To ease tensions, US sends antimissile interceptors to KSA

US sends antimissile interceptors to KSA.

Washingon: In a bid to ease off tension, the Biden administration has transferred a significant number of Patriot antimissile interceptors to Saudi Arabia, fulfilling an urgent request from the kingdom, according to international media.

Senior US officials said on Sunday that the weapons systems were sent to Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, which the kingdom had been requesting since late last year to fend off missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group.

However, the officials refrained from giving any hint about the number of interceptors sent to the kingdom, but said that the decision was in line with President Joe Biden’s promise that “America will have the backs of our friends in the region.”

The move comes as the Biden administration has increasingly sought to convince Riyadh to pump more crude oil to help alleviate soaring prices spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. To date, Saudi officials have resisted the appeal.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had maintained close ties with former US President Donald Trump, who avoided condemning MBS despite the US intelligence linking him to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

Relations between the longtime allies have become more fraught under the Biden administration, with the incoming president promising to take a stronger stance against human rights violators, ending “offensive support” for Saudi Arabia-led forces fighting against the Houthis in Yemen, and refusing to deal directly with MBS.

Riyadh has also voiced anger over the Biden administration’s decision to remove the Houthi movement from its list of “international terrorist organisations”, although Washington in recent months has mulled reversing the decision following a series of drone and missile attacks on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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