Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Calls to end arms sales to Saudi coalition after militants get weapons

Calls to end arms sales to Saudi coalition after militants get weapons

Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to Al Qaeda-linked fighters, Salafi militias and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the USA, according to a CNN report.

Corroborating an earlier report by Al Jazeera, CNN reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partner in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were using US-manufactured weapons "as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape".

"These reports are very troubling and the Trump administration must investigate further and work to prevent this from happening again", Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said at a hearing.

The Abu Abbas brigade, a militia group linked to the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), possesses US-made Oshkosh armoured vehicles, which they had paraded in a 2015 show of force through the city.

According to Reuters news reports, the committee voted 25 to 17 in favour of the war power resolution preventing the American military from offering any help to Saudis and other countries waging war in Yemen's civil war on Iranian backed Houthi rebels. However, it has sold and delivered over $6 billion in weapons to the UAE.

The US gave the arms to the Saudi-led coalition for the protracted ground war in Yemen.

The US State Department, meanwhile, said it was investigating the allegations. The department official said, "We are aware of these reports and seeking additional information".

Though, the US President Donald Trump's administration opposed many bills, praising its weapon sales as an important source of American jobs and calling the Saudis main regional partners.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the committee's ranking Republican, called the resolution an "ill-advised bill".

Last month, Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman from California who has been at the forefront of calls to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition, said the reintroduced bill has the backing of the current House leadership.

Abdel-Qader al-Murtada, a member of the Houthi delegation, told reporters that releasing all the detainees will not be possible and the two delegations are discussing the possibility of exchanging half of the prisoners on the lists.

Amnesty International calls on all states to stop supplying arms to all parties to the conflict in Yemen until there is no longer a substantial risk that such equipment would be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

An global rights group urged Western governments Wednesday to stop supplying weapons to parties to the conflict in Yemen after reports that they were ending up in the hands of militant groups.

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