US State Department announces new military support for Saudi Arabia, Lebanon

A military helicopter flies over Riyadh during celebrations marking Saudi Arabi's 90th National Day, Sept. 23, 2020. (AFP)

The State Department announced Monday its decision to provide Saudi Arabia with an additional five years of technical assistance and advisory support to help counter regional threats.

A statement from the department said the sale, at an estimated cost of $350 million, would see the support provided to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense.

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“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the statement read.

This will also help Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats, including regional threats.

Separately, the US announced its intention to sell up to 300 military Humvees, estimated at the cost of $55.5 million.

“The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today,” the State Department said.

The sale of the M1152 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) comes after a request from the Lebanese government, Washington said.

Lebanese army soldiers flash victory signs as they rest on top of an armoured personnel carrier in northeast Lebanon, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP)

Lebanese army soldiers flash victory signs as they rest on top of an armoured personnel carrier in northeast Lebanon, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP)

“Also included are spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support,” the State Department said.

Washington has faced pushback for providing support to the Lebanese army, out of fear and accusations that it coordinates with Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Nevertheless, Lebanon’s army was one of the first in the region to successfully defeat ISIS and is seen by the US government as a critical partner in the fight against terrorism.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 02 December 2020 KSA 00:48 - GMT 21:48
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