Oil and arms are Saudi Arabia’s saving graces amid the fallout from Khashoggi’s death

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said earlier this month that U.S. arms sales jumped 33 percent in 2018 from the previous year with $55.6 billion worth of closed deals; over half that $55.6 billion was due to Saudi Arabia’s decision to buy 84 F-15 fighter jets, for $29 billion. That’s small fry compared to the 2017, when Trump and King Salman signed a near-$110 billion defense package.

No wonder then that Trump, despite calling Khashoggi’s death a “cover-up,” wants to tread carefully around Saudi Arabia to protect U.S. arms manufacturers and thousands of jobs. The same goes for major arms manufacturers in the U.K., France and Germany — although the latter has said its stopping arms exports to Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death, urging other European states to follow suit.

It’s unlikely its neighbors will heed the call, however, given the economic (albeit distasteful) boon provided by arms sales. President Trump summed up this feeling last Saturday, when he said cancelling arms orders to Saudi Arabia “hurts us far more than it hurts them.”

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Source : CNBC

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