A package of US arms worth more than $67bn for Saudi Arabia accounts for the largest single component of this military build-up, providing a huge boost to the American defence industry.
The first phase of this agreement – soon to go before the US Congress for approval – is estimated at about $30bn.
Anthony Cordesman, from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that the US was aiming to achieve a “new post-Iraq war security structure that can secure the flow of energy exports to the global economy”.
The arms sales would “reinforce the level of regional deterrence and help reduce the size of forces the US must deploy in the region”.
The purchase of new weaponry comes at a time when many countries in the Middle East, home to two-thirds of the world’s proven oil reserves, are alarmed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.