Ahead of the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia, Reuters is reporting on US – Saudi talks regarding the the sale of billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Sunni kingdom.
This report is the latest indication of Washington’s recognition of the pro-US coalition in the Middle East, as well as a new American willingness to assist it.
Saudi Arabia is heading an axis of Sunni states that is dedicated to stopping Iran from spreading its proxies, influence, and Shi’ite jihadist ideology all over the region.
To that end, Saudi arms imports have risen by nearly 300% between 2011 and 2015. This year, Saudi Arabia is ranked as the world’s second largest weapons importer.
In 2015, the Saudis proved their willingness to use their military force, by leading an intervention against Shi’ite Houthi forces who had taken over sections of Yemen.
This devestasting war continues to rage to this day, though it is often drowned out by the horrors of the war in Syria.
In Syria, Iran-backed Shi’ite forces and Saudi-sponsored Sunni rebels are locked in combat against one another.
In Yemen, the Houthis receive weapons support from Iran, and fire ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis intercept these attacks with Patriot surface to air missile systems, and could be looking to buy Lockheed Martin THAAD batteries to boost their air defenses, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Chinese-made missiles are pointed directly at Iran.
The clash between the Sunni and Shi’ite axes looks set to dominate the Middle East for many years to come, and will rage across many different arenas.