The United States has announced they will be canceling– or at least holding off– on an expected arms sale to Saudi Arabia due to the high number of civilian casualties in Yemen. However, military aid in other areas will continue flowing to Riyadh. Other Gulf allies complicit in the Saudi-led coalition will continue to receive military aid as well.
On December 8th, the U.S. Defense Department announced five major upcoming weapon deals including sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. If completed, the deals were expected to total a whopping $7.9 billion. These five are on top of the sales announced in November to Qatar and Kuwait. Well now Washington appears to be backing-out of the Saudi part of the deal– but not entirely.
A Reuters exclusive reported today that the United States would be halting some air dropped munitions destined for Saudi Arabia including precision-guided munitions. Instead, Washington has decided to focus on beefing-up security along the Saudi-Yemeni border and intelligence sharing. “It’s not a matter of how smart or dumb the bombs are, it’s that they’re not picking the right targets. The case in point … is the one on the funeral,” an official said.
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Although the topic doesn’t get the media attention it deserves, it’s no secret that Saudi-led airstrikes frequently target non-military civilian areas such as funerals, hospitals, and agricultural land– with U.S. and U.K.-supplied weapons. But the violence doesn’t only come from the skies as a new report from Amnesty International shows that Saudi-backed forces on the ground are also terrorizing doctors, hospitals, and patients in the city of Ta’iz.
Doctors and staff stated that harassment and threats from the Saudi-backed coalition have been commonplace inside hospitals over at least the past six months. Pro-Hadi forces terrorize and intimidate hospital staff by forcing them at gun point to abandon treating Houthi fighters for life threatening injuries and instead treat Pro-Hadi Saudi-backed fighters for minor injuries such as broken legs. President Hadi currently lives in hiding in Saudi Arabia. The terrorism has prompted at least three hospitals to shut down. “According to eyewitnesses three armed men stormed an office at the hospital and threatened to kill medical staff if it was not shut down immediately. They also tried to drag the two surviving Huthi fighters – one of whom is a minor- out of the hospital’s intensive care and recovery units, but were prevented by medical staff. The third Huthi fighter had died while receiving treatment,” the report states describing an incident from last week.
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