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Trump replenishes Saudi arsenal by vetoing arms sale blocks

Data: SIPRI Arms Transfers Database; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump vetoed 3 bipartisan resolutions that would have blocked more than $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

Why it matters: These sales would "replenish part of the Saudi arsenal that lawmakers say has been used against civilians in Yemen’s civil war," per the Washington Post. Trump's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been one area of sustained bipartisan backlash, due in part to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi government and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The big picture: The U.S. is the world's top arms exporter, competing directly with Russia and increasingly China in a global market that's worth upwards of $89 billion annually. Saudi Arabia is currently the No. 1 buyer of U.S. weapons. Arms deals tie ethics to economics, and they can exacerbate geopolitical tensions in high-risk areas like Yemen and North Korea.