The US Senate rejected last week a bill that would have blocked the proposed sale of 280 medium-range air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia, worth $650 million.
Sixty-seven members of the council voted against the resolution, while 30 voted in favor of it. The White House announced, earlier, on Tuesday, that it strongly opposes any resolution that would prevent the completion of the sale of advanced missiles to Saudi Arabia.
This undermines President Joe Biden’s commitment to helping “support our partner’s defenses at a time when missile and drone attacks on civilians in Saudi Arabia are increasing,” the White House Office of Budget Management said in a statement.
The office stated that the proposed deal “will renew Saudi Arabia’s current stockpile of air-to-air missiles,” noting that the Kingdom “uses these weapons to defend itself against cross-border air attacks, such as the booby-trapped drones launched by the Houthi group.”
US President Joe Biden said in a message to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Speaker Chuck Schumer on the “War Powers” report that the US continues to work with its partners around the world in the fight against terrorism.
He added, “A limited number of our forces have been deployed in Yemen to carry out operations against al-Qaeda and ISIS,” noting that “the US is working closely with the Yemeni government and its regional partners to undermine the influence of terrorist groups in Yemen.”
It is noteworthy that the missile sale deal to Saudi Arabia was approved by the Pentagon, and sent to Congress on November 4, and then on November 21, a group of Republican and Democratic senators submitted a draft resolution to stop it.
The resolution was sent to the Committee on Foreign Relations for discussion, after which it was voted on by the full Senate, to become law. At this point, it is just a proposal being discussed in the Senate.
The State Department approved this $650 million arms deal, the first major arms deal with Saudi Arabia during Biden’s presidency.