clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

And why they want more.

Last week, the US Senate passed a historic resolution that calls for the Trump administration to halt all assistance to Saudi Arabia related to its disastrous war in Yemen. Another bill, currently in the Senate, would suspend all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, something Congress has never done in the 73 years since it became partners with the Kingdom.

For decades, the United States and Saudi Arabia worked together in the Middle East. The reasons varied, but for the most part, both countries wanted the same things: steady oil production, a contained Soviet Union, and, later, a contained Iran.

One of the linchpins of this relationship was weapons sales. The US is the top weapons dealer in the world, and Saudi Arabia is its No. 1 customer. In the past, when the Middle East was in trouble, the US would sell Saudi Arabia weapons to protect itself.

But today, the Middle East is more unstable than ever, and Saudi Arabia is using US-made weapons to make it worse. Watch the video above to understand why the US sold Saudi Arabia so many weapons and how that’s become a problem today. Plus, subscribe to our YouTube channel to view all our latest videos.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.