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President Barack Obama, right, meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Washington. The meeting comes as Saudi Arabia seeks assurances from the U.S. that the Iran nuclear deal comes with the necessary resources to help check Iran’s regional ambitions. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama (Warmonger and Nobel laureate for Peace), right, meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia (Saudi dictator and terrorists’ supplier) in the Oval Office of the White House, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As Yemen assault continues, US announces billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia

By Niles Williamson, WSWS, 5 Sept. 2015

The Pentagon is in the process of finalizing a $1 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for the delivery of a cache of weapons, consisting primarily of missiles to arm the fleet of F-15 fighter jets it had previously purchased from the US.

While this latest weapons transfer, first reported by the New York Times, is being presented in the media as part of a bid by the administration of President Barack Obama to assuage the Saudi monarchy’s concerns over the US-Iran nuclear deal, it also facilitates the continuation and escalation of the bloody assault on Yemen that Saudi Arabia has been carrying out along with its allies since March.

The deal serves as a green light from the Obama administration for an escalation of the brutal military offensive against the Houthi militias that took control over much of Yemen’s western provinces earlier this year.

According to UN estimates, more than 4,300 people have been killed since the anti-Houthi offensive began March, with more than half of these being civilians, including many women and children. Nearly 1.5 million people have been internally displaced by the fighting, with tens of thousands more fleeing the country.

With American military intelligence and logistical support, Saudi Arabia and its allies have used US-supplied F-15s to drop US-supplied bombs on residential neighborhoods, markets, schools, factories and ports. The Saudi-led forces have repeatedly dropped internationally outlawed cluster bombs, munitions also supplied by the US government.

After months of punishing airstrikes against targets throughout Yemen, thousands of troops from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Gulf state monarchies have entered the country and are preparing for a ground offensive to retake the capital of Sanaa.

Fifty soldiers from the UAE and Bahrain were killed on Friday in the northern province of Marib after a rocket reportedly fired by Houthi forces struck a weapons depot, setting off a massive explosion.

The US weapons transfer, which awaits almost certain approval by Congress, was announced as Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud made his first state visit to the United States since ascending to the throne in January.

For the three-day visit to Washington, DC, the Saudi monarch rented out all 222 rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel in the posh Georgetown neighborhood to accommodate his highness and an entourage of several hundred.

The Four Seasons staff laid out a red carpet in the parking garage and hotel hallways to keep the royal feet of the king and his courtiers from touching the ground. And to further ensure ultimate comfort the hotel’s furniture was replaced with gilded equivalents.

“Everything is gold,” a regular hotel patron told Politico. “Gold mirrors, gold end tables, gold lamps, even gold hat racks.”

King Salman and President Obama’s agenda reportedly included discussions on the Iran nuclear deal, the war in Yemen, the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and energy policy. They also discussed escalating US military training programs for the Saudi armed forces.

Excerpts from: “US, Saudi Arabia discuss how to end horrific situation in Syria”
(PressTV, 4/9/2015)

“President Barack Obama has said that he would discuss how to end the ongoing crisis in Syria in a meeting with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz.

“We share concerns about the crisis in Syria and will have the opportunity to discuss how we can run a political transition process within Syria and how we can finally end the horrific situation there,” Obama said.

“We share a concern about Yemen and the need to restore a functioning government that is inclusive and can relieve the humanitarian situation there,” he added.

The two leaders met in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday.

The US president also noted that the two counties would continue to cooperate “extremely closely in countering terrorism activities in the region and around the world, including our battle against ISIL.”

They also discussed the July 14 nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the world powers.

“We’ll discuss the importance of an effectively implementing the deal to ensure Iran does not have a nuclear weapon,” Obama said before the meeting.

King Salman also said through his translator that Riyadh is working with Washington for world peace.

“Our region must achieve stability, which is essential for the prosperity of its people, and in our country, thank God we are prosperous, but we want prosperity for the entire region. We are willing to cooperate with you in order to achieve that,” he said.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice took part in the meeting”.

On Friday, in a joint press briefing with King Salman held in the White House’s Oval Office, President Obama extended a warm welcome to his “personal friend” whose executioners have beheaded at least 130 people so far this year.

Obama also expressed his “concern” over the situation in Yemen, facetiously calling for the restoration of “a functioning government that is inclusive and that can relieve the humanitarian situation there.”

The President also used the public briefing to press for a “political transfer process” in Syria, where the United States and Saudi Arabia have worked together to stoke a four-year civil war aimed at ousting President Bashar al Assad. Saudi Arabia has been one of the key supporters of Islamic fundamentalist jihadist groups fighting in Syria, including the Al Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, as well as ISIS.

The conflict, fueled by the weapons and fighters funneled into Syria by the Obama administration and its Saudi partners, has killed more than 220,000 Syrians and displaced millions, contributing to the flood of refugees now attempting the perilous trek through Europe.

The deal reported by the Times on Friday is only one of a number of pending arms sales to Saudi Arabia being negotiated by the Pentagon. In 2010 the Obama administration announced a $60 billion, 20-year agreement, the largest-ever US arms deal, which will provide Saudi Arabia with, among other things, 84 new F-15 fighter jets and 70 new Apache attack helicopters.

The Saudi government is currently in discussions with the Pentagon to purchase two frigates being built by Lockheed Martin for more than $1 billion. The US-supplied warships will serve as the cornerstone of the Royal Saudi navy’s upgrade of its eastern fleet. A deal worth $1.9 billion for 10 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to shore up the Saudi navy’s antisubmarine capabilities is also expected to be signed before the end of the year.

The Pentagon approved a number of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia at the end of July, including a $5.4 billion deal for 600 Patriot Missiles and a $500 million deal for more than a million rounds of ammunition as well as land mines and hand grenades for the Saudi Arabian Army.

Supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia has undertaken a massive effort to upgrade and expand its military forces over the last ten years with military expenditures increasing 112 percent between 2005 and 2014. In 2014, the Saudi monarchy committed approximately $80.8 billion, a whopping 10.4 percent of the country’s GDP, to military expenditures.

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