U.S. weapons sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE end up in al-Quaeda’s possession
American made weapons and other sensitive military technology has made its way into the hands of al-Quaeda and some of the Iranian-backed rebels who are currently fighting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to new reports by CNN. It appears Saudi Arabia and the UAE have used the American weapons to purchase loyalty, militias, and influence over the region. The Department of Defense says this use of military equipment constitutes breaking the terms of the arms sales, and it is currently reviewing the situation.
Prior reports have uncovered that American made weapons have been used in attacks by the Saudi coalition that wound up killing children in Yemen civil war. Congress is now considering whether they want to force an end to the Trump administration’s alliance with the Saudis, and there was already pressure to end the arms deals with the government after the Jamal Khashoggi killing.
The country has been in a state of chaos following the 2015 launch of a Riyadh coalition to combat the Houthi rebels who are supported by the government of Iran. This wound up splitting the country in two, making tracking who has which weapons incredibly difficult.
The Department of Defense is now trying to get out in front of the mess by denying that the Saudis have been authorized to “re-transfer equipment.” Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael told CNN, “The United States has not authorized the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates to re-transfer any equipment to parties inside Yemen… The US government cannot comment on any pending investigations of claims of end-use violations of defense articles and services transferred to our allies and partners.”
Meanwhile, the Saudis and the UAE are denying any transferring of American equipment, and a senior UAE official claims that the weapons are still in the “collective possession” of the coalition. What is certain, however, is that as long as American weapons are circulating in the region, the consequences will continue to be deadly for Yemeni citizens, particularly children, who continue to die of malnourishment due to the actions of the Saudis and their coalition partners.