U.S. Arms Deal May Have High Humanitarian Costs
May 23, 2017

On 20 May the US signed a deal to sell $110 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, including precision-guided airdropped bombs and missiles. These weapons were blocked from sale last year by the Obama administration because of fears that they would be used to kill and injure more civilians in Yemen, where a Saudi-led military coalition has been waging a brutal war for more than two years.

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PHOTO SOURCE: U.S. AIR FORCE.

Despite overwhelming, credible information that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, some of which amount to war crimes, the Trump administration has agreed to resurrect these arms sales. This decision risks having disastrous consequences for the people of Yemen, bringing further death and devastation to a country where famine and cholera are the latest threats to families that have had their homes, hospitals, schools and markets repeatedly bombed. The Control Arms Coalition is appalled by this proposed sale, which shows a callous disregard for human rights and the desperate humanitarian suffering of the people of Yemen.

“Yemen is already on the brink of famine with 7 million people facing severe hunger and 18.8 million in need of aid,” said Scott Paul, Oxfam senior humanitarian policy advisor. “The sale the sale of precision-guided munitions will only further exacerbate the growing humanitarian crisis. The administration may not directly drop bombs in Yemen, but by providing Saudi Arabia with additional arms, the U.S. government will fuel and legitimize a conflict that, for the sake of the millions in need, must urgently be resolved.”
Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, says: “There is damning evidence that war crimes have been committed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The United States must immediately halt all arms transfers to members of the coalition for use in Yemen and push for an independent and effective investigation into the numerous violations documented in this forgotten war.