U.S. Sends Patriot Missiles to Saudi Arabia, Fulfilling Urgent Request
This past month, the Biden administration has transferred a significant number of Patriot antimissile interceptors to Saudi Arabia, reportedly fulfilling the country’s urgent request for a resupply amid tensions in the relationship. The transfers ensure that Saudi Arabia is supplied with defensive munitions necessary to fend off drone and missile attacks perpetrated by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels located in the neighboring country of Yemen. Since last year, the Saudi military has requested more of the Patriot interceptors, equipment that is designed to shoot down airborne weapons. The country’s supply of the defensive device was running dangerously low.
Since the Biden administration took office, US-Saudi relations have deteriorated over issues such as the White House’s decision to remove the Houthis from a list of designated terrorist groups. In addition, Mr. Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have run into disagreements. The request for interceptors has been a point of contention between the two countries, with Saudi expressing displeasure over what they interpreted as a lack of US support for their intervention in the Yemeni civil war. The US argued that the decision to send the interceptors had taken months due to high demand by other US allies.