Press TV – The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s main partner in a Riyadh-led coalition invading Yemen, has bought around $1.8 billion worth of American arms at an Abu Dhabi military exhibition.
Monday marked the second day of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (Idex), which is to last through Thursday.
During the day, the Emirates signed 5.73 billion dirham ($1.5 billion) worth of contracts with US arms giant Raytheon to buy its Patriot missile systems, said the exhibition’s spokesman General Mohammed Al Hassani, AFP reported.
A day earlier, it had signed a 1.3-billion-dirhams ($353-million) contract with the company for the systems.
Respectively, the Emirati military awarded 5.87 and 4.97 billion dirhams worth of contracts to international companies over the first two days of the show. Those include Eos Defense of Australia, which specializes in making electro-optic systems.
“The value of deals during the five-day event is likely to exceed the 19.17 billion dirhams reached in 2017,” Emirati daily The National reported, citing Idex organizers.
The coalition launched the war in March 2015 to restore Yemen’s former Saudi-backed officials.
The World Health Organization says some 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition launched the war, but rights groups put the death toll at five times higher.
Besides contributing most to the war among the many other Saudi allies that compose the coalition, the Emirates also backs militants based in southern Yemen, who have been campaigning to break away from the rest of the country.
The US has been generously providing arms support for the kingdom and its allies over the course of the war. It also lends the coalition logistical assistance, including bombing coordinates. A US commando force is, meanwhile, deployed near the Saudi-Yemeni border to seek and destroy the arms caches belonging to Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which defends the country against the invaders.
Despite the dire need for a ceasefire in the violence-scarred country, Major General David C. Hill, deputy commander of US Army Central, confirmed in remarks to AFP on Sunday that the US continues to “provide support to the coalition.”