Saudi Arabia Is the Biggest Consumer of US Military Arms Exports

This article was written with the assistance of A.I. technology, and has been edited and fact-checked by Melly Alazraki.

The United States is the world’s largest arms exporter accounting for 40% of the global arms exports from 2018 to 2022, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. And Saudi Arabia is the biggest consumer of U.S. military arms exports, receiving 19% of all U.S. exports.

The United States has been supplying arms to Saudi Arabia for decades due to the Kingdom’s strategic importance in the Middle East. The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars on U.S. military equipment, including fighter jets, air defense missiles, and helicopters.

The close relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has come under scrutiny in recent years due to the Saudi government’s human rights record. For example, a U.N. report found that the Saudi-led coalition attacks in Yemen had resulted in thousands of child casualties. Congress then passed a resolution to end U.S. military support to the Saudi-led military campaign, but the Trump administration vetoed the resolution.

The 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi further soured relations between the two nations as a U.S. intelligence report directly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of orchestrating the killing. Still, the Biden administration resumed closer relations with the Kingdom following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the hope that it could help lower gas prices (if Saudi agrees to increase oil production) and stem Russian influence.

Despite criticism of the Saudi government, the U.S. continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

Click here to see the nations selling the most weapons and who their clients are.

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