How the West is fuelling the war on Yemen?

July 12, 2021 - 9:30

When Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen back in March 2015, Riyadh predicted that the ‘military intervention’ would take around three weeks to complete.

As the war raged on and expanded, American arms manufacturers rubbed their hands in satisfaction waiting eagerly by the telephone.

Daily airstrikes by America’s top ally in West Asia means  a requirement of weapons and everyone knows the last thing Saudi Arabia knows how to build is indigenous weapons. Saudi Arabia’s arms stockpile began to run dry and sure enough the calls were made.

Top American arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon clinched the most impressive contracts but many other companies also sealed agreements. The majority of these deals were made during the era of former U.S. President Donald Trump, remember the American economy was doing “so great” once during the Trump era to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of contracts with Riyadh, which also brought unemployment levels down in the United States. Saudi Arabia and its partner in crime, the United Arab Emirates became even more lucrative markets. The arms manufacturers made great profit and it was truly an exciting time for these firms. However, not so exciting for Yemeni civilians who were on the receiving end of these apparently ‘precision guided missiles’.

The bombs these companies were sending to the Saudis were being dropped by American made warplanes on vital Yemeni infrastructure in addition to Yemeni markets, hospitals, weddings, funerals, schools, even school buses packed with school kids were bombed; the list is endless. To make matters worse, the Saudis relied on the Americans on which targets to strike. The Pentagon set up a ‘command and control center’ (it was later revealed that the British used this as well) to tell the Saudis, which targets to stoke. Unless the Pentagon intentionally provided civilians targets to prolong the war, this is something that must be investigated, then American intelligence has serious issues.

In any case the bombing campaign was so indiscriminate that it sparked major alarm among International Organizations, the European Union and Human Rights Groups. Washington also provided logistical and diplomatic support to Riyadh as well as training for Saudi pilots. This is why Yemenis refer to the onslaught as the Saudi-American war against their country. According to one of the most prominent arms exports monitoring groups, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the U.S. was the largest supplier of arms and weaponry to Saudi Arabia during 2015 and 2019 accounting for 73 percent of its arms imports during the same period. The sale of weapons to Riyadh accounted for 25 per cent of the total arms sales of the U.S. during 2015 and 2019. Trump vetoed three Congress acts seeking to stop the immediate sale of weapons to the Saudis and the UAE. Trump was of the belief that any opposition to the sale of arms to these two Monarchies would damage Washington’s relations with them while at the same time weaken America’s status in the global arms trade. But remember, the war on Yemen, started during the Barack Obama era and continues today under the Joe Biden era. It is hard to imagine that all three administrations could not foresee a humanitarian disaster by supporting Riyadh. Yes, Biden says he will end American support for Saudi Arabia but the reality on the ground proves otherwise.

However, it was during the Trump era that Riyadh enjoyed increased support from Washington. Trump’s first trip abroad since taking office was to Riyadh, where Saudi officials did their best to seduce him. In Riyadh Trump announced around $110 billion dollars worth of arms to the Kingdom including dozens of F-15 warplanes, Apache attack helicopters, Patriot missile systems, hundreds of armored vehicles in addition to thousands of missiles and bombs. However, it is important to highlight here that these sales are widely believed to have already been approved by former President Obama.

This suggests no matter who is power at the White House, the deep state is the one calling the shots. Still, the infamous meeting between Trump and Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, at the Oval Office, where Trump displayed colorful placards in front of reporters, proudly highlighting American arms sales will almost certainly go down in history. 

Even after the gruesome murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which the CIA concluded was ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince himself did not stop Trump’s unwavering support for the ruling Saudi monarchy’s war. 

However, the U.S is not alone in selling arms to Saudi Arabia. 

The United Kingdom has sold tens of billions of pounds worth of weapons. London has also played a serious role in training Saudi military forces. This is while the UK portrays itself globally as an advocate of the International Arms Trade Treaty. According to the charity group, Oxfam, British arms to the Saudis include billions of pounds for the sale of Tornado and Typhoon warplanes, helicopters and drones as well as grenades, bombs and missiles. Oxfam says British arms exports to Saudi Arabia to be used in Yemen is a shame on the consciousness of the UK. France’s arms exports to Riyadh include billions of euros worth of weapons. According to SIPRI French arms sales sharply increased during the Saudi war on Yemen. Germany and Italy are among others to put profit over peace. 

Meanwhile, Canada broke its own record for selling military hardware to Saudi Arabia, which infamously included armoured vehicles, 31 large-calibre artillery systems and 152 heavy machine guns. This is despite the Canadian governments statements on human rights and global peace. 

From the viewpoint of international law, Saudi Arabia‘s military actions in Yemen constitutes war crimes and the use of Western weapons would naturally make western nations complicit in war crimes. In late 2019, a United Nations report sounded the alarm for the first time saying the U.S., the UK and France may be complicit in war crimes by arming and supporting Saudi Arabia that is using starvation as a war tactic in Yemen. 

Activists had hoped the UN report would end Western support for the Saudis, but this was not the case. There were only brief periods where UK court battles and dock workers refusing to upload weapon cargos temporarily halted the supply of arms, otherwise it was business as usual. 

Saudi Arabia has killed tens of thousands of women, children and defenceless people while preventing the delivery of international humanitarian aid to Yemen. To make matters worse, so far, there has been absolutely no accountability or punitive measures against the Saudis. 

But one thing is for sure, Saudi Arabia’s daily airstrikes on Yemen would not be occurring on a daily basis had it not been for a steady supply of weapons from the United States and other Western powers. 
Experts say Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen would have ended many years ago and many lives would have been saved if the West ended the export of arms to the Kingdom. 

It is an unfortunate state of affairs where the self proclaimed flag bearers of Human Rights have put profit in a lucrative yet very dangerous and deadly market over the lives of innocent civilians and their ongoing suffering in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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