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How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons


On August 9, 2018 a fighter jet dropped a
bomb on this street in Dahyan, Yemen. It exploded here, near a busy marketplace. Killing 40 children on a school bus. The plane was from a coalition led by Saudi
Arabia. They have conducted thousands of airstrikes
in Yemen since 2015 – many aimed at civilian targets. This is the bomb. And this photo, reportedly taken after the
attack, shows that the serial number – 94271 – corresponds to a 500-pound laser-guided
bomb built by the Lockheed Martin corporation. It was made in the United States. In fact, most of Saudi Arabia’s weapons
are. The US is the biggest arms dealer in the world
– and Saudi Arabia is its number one customer. For nearly 75 years, the two countries
have been strategic allies — trying to keep the Middle East stable for their own benefit. But today, the Middle East has fallen apart. And Saudi Arabia has been using US weapons
to make it worse. So why does the US sell Saudi Arabia so many
weapons… and will it ever stop? In 1938, a lot of it was discovered in the
new country of Saudi Arabia. “For here are more proved and readily accessible reserves than in all of North and South America together.” In 1945, US President Franklin Roosevelt made
a deal with the Saudi King AbdulAziz al-Saud: The Saudis would provide the US with a safe,
reliable source of oil and in exchange, the US would support and protect the Saudis. This was at a time when the US was making
other alliances in the Middle East. “Oil, however. Together with its strategic location, it has made this area important in world affairs.” But at first, US arms sales to their allies in the Middle
East were limited. The US hoped fewer weapons would mean less conflict and therefore a steady
supply of oil. But that didn’t last for long. War broke out between Israel and these Arab
States. in 1967. This put the US in an awkward situation – it
had allies on both sides. The US ultimately decided to sell fighter
jets to Israel to give them an advantage over the Arab states. But war broke out again six years later. This time, the US sent thousands of tons of
arms to Israel . This outraged the Arab allies, including Saudi
Arabia. So they struck back. “The oil producing countries of the Arab world decided to use their oil as a political weapon.” These Arab states cut-off oil supplies to
the US to protest their support of Israel… And it caused a crisis. The price of oil nearly quadrupled in the
US. The cut-off ended several months later when
the US brokered a peace deal between Israel and Egypt. But to help rebuild its relationship with
its Arab allies, the US decided to sell them weapons. And the Saudis were particularly eager to buy. By the 1970s, oil profits had made Saudi Arabia’s
monarchy extraordinarily rich – and they could afford to buy a range of advanced weapons. Between 1970 and ’76, US sales to Saudi Arabia
skyrocketed. In the meantime just
across the Gulf, Iran had emerged as another extremely strategic ally to the US. Like Saudi Arabia, it was a large, oil-rich
country. But more importantly, it shared this long
border with the Soviet Union – America’s primary enemy during the Cold War. So, President Nixon said the US would ““sell
Iran virtually any conventional weapons it wanted.” Together, Saudi Arabia and Iran became America’s
Twin Pillars in the Middle East. For the US, selling them guns, bombs, planes,
and tanks was a way to prevent the Soviets from entering the Middle East, and protect the oil supply. And having these countries rely on American
weapons gave the US important leverage to dictate how and when they were used. It was also an important sign of trust and
support between allies. US arms came with years of training and maintenance,
so each weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, for example, was a long-term commitment to work
together. This would prove to be important because Saudi
Arabia and the US would soon have to rely even more on each other… In 1979, the Islamic revolution overthrew
the pro-US Shah of Iran who was replaced by a religious leader; Ayatollah Khomeini. Suddenly, one of the America’s twin pillars
turned on it. The new Iran was ambitious and extremely anti-American. While armed with $9B worth of American-made weapons. And it was also the enemy of Saudi Arabia. Each saw itself as the leader of the muslim
world; and started competing for influence in the Middle East. So Saudi Arabia continued to want more weapons and the US continued to sell them. In the meantime, the Soviet Union, which had
been developing its own alliances in the Middle East for decades, started selling advanced weapons to countries like Iraq and Syria. At this point a full-scale arms race was taking
