Saudi Arabia is the country most likely to be involved in a conflict in Yemen, a U.S. intelligence report says, and the Trump White House has made the country a major priority for arms sales.
The report, written by former FBI Director James Comey, notes that the Trump team’s first decision to get a Saudi-led coalition to take control of the country was to ask for $20bn in arms from the kingdom.
“The Saudis, and perhaps more importantly, the Qataris, are likely to get their hands on a large number of U.s. weapons in the coming years,” the report says.
The United States and the kingdom are the main suppliers of U,S.
weapons to the Saudi-owned Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), which is fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
Qatar has also been a major arms supplier to Saudi-allied groups fighting in Yemen.
Qatari and U.K. arms are crucial to the operation against Houthi forces, which the U.N. has said have used U.-made surface-to-air missiles, rocket launchers and anti-tank weapons.
The Saudis have denied arming Houthi fighters, and have accused the Houthis of committing war crimes, which Riyadh has dismissed.
The Trump administration has been keen to bolster its relationship with Qatar and other Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, that support the Houthi group.
It has also sought to secure arms deals with Qatar.
Qatas is home to some of the world’s poorest people, and many are wary of the growing influence of Qatar’s rulers, who support President Donald Trump.
The Saudi-backed alliance of armed groups, including the Huthi rebels, is led by former general Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is now in exile in Qatar.