Is South Africa Selling Drones to Saudi Arabia?

American conservative news site the Washington Free Beacon reports that Saudi Arabia is buying an armed drone from South Africa to launch precision strikes against the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Citing a report published by the Paris-based newsletter Intelligence Online last month, the conservative site said state-owned South African company Denel Dynamics is secretly working with the Saudi government to develop drones into an armed combat system for the Saudi military. Engineers from Denel are currently in the kingdom as part of the secret program, the newsletter said. The Free Beacon quoted the newsletter as saying that Saudi Arabia turned to South Africa after the Obama administration declined to sell them drones and also because it could not procure drones from China, which is allied to their arch enemy Iran. American media reported last February that the US Central Intelligence Agency is using an airbase in southern Saudi Arabia to conduct drone assassinations in neighboring Yemen. Saudi Arabia has previously publicly denied any cooperation with the US to target al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Advertisements