place in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer thanks to the US. “I do not think it contributes towards achieving peace in the Middle East. And therefore I think this arms sale should be disapproved.” These sales sparked fierce debates in the
US. Like on June 5, 1986 when President Ronald
Reagan supported the sale of 2,500 missiles to Saudi Arabia: “Our proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia will increase the Saudi’s ability to withstand the threat from radical Arab states.” Many in Congress were skeptical about
selling more weapons in the name of defense… “Over the past 30 years , the US has sold over 50 billion dollars worth of military weapons and services to the Saudis. More than we’ve sold to any nation on Earth. Where are the reciprocal acts of friendship?” Reagan argued that the arms sales were an
important part of the alliance. “We have had for more than 40 years now, a relationship and an agreement, mutual security agreement, with the Saudi Arabians. And it has been beneficial to both
of us.” He insisted that it was important that the US be the ones to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia… “First of all, look, they’re gonna have arms,
whether we do it or not. But when they have them from us, there are
restrictions on their use of them; and that they are restricted to using them defensively. Or then there are things that we will do.” “It is not a very valid argument, but I can use the same argument on drugs out in the street. If I don’t sell drugs to someone, someone
else will. The question is not whether someone else
will, the question is whether it’s right.” Congress pushed for some changes to the deal before ultimately approving the sale. In fact, Congress would never fully block a foreign arms sale. Over the next 20 years, the strength of the
US-Saudi alliance would waiver, but their reliance on each other never quite
stopped. The Soviet threat vanished when the country
collapsed in 1991. But Iraq under Saddam Hussein emerged as a
new threat to both Saudi Arabia and the US. So the Saudis went all out. In 1993, the US and Saudi Arabia agreed on
a record number of arms sales. But arms sales decreased during the late 1990s
and hit rock-bottom after the 9/11 attacks – 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Two years later, the US launched a war in
Iraq and threw the Middle East into chaos. It turned to Saudi Arabia as a partner and arms sales started increasing again. Over the next decade, the Middle East continued
to fall apart… And Iran took advantage of the chaos by supporting
militant groups in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq – turning these conflicts into proxy wars. To the US, this is Iran destabilizing the
Middle East, but to the Saudis, this is Iran closing in on them. So Saudi Arabia started using its weapons – aggressively. Along with a coalition of allies, Saudi Arabia
intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015. The Saudis claimed they wanted to restore
the government, but only made the conflict worse. Iran stepped in to support the rebels, turning Yemen into a proxy war. The Saudi’s aggressive tactics have created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Out of nearly 16,000 airstrikes since 2015,
the Saudi-coalition has hit civilian targets a third of the time. Most estimates put the civilian death toll well
over 10,000. The UN has found that many of the civilian
attacks were intentional and could be considered war crimes. The problem is the US has continued to sell
arms to Saudi Arabia this whole time. In fact, the Obama Administration approved
the most arms sales to the Saudis in US history. These included not just new weapons, but also
replacements for weapons used or damaged in Yemen. Including this bomb: likely sold to Saudi
Arabia in 2015 and dropped on a school bus in 2018. “$3 billion dollars, $533 million dollars,
$525 million dollars. That’s peanuts for you.” While the Trump administration focuses on
the supposed economic benefits of selling weapons, it misses the real point:
Decades of arming Saudi Arabia was supposed to give the US some leverage over it. But that’s clearly not working. Saudi Arabia’s leader – Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman is accused of ordering the brutal murder of a US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And it’s sparked historic resistance to
the US-Saudi relationship… “I will not support arms sales until all responsible for the death of Mr. Khashoggi have been brought to justice.” And I will no longer support the war in Yemen as constructed.” “The bombing of a school bus full of children and other civilian targets is not something I want America’s fingerprints on.” So will the US actually stop selling weapons
to Saudi Arabia? It’s a difficult question.
The Middle East is more unstable than ever. After 75 years, Saudi Arabia and the US still
need each other. But it’s clearly not a trustworthy alliance
anymore.

