The United States wants new commitments from Saudi Arabia to improve its targeting procedures to minimize civilian casualties in its part in Yemen war as it weighs resuming sales of precision-guided munitions to Riyadh, U.S. An announcement of the weapons sale had been anticipated last month, but objections by mostly Democratic lawmakers and human rights groups have complicated the matter, the U.S. officials and others close to the issue said.
“We want the Saudis to show that they are committed to use these things properly,” said one U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. At issue is the sale of about $390 million worth of guidance systems made by Raytheon Co that convert “dumb” gravity bombs into precision-guided munitions that are supposed to more accurately hit targets.
A group of U.S. senators introduced legislation on April 13 to set new conditions for U.S. military support for Riyadh. “The Saudis are important partners in the Middle East, but they have continued to disregard our advice when it comes to target selection and civilian protection,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement. “This is an unconditional sale. There are no conditions attached. The decision has been made to let the sale go through,” a second U.S. official said.