The US Keeps Supplying the Saudi Regime with Arms to Kill in Yemen


To call Yemen war-torn is really putting it mildly. Yemen is an impoverished country, with a Saudi-led naval blockade threatening to starve millions. The one thing that Yemen has no shortage of, however, it’s weapons, with the US trying its best to keep its supplies of arms to the Saudi-led aggression and the Emirati forces to continue, despite the US illegal role in Yemen.

US arms sales are themselves at a record high during this war, in no small part because of purchases by the United Arab Emirates, and particularly by the Saudis, who are dropping US bombs on northern Yemen, killing civilians in a daily basis.

And while bombs and warplanes are the big dollar amount of sales, they also include large numbers of US-made automatic rifles and small arms ammunition. The UAE is particular bought $60 million in small arms in 2016 alone, both for their own direct involvement in Yemen and to arm their allied factions on the ground. The Saudis bought another $11 million.

Yemen isn’t a place to send weaponry that you want well-documented and carefully tracked, either. The Pentagon has confirmed they can’t account for about $500 million more in weapons that they’d given to the Hadi-backed Saudi government up to 2015.

So the Saudi and UAE-bought small arms are being sent to Yemen to replace those “lost” arms; however, these weapons didn’t just disappear. Rather, they’re just not in the hands of officials, or at least not in any above-board way. Some say that they are being sold on the black market by the Saudi-paid militia, who belong to the Saudi forces on the ground. Therefore, that’s virtually certain to be the fate of this new influx as well.

At the same time, US arms sales are ensuring that the Saudi and coalition warplanes never run out of bombs and missiles to drop, despite those airstrikes seemingly accomplishing nothing but killing and slaughtering a vast amount of civilians in Yemen.

A January UN report faulted the Saudis for soaring civilian deaths, and particularly the deaths of Yemeni children, saying that the efforts to prevent harm to civilians “remain largely ineffective.” The strikes continue to increase.

US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are a major cause of allowing them to continue the Yemen War. Saudis use US planes, US bombs, and are refueled by the US Air Force during this campaign. US culpability in the humanitarian disaster, and probable war crimes, are fueling growing concern.

This is particularly because Congress never authorized US military involvement in Yemen. The US Senate is soon to vote on a bill which would require an end to US military involvement in the war, as Congress never authorized the conflict. Those wishing to contact their senators to urge them to support SJ Res. 54 should call 1 (202) 899-8938.

The US War Powers Act requires that Congress authorize any US military operations of the sort being carried out in Yemen. Since 2015, the US has conducted mid-air refueling for Saudi warplanes, and committed warships to the naval blockade which is fueling starvation across Yemen.

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