A key reason for continued Western support of Saudi Arabia is the massive trade in weapons and military equipment. As Saudi has continued to expand itís military capabilities, it has used the new wealth generated by the florishing oil industry to buy Western made equipment and particpate in shared intelligence activities.
This has resulted in the creation of a vital source of revenue for the UK and the USA, key suppliers of weaponary to the Gulf Kingdom, with the trade being valued into the several billions of pounds. HM Revenue and Custom figures revealed that over 80 percent of UK arms exports went to Saudi Arabia, and the UK imported £900 million worth of oil. About £3.3 billion worth of arms sales have been sanctioned by the UK government since the beginning of the war in Yemen discussed to the left. The arms sales, whilst lucrative and a big win for the domestic economy, come with severe moral complications.
The UK government also argues that Saudi provides key intelligence information involved in counter-terrorism, and that a close relationship is therefore essential. Further to this, the government is in the midst of a global trade drive in the wake of the Brexit vote, and consequently may feel that it must continue to expand it’s outlook in the Gulf regardless.