Comments (100)

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  2. 0:55 is this not an opinion "Saudi Arabia has been using US weapons to make it worse" in the past lines it was stated it was in US's and Saudi's best interests to keep the middle east stable they would not purposely make it worse this is an opinion so my opinion (since I guess we are sharing them) is this is bad journalism

  3. Its petro dollar. America will let Saudis not only get arms but use the US military in exchange for selling oil in dollars, implemented by Nixon.

  4. This is heart breaking to watch, really.

  5. Saudi much smarter

  6. They need oil.
    They create war.
    They sell the weapons.
    The oil have supplied.

  7. We need Elon Musk to come up with new ways we can produce renewable energy and then we can stop to care about the middle east. Elon America's security depends on you.

  8. Russia is also the culprit

  9. Americans are talking about humanity lol

  10. UN, EU and the US: stop giving saudis weapons

    US: how bout I do, anyways

  11. 7:17 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis. Launches war on Iraq. WHAT!!!

  12. استعادت المملكة العربية السعودية شرعية اليمن ، والسعودية مع شعب اليمن.

  13. Saudi Arabia restored the legitimacy of Yemen, and the Saudi Arabia with the people of Yemen.

  14. Thus the US created dangerous enemies themselves by selling them weapons for years

  15. Good to know that no everybody lost their mind

  16. Vox will never talk about the hothys fires missiles to holy Makkah city

  17. While we are watching Netflix the devil is working hard. These rich white guys don’t give afuck

  18. Anyone who oversimplifies this has missed the point of the video.

  19. Nobel peace prize winner wow

  20. obama: how much weapons do you need ?

    Saudis : Yes

  21. Therefore
    Oil is greater than Lives

  22. Por que o título está em português?

  23. You mean British and US weapons…

  24. This reminds me of the first Iron Man when Tony sees that his weapons were being sold to the terrorists that took him hostage.

  25. In school i was taught that it was usa who took down its own towers

  26. Best channel on YouTube. Thank you

  27. Khaash khayamath ajathi …

  28. and this is why we need to move to solar bois

  29. “What u sow so shall You reap”. Time is nearing for USA to reap what they have sowed

  30. 7:20 what how was there’s not a war in Saudi if most of the 911 plane guys r from there ….

  31. Some day if Saudi Arabia gets into a civil war there's gonna be a lot of U.S guns lying around.

  32. I wonder why the middle east is so unstable…

    US and Soviets sell massive amounts of tanks, missiles, guns and planes to major countries in the middle east in the background

  33. Why would they bomb Yemen in the first place

  34. Looks like America is the one distablizing the middle east with the aid of the military industrial complex.

  35. No. No. Obama's the world's greatest saint sir!!!

  36. It is now tremendously clear in front of the world that nine-eleven was an inside job. In-spite of this, Vox channel is still telling that `15 out of 19' of plane-hijackers were from Saudi Arabia !!! How can we now trust this channel if they are not honest though.

  37. Our world is such a chaos.

  38. 09:03 seem them joking and laughing those psychopathic war mongerers, heavily loaded with weapons of destructions, heavily lacking Love for fellow human beings !

  39. So america is just selling guns to the saudies so that they can protect themself
    Just like they wanted to give all americans guns
    Man this is intresting

  40. Quick answer: Oil and Obama.

  41. I swear all of information in this video are Not real You just want to say saudi arabia are terrorist AND WE ARE NOT

  42. Let me guess, America?

  43. You can start with the Roosevelt brotherhood deal. We are still supporting the Kingdom. We are too addicted to oil to ever go against them.

  44. Incredible video, in 10 minutes you helped me learn so much!

  45. btw the good thing about trump is he's an oil digger saudis bought these weapons they bought them they didn't get them for free so u.s. have no favor what so ever

  46. Im not from Saudi, but Saudi is trying to fix what usa destroyed in the middle east, you criminals who like to call everyone a criminal but your selves.

  47. I'm amazed at the editing of this video and also the graphics in the video like the animated chart.

  48. Reagan was a truly awful, jeez, whatever that thing was.

  49. Good video💯🍾🥂

  50. U.S.A is the biggest arms dealer in the world…

    For this reason U.S.A allacies and friends will not be pressured by Donald Trump into spending larger percentages of GRP on weapons.

  51. Same question, why did the US still selling their weapon to Israel when they still killing innocent Syrian kids and women…

  52. I am failing to see how this is a bad thing?

  53. 7:44 – I think the 'State with Iranian proxies' box has the wrong color.

  54. USA and Saudi Arabia are both dependant on eachother

  55. Thanks for telling me what to think about this issue at the end, Vox. I couldn't have done it without your help.

  56. Well well well, look at that. All of those bloodshed by The Saudi are on americans’ hand too.
    I understand that president business is tough and have many dark corners, but it’s really eye opening that a beloved president would sell the most weapons to Saudi Arabia.

  57. Why terrorist organization go after US/? Terrorist have the right to attack US and poison the waters.

  58. Usa without Saudi will fall for sure. US needs oil and saudi needs weapons to protect themselves. No saudi no oil for the US.

