US says nearly $110 billion worth of military deals inked with Kingdom

A file photo taken on January 1, 2013 shows jet fighters of the Saudi Royal air force performing during the graduation ceremony of the 83rd batch of King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA) students at the Riyadh military airport, in the Saudi capital. (AFP)
Updated 21 May 2017

US says nearly $110 billion worth of military deals inked with Kingdom

WASHINGTON: The US on Saturday announced military deals worth nearly $110 billion with Saudi Arabia, during a visit by President Donald Trump to Riyadh.
The move was billed as “a significant expansion of the more than seven-decade long security relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” according to a US State Department statement.
Trump and Secretary Tillerson attended a signing ceremony for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities to support Saudi Arabia’s defense needs.
“This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats,” the statement said.
“Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on US military forces.”
“This package demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”
The intended sales fall broadly into five categories: border security and counterterrorism, maritime and coastal security, air force modernization, air and missile defense, and cybersecurity and communications upgrades. Included are offers of extensive training and support to strengthen our partnership and the Saudi armed forces.
“Collectively, they present the opportunity to significantly augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capabilities to help deter regional threats and enhance its ability to protect its borders and contribute to coalition counterterrorism operations,” the statement said.

What’s in the deal
Border security and counterterrorism: Capabilities such as aerostats, tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and associated training that will enable Saudi Arabia to secure its borders against terrorist and other threats.
Maritime and coastal security: Capabilities that will enable Saudi Arabia to defend freedom of navigation and to deter and defend against maritime attacks or incursions. Systems include multi-mission surface combatant ships, helicopters, patrol boats, and associated weapons systems.
Air force modernization: Systems and training that will enable Saudi Arabia to maintain airborne surveillance, secure its airspace, and provide close air support with improved precision targeting capabilities and processes. Systems include transport, light close air support, intelligence-gathering aircraft, and continuing support for its existing platforms.
Air and missile defense: Systems such as Patriot and THAAD that will help Saudi Arabia protect itself and the region from missile or other airborne attacks.
Cybersecurity and communications: Equipment that will modernize Saudi Arabia’s command and control networks across its military to improve its overall cohesion and operational effectiveness.


Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

Updated 2 min 33 sec ago

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

  • People celebrating Eid alone or abroad find ways to stay positive

JEDDAH: For different reasons many people living in the Kingdom have found themselves alone for the holidays due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, their spirits dampened as they are forced to stay home alone, away from loved ones.

As the pandemic enters its third month in Saudi Arabia, flights have not yet resumed, strict social distancing and safety measures are still in place and curfews have been reimposed to curb the spread of the virus during the Eid holidays.

Many families are stranded in cities across the Kingdom, while Saudis studying and working abroad are either stuck or have chosen to spend summer where they are out of fear they will not be able to return and start their new semesters.

Some people were able to move in with their families and quarantine together, while others were deprived of that chance.

A number of Saudi nationals, including students, have been repatriated in the past couple of weeks while others are still waiting for their turn.

Yousef Al-Ayesh, a 21-year-old senior student at Arizona State University, has been at home since late March as a precautionary measure.

He said that Eid with his family in Jeddah was one event that everyone looked forward to all year long. Under normal circumstances the first three days of Eid would be filled with events — family dinners at night and beach excursions during the day. Although he would be sleep-deprived, he would still make the most of the little time he spent with his family due to his studies.

“With all that’s going on, it doesn’t even feel like it’s Eid,” he told Arab News. 

“It most probably would have been different if I was back in Saudi Arabia but I still wouldn’t have been able to celebrate it the same way. It’s not that bad here (in the US) now since restaurants have reopened and my friends and I have the outdoors to enjoy, have a barbecue, or just hang out. I would have felt worse if I was alone. Ramadan was already odd enough, I don’t think I would have been OK if it were the case without them.”

Although his family lives 8,000 miles away he did not feel alone as his group of friends decided to celebrate together, even without the perks of new clothes and eidiyas from aunts and uncles.

It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed

Al-Ayesh hoped to be repatriated to the Kingdom soon and spend some time with his family after his mandatory quarantine.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed, a 29-year-old expat working and living in Riyadh, said this year’s Eid was tough without his family.

Although he is used to living alone because of his job, Eid was the one occasion he looked forward to the most every year because he got to travel to Cairo and be with his family.

“My family moved from Jeddah to Cairo about four or five years ago and Eid is a significant occasion in the family, Eid Al-Fitr is significantly more special than Eid Al-Adha even,” he told Arab News. “I look forward to traveling to see them every year since moving to Riyadh but wasn’t able to with the lockdown, so we all got together on FaceTime video call and spent the whole day speaking to family members.”

Like many expats, Fareed has spent the past months at home and said it was hard for him and his family but that communication had made the ordeal slightly easier.

“It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way,” he added.