Washington- The Pentagon has given the go-ahead for the sale of $7 billion worth of military aircraft and missiles to four Arab states, the bulk of which is to head to Saudi Arabia.
It announced the approval on Thursday of a $3.51-billion contract to sell 48 CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters with spare engines and machineguns to the kingdom.
Another deal envisages the transfer of $3.5-billion in 27 AH-64E Apache helicopter gunships and support equipment to the United Arab Emirates.
Washington and Riyadh maintain a controversially-close alliance, with the US turning a deaf ear to stop arms sales to the kingdom due to its tattered human rights record and its 2015-present bloodletting against Yemen.
Saudi Arabia initiated the bombing campaign in March 2015 to reinstall Yemens former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a dedicated Riyadh ally, who had resigned earlier and fled to the Saudi capital.
The offensive has killed thousands and displaced millions across the impoverished nation. The UAE has also been lending lavish support to the campaign at Riyadhs behest.
The US approved more than $20 billion in military sales to the kingdom in 2015 alone. Pentagon has even been providing advisory and other sorts of support to the bombardment.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch called for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia over its war on Yemen, saying the United States could be held accountable for the atrocities being perpetrated against war-stricken Yemenis.
Last week, the New York-based rights body had called for Washington to immediately halt arms sales to the Saudi regime and review the participation of US forces in Riyadhs unlawful air raids against Yemen.
HRW said Washington has been withholding clarification on reports that US forces were providing aerial refueling, tactical intelligence, or other support to the deadly campaign.
Also on the list of US arms recipients as per the recently-announced contracts are Qatar, which has requested eight C-17 military cargo jets and spare engines in a pair of contracts totaling $781 million, and Morocco, which is slated to take delivery of 1,200 TOW 2A anti-tank missiles for $108 million.
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