurry of arms deals with Middle Eastern dictatorships in the last weeks of the Trump administration.
Critics of the sales say they are being rushed through despite broad congressional and public opposition to such military support because of the human rights records of the regimes involved and in the case of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the huge civilian death toll from the war in Yemen.
The state department’s defence security cooperation agency announced the approval of sale of the GBU-39 small diameter bomb munitions and related equipment to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. On the same day, the agency also announced approvals for the sale of H-64E Apache Helicopters worth $4bn to Kuwait, $104m in defensive equipment against missile attack for the plane of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as well as $65.6m in precision targeting equipment for Egyptian warplanes. Egypt has been criticised for the civilian impact of its counter-insurgency campaign in north Sinai.
On Wednesday, a New York think-tank is planning to sue secretary of state Mike Pompeo over the proposed sale of $65.6m of advanced drones and warplanes to UAE, saying the administration has failed to meet legal requirements to provide a full rationale for the sale, and to consider the impact on US security and world peace.