Weapon purchases from US companies by foreign countries are done either through direct commercial sales, negotiated between a government and a company; or, foreign military sales, in which a foreign government works with the Pentagon on a potential deal.
The State Department said on Thursday that combined weapon sales from American manufacturers for fiscal 2018 were up 13 percent over fiscal 2017 figures. The largest US arms manufacturers include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp. It is said that the increase in arms sales was a result of looser government restrictions coupled with high-level efforts to close deals.
Despite due concerns by human rights and arms control advocates, US President Donald Trump helped the increase in arms sales by promoting the idea that “economic security is national security.”
The United States is already dominant in the global weapons trade, being the biggest arms merchant in the world since the late 1990s.
The biggest past, present, and possibly future international customer of US-made weapons and military equipment has been Saudi Arabia. In 2017, the Riyadh’s rulers bought $18 billion worth of weapons – mainly bombs and missiles used against innocent Yemeni civilians including women and children — from the US.
The US arms sales to Riyadh comes despite international entities urging Washington to ban all sales of weapons to a Saudi Arabia for launching its deadly war on the Yemeni nation since 2015.
Back in 2016, the European Parliament had passed another resolution through which it had demanded the imposition of an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia as long as it spearheaded the war on Yemen.
Trump, who has described Saudi Arabia as “a great ally of ours”, has totally dismissed the idea of suspending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.