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UAE Arming Militias in Yemen With Weapons From Western Countries - New Investigation
09 February 2019, 11:56 | Glen Norman
A US-made Oshkosh armored vehicle parading through the streets of Taiz Yemen in 2015
The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday he was troubled by a report that Saudi Arabia transferred weapons to extremist groups in Yemen and questioned whether Congress should consider more restrictions on weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition.
The weaponry has also ended up in the hands of Iranian-backed rebels, giving Tehran insight into some of America's most sensitive technology and possibly jeopardizing United States troops fighting in other areas.
As recounted by local military leaders and analysts to CNN, the USA -produced weapons were used "as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape". Engel, who hold the right of foreign weapons sales, asked: "Should Congress pursue greater restrictions on offensive weapons to the Saudi coalition?"
An open source investigation published by Amnesty International today highlights a growing danger in Yemen's conflict as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recklessly arms militias with a range of advanced weaponry.
The US state department said it was under the process of investigating the allegations. Other weapons used by UAE-allied militias in Hodeidah include Serbian-made Zastava MO2 Coyote machine guns and the Agrab armored-truck-mounted Singaporean 120mm mortar system - the UAE is the only country known to purchase this combined weapon system.
Trump has thrown his support behind the monarchy and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who reportedly ordered the assassination of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Starting under the Obama administration in 2015, the Pentagon has provided logistical, targeting and intelligence support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
Representative Michael McCaul, the panel's top Republican, called Khashoggi's murder "a major setback" in the U.S. -Saudi relationship and deplored civilian casualties in Yemen.
By handing off this military equipment to third parties, the Saudi-led coalition is breaking the terms of its arms sales with the U.S., according to the Department of Defence.
US President Donald Trump's administration has been widely criticised amid ongoing calls from politicians and human rights groups to end Washington's involvement in the devastating war.
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In January, the same organization warned that levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide will rise by a near-record amount in 2019. Those major disasters, plus other smaller-scale disasters, made 2018 the fourth-most costly year on-record.
"It can no longer be business as usual".
The US-Saudi war has killed thousands of civilians and also taken a heavy toll on the country's infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.
In December, a similar bill cleared the Senate in a 56-41 vote but was blocked by the House, which was then under the control of Republicans.
If Trump declined to sign the resolution, the measure would have to garner the two-thirds majority support in both the House and Senate needed to overcome a presidential veto.
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