The Trump administration also granted the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon permission to engage in technology transfers and support the domestic production of critical guidance components and equipment in Saudi Arabia for the Paveway smart bombs that are being used extensively in Yemen. While both the Senate and House have already moved to block the deal, it is unclear if they will be able to override a likely presidential veto.
Beyond the debate over the ethical and strategic concerns over how these weapons are used in Yemen, the transfer of sensitive military technology will likely contribute to the increasingly alarming proliferation of advanced missile and guided munitions throughout the world. Saudi Arabia is hungry for strategic technology. Part of the “Saudi Vision 2030” plan is to turn the kingdom into a major producer of advanced military goods and other strategic technology. This plan includes nuclear technology transfers from the United States — which have drawn close scrutiny — and a renewed interest in a domestic ballistic missile production capacity. This new arms deal has the potential to help jumpstart the Saudi missile program and contribute to the rampant proliferation of ballistic missiles and related technologies.
Read the rest at War on the Rocks.