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Boeing secures cruise missile contracts with Saudi Arabia

A man covers his face as health workers fumigate a market amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

American aircraft-manufacturing giant Boeing has secured two military contracts to provide hundreds of cruise missiles to Saudi Arabia, a US ally that has been leading a brutal war on impoverished Yemen.

The US Department of Defense announced in a statement on Wednesday that Boeing had won two contracts worth over 2.6 billion dollars combined for the delivery of more than 1,000 air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles to Saudi Arabia.

The first contract is for the modernization of SLAM-ER cruise missiles as well as the delivery of 650 new missiles “in support of the government of Saudi Arabia,” the Pentagon said.

The second one was said to be a 650-million-dollar contract for the delivery of 467 new Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles to the Arab kingdom, Brazil, Qatar, and Thailand.

The Pentagon said the delivery would be completed by 2028.

In a separate statement, Boeing announced that the new contracts would ensure the continuation of the Harpoon program through 2026 and restart the SLAM-ER production line.

The US administration has time and again touted Saudi Arabia as an important regional partner.

The Saudi war on Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of people and caused near-famine conditions in the impoverished country, is under international criticism.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 to subdue a popular uprising against the former regime in the country, which had been allied to Riyadh.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have purchased billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom in their war on Yemen.

The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

The Saudi-led aggression against and an accompanying blockade of Yemen continue despite the coronavirus pandemic and the impoverished country’s urgent need for medical supplies.

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