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Arms Sales to U.S. Allies in Yemen Are Endangering American Lives

March 18, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Trump administration has made Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates the foundation of its anti-Iran strategy. As a
result, Washington, despite its avowed commitment to democracy, is
supporting two authoritarian absolute monarchies. Riyadh recently
distinguished itself by murdering and dismembering a journalistic
critic in its own consulate.

Worse, however, the Saudis and Emiratis are proving to be the
most disruptive, destabilizing forces in the Persian Gulf. Most
disastrously, in 2015 they intervened in Yemen, turning that
nation’s enduring internal strife into another front in the
region’s dangerous sectarian struggle.

Their brutality has been ostentatious, bombing urban and
civilian targets, including hospitals, markets, funerals,
apartments, and more, and killing tens of thousands of
non-combatants. The UAE also maintained detention facilities
utilizing torture, at which American personnel have been present,
though supposedly not involved in illegal behavior. Amnesty
International reported “detailed stories of detention at
gunpoint, torture with electric shocks, waterboarding, hanging from
the ceiling, sexual humiliation, prolonged solitary confinement,
squalid conditions, inadequate food and water.”

Washington’s policy in
Yemen is both hypocritical and dangerous.

Moreover, the “coalition” led by the UAE and Saudi
Arabia, has been aiding America’s adversaries. Al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is the most effective affiliate of the
organization which downed the twin towers. The rebel Houthis
dislike America but hate AQAP even more. However, the Saudi/Emirati
assault has diverted the Houthis’ attention from dealing with
America’s enemies. Chaos and conflict are ever the
terrorists’ friends.

Worse, the Emiratis/Saudis, and the nominally legitimate
government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi which they are
supporting, have been aiding, arming, and recruiting radical
jihadist groups, including AQAP. (Riyadh and Abu Dhabi also employ
members of the Sudanese Janjaweed militia, known for its
brutality.) Last year the Associated Press reported that the coalition paid and recruited AQAP
members and “cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying
some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with
weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash.” Moreover,
“Coalition-backed militias actively recruit al-Qaeda
militants, or those who were recently members, because
they’re considered exceptional fighters.”

Emirati money also went to the AQAP-related Abu Abbas brigade,
whose founder, Abu al-Abbas, was labeled a terrorist by Washington.
“The coalition is still supporting me,” declared
al-Abbas, even though his group launched a raid which freed Al
Qaeda fighters from a local security facility. Salafist Adnan
Rouzek runs a brutal force which operates under and is subsidized
by President Hadi. Rouzek’s top aide is Al Qaeda and has been
regularly seen with Al Qaeda officials; his group, explained AP, is
“one of the main recruiters of al-Qaeda fighters” in
the city of Taiz. “In one case, a tribal mediator …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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