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US missile defense sale to Saudis seen as effort to thwart Russia

The Donald Trump administration OK’d a $15 billion sale of anti-missile technology to Saudi Arabia after Riyadh moved to buy a rival Russian system.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia October 5, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1C4DF4B090

The Donald Trump administration’s approval of a long-delayed, $15 billion missile-defense sale to Saudi Arabia is widely seen as a way to thwart a rival Russian bid.

The State Department announced that it had approved the sale of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on Oct. 6, barely a day after the Saudis signed a preliminary deal for Russia’s S-400 system during King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s visit to Moscow. US experts say the Saudis would have great difficulty operating both.

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