  59. We sold it to them. Remember Libya under Obama? Yemen?, Syria?

  60. Oil oil oil oil ….

  61. America Saudi and Israel are the terrorists of the world control everything and when you stand up against them you are targeted as a terrorist

  62. In 10 20 years oil will be history let's see what arabs will do clock is ticking

  63. Make a video based on UAE

  64. 911 in side job by CIA and mosad

  65. They want the Best hardware available and they have Billions of Dollars!

  66. nothing but gangsters

  67. and about the US's Tanker planes that are refueling the Saud fighter jets which are dropping their bombs in Yemen ?

  68. Aye yoooooo we got a burger
    with cheese on it

  69. These videos are SO great

  70. USA solving problems with more guns. Typical.

  71. SA: those toys look shiny.
    Uncle Sam: yes.

  72. Therefore are the U. S. and Saudi Arabia the countries of devil and terrorism. there are biggest shame of the whole humanity

  73. America is fueling CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY! 😠🔊

  74. Say whatever about Saudi Arabia. But it's the most current in middle east that making progressive reforms. While other loser "Arab wannabe" countries only want violence and disorder without any economic or political visions. Most Saudi citizens love and trust their goverment. They're doing something right, look they are not like Venezuela or the failed arab states in the region. Saudi arabia have legit reason to stop the courrpet Irainian government who lead people towards failed states situation and we already have real prove proven example for that iraq and syria also Lebanon and Palestine. They all losers and making zero progress to their own people unlike Saudi Arabia.

  75. Where is "PETRO DOLLAR "

  76. The main issue is the development of weapons. Is USA only capable of building weapons and war machines ? Of course if this is the case USA would definitely wish to find market and rich buyers or would even go to an extent to make a market for her weapons and war machines by promoting instability. So clearly the culprit is USA the manufacturer who knows how to build weapons and war machines and after that works hard to create there utility by sponsoring WARS.

  77. US Govt. Should be ashamed of themselves… Giving these desert Troglodytes weapons to destroy…

  78. LOL I am surprised SA hasn't bought a few minutemen 2 ICBMS 😛

  79. US the terrorist of the world.. fckn disgusting

  80. Que- Why Obama got nobel peace prize?

  81. Evil will turn on itself.
    The next generation will pay of it.
    ¡No weapon laws that make sense and School shootings, what to say.
    And what is war Crime? Ask U.S.

  82. US-UK-Saudi axis of Evil

  83. If not from the US, the Saudi gonna buy weapon from Rusia or China anyway. Unless all nations agree to stop selling weapons to Saudi, war crimes can’t be avoided. The Arab nations are hostile. Also, the sale of weapon balances the trade deficit with the Saudi’s oil.

  84. Half of the US gdp comes from arms selling….will it ever stop ? Obviously no !

  85. Sanford nc has. A company called bear creek arsenal…intersting….they make guns religiously

  86. Cue the opening speech of Lords of War and its ending interrogation scene.

  87. see lots of empire came and go…plz US understand this..someone is watching and if they gave you power plz use it in correct way or your time will be up soon !!!!

  88. The Egyptian President "Gamel Abdul Nasser" said in a speech on the international airways said and I quote"we will never accept you (Israelis), the Jews left this land BLACK and you have come back WHITE you will never be allowed to live in this land in peace". Why does the United Snakes of America persecute Black Americans? Could they be the GODS chosen Jewels?!

  89. السوق العالمي مفتوح للجميع
    الاسلحة الروسية والصينية
    ولتاخذ امريكا بالاعتبار ان النفط يباع بالدولار
    ان اردنا بيعة بالريال السعودي
    ستنهار العملة الامريكية بخلال عقد
    في الحقيقة نحن من يدعمكم لا انتم

  90. Just before USA started a war with Iraq, You forgot to mention the part that Saddam attacked Iran and USA backed Saddam by giving him weapons and intelligence…. pretty big deal you left out of your narrative.

  91. America, Israel biggest terrorist, muderers biggest evil countryies on the planet root of evil on planet Earth

  92. How did they end up with these weapons, Wow hard question to answer, maybe because they are buying them.

  93. 9:00 All Saudis know was this moment embarrassing 😂

  94. USA clearly took advantage of the foolishness of Arabs

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