American defense firm authorized to build bomb parts in Saudi Arabia
President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 20, 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
An emergency authorization in May from the Trump administration allowed the American defense firm Raytheon Company to work with Saudi Arabia to "build high-tech bomb parts" in the country, the New York Times reports.
Why it matters: Human rights groups have reported the use of these precision-guided bombs in airstrikes on civilians. Raytheon is now prepared to ship at least 120,000 precision-guided bombs to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as part of a larger arms package — and "some in Congress fear the surplus would let the countries continue fighting in Yemen long into the future," per the NYT.
Where it stands: Raytheon representatives say they are still negotiating specifics with the Saudi government, per the Times. Congressional review of the weapon sales was waived as a result of the Trump administration's emergency authorization; Congress has been "informally blocking" the sale since at least May of last year.
The bottom line: "Lawmakers ... were seeking assurances that the Saudis could prevent the American technology from falling into the wrong hands," per the NYT. A CNN exclusive investigation found that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners transferred the American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, Salafi militias and others involved in the Yemen war, violating agreements with the United States.
Go deeper ... Trump: The Saudis "don't know how to use" U.S. bombs