The United States supports the Saudi-UAE campaign in Yemen. This has basically included providing logistical services and training, arms sales, and sharing intelligence for targeting. This support is important for Saudi Arabia and UAE to proceed with their air campaign that still targeting civilian areas and essential civilian infrastructure in violation of international law. Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East, and the war has worsened an already dire situation. It’s the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, and the US is complicit in extending the suffering. According to the UN, the country is now facing “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time”. The United States is accused of helping Saudi Arabia and the UAE committing war crimes and many atrocities in Yemen for years now. Trump’s administration has worsened the current situation in Yemen by stepping up the U.S. military’s role in the conflict and increasing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It has also been reported that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have transferred US weapons third parties, and used US weapons to gain the support of militias known to be human rights aggressors. Consequently, the Saudi-UAE campaign to reinstate political order only strengthens jihadists in Yemen, including Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked terrorists. Therefore, America should urgently exert its efforts to hold arms export to both states, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In its coalition that has been established in 2015 to intervene in the Yemeni war, Saudi Arabia undermines fundamental human rights, targets innocent people, awfully kills dissidents, leads the lives of millions to starvation and famine, and supports and strengthens terrorist groups. In 2011, it intensified its efforts with the UAE to squash the pro-democracy protest movement in Bahrain.
The UAE has been also accused of committing flagrant human rights violations. According to a report made by the United Nations-appointed Group of Eminent Experts, the UAE is accused of committing war crimes in Yemen. These atrocities include enforced disappearances, torture, and the use of child soldiers. Many of these violations have occurred in a network of clandestine prisons in Yemen where detainees are held in poor hygienic conditions and limited air ventilation. In addition, security officials have sexually, physically, and psychologically abused detainees through unlawful means, like sleep deprivation, electrocution of the genitals, chest, and armpits, beatings, and rape.
It is somehow disturbing to hear that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been committing grave human rights violations in Yemen using US-made weapons. With the help of America’s logistical support and training, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have launched deadly attacks in Yemen since March 2015. US military has provided significant aerial refueling for Saudi-UAE jets that also use US-made arms to launch devastating assaults on Yemen.
It is obvious and well known the United States is the largest arms supplier to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “The US has struck at least $68.2bn worth of deals for firearms, bombs, weapons systems, and military training with Saudi Arabia and the UAE since the beginning of their military intervention in Yemen – billions more than previously reported,” according to data collected by an American think tank.
Seemingly, the Saudi and the UAE coalition would be incapable of raging the war without US weapons, according to experts. In accordance with the estimate published in October 2019 by Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) the Yemeni war led to more than 100,000 casualties since 2015, including over 12,000 civilians killed in direct attacks.
Not only Saudi Arabia and the UAE commit crimes in Yemen using US arms, but recently they also have been accused of handing off American military equipment to third parties. A CNN investigation found that American-made armored vehicles as “MRAPs” sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were transferred to terrorist groups including al Qaeda-linked fighters, Iranian-backed rebels, and other militias, in violation of agreements with Washington, and these groups have used weapons against the recognized Yemeni government, that is internationally supported by America. By doing so, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are breaking the terms of arms sales with the US, according to the Department of Defense.
In regards to the human rights abuses occurring in Yemen, many countries take a firm stand. Some countries like, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Greece, and the Belgian region of Wallonia have halted weapons export to Saudi Arabia. Other countries like Germany have also imposed a six-month ban on exports of weapons to countries participating in Yemen’s civil war, while the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands have banned futures arms sales to Saudi Arabia led-collation. Austria has also called for imposing a European Union-wide arms embargo on the Saudi and UAE coalition for their atrocities committed in the Yemini bloody war. However, Trump has increased the U.S. military’s role in the conflict and doubles down arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Since April 2019, Trump has used his veto power four times to hold Congress ceasing US military support and halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies. Unfortunately, Congress could not get enough votes to revoke Trump’s vetoes.
Through their resolutions, the Senate and the House have expressed their concern about American responsibility in the abuses taking place in Yemen. Despite their efforts to end US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, President Trump has attempted to oppose and degrade Congressional approval by doubling down his support to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. To continue, Congress has never approved US military operations in Yemen, which were first assumed by former President Barack Obama and then proceeded by Trump.
“The conflict in Yemen is a horrific humanitarian crisis that challenges the conscience of the entire world. Yet the President has cynically chosen to contravene a bipartisan, bicameral vote of the Congress and perpetuate America’s shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis,” Pelosi said.
To conclude, the Saudi-UAE campaign in Yemen disserves U.S. interests: It extends and worsens a civil war that has escalated Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) presence there, needlessly emerged new enemies and hostility toward the United States, and degrade the U.S. standing as an example of unique liberal and democratic values. Thus, as a symbol of democracy at all times, the US government could assume responsibility by abstaining from exporting arms to Saudi Arabia and UAE. It should also persuade these states to liberalize the Middle East region and create peace there. It is essential that Congress work hard to halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and to take possible measures to prevent the US from being part of the Yemini bloody conflict. The United States should end all support for the Saudi-UAE military campaign, activate UN-led peace talks by persuading the Saudis to settle with the Houthis and create a settlement between the local Yemeni parties to the civil war.