US trained, provided weapons to Saudi coalition in Yemen war: WashPost
Analysis and numbers were provided by both the newspaper and the Security Force Monitor at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute (SFM).
An article in the Washington Post exposes that the United States, despite repeatedly and consistently documenting human rights violations, would continue to provide weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Read more: Yemen, graveyard of US-Saudi bloody alliance
Clearly displaying a distorted moral compass, the article, written extensively, exposes how Washington supported the coalition which has been striking Yemeni civilians and infrastructure for over 7 years. The analysis and numbers were provided by both the newspaper and the Security Force Monitor at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute (SFM).
Although in 2021 the Biden administration announced the end of US military support of “offensive operations” conducted by the Saudi coalition, maintenance contracts operated by the US military and the US corporations, in addition to squadrons, remained to carry out offensive operations, as proposed by the Post’s analysis.
US support for the war on Yemen began during the Obama administration and continued into Biden’s.
The Post and the SFM reviewed 3,000 publicly available images, media reports, videos, and news releases that identified 19 fighter jet squadrons – half of which were Saudi and Emirati, which were supported by the US.
The United States, according to the analysis, “provided arms, training or maintenance support to the majority of the fighter jet squadrons in the campaign.” There were up to 94 US contracts awarded to individual squadrons belonging to the Saudi and the UAE squadrons since the beginning of the war.
The financial and military support for squadrons, according to the analysis, inherently entails support for offensive aircraft.
“For most coalition countries, there is no way for [America] to support their planes without supporting squadrons that may be linked to airstrikes that human rights groups say are apparent war crimes,” said Tony Wilson, the director of Security Force Monitor.
On the downside, sales announcements never revealed which specific squadrons were benefitting, but only types of planes or the equipment that were being sold.
“America’s alliances and partnerships are our greatest asset, and so we are committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our key partners in the Middle East,” said Army Major Rob Lodewick, a Pentagon spokesman.
Evidence provided in the report suggested that US forces conducted joint exercises with almost every squadron from Saudi Arabia.
Three UAE squadrons, according to videos, participated in joint exercises with US forces hosted at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in 2016 and 2019 – the Red Flag exercises.
Saudi Arabia has been purchasing, since 2010, F-15SA, which are American fighter jets. While the first one was sold to Riyadh in 2010 as part of a $29 billion deal, the last jet of this kind was delivered in 2020, in addition to dozens of other contracts.
In addition, a review of annual reports from the US State Department also shows the Defense and State Departments planned sales of F-15 training for Saudi pilots – and fighter jet training – between 2015 and 2020. The package was worth around $2 million.
An analysis of news, videos, and photos showed that at least 3 o 4 Saudi squadrons not only received American equipment but also participated in joint exercises and training with the US. One of them, at least, was conducted in the US.
Although Biden banned “offensive” support for the Saudi coalition, it has approved the sales of “defensive weapons.” One of the heavy sales was a $650 million package deal which included surface-to-air missiles sold to Riyadh and a boost to the Emirati missile defense system, worth $65 million.
The report included rich infographics worth the look at, depicting Washington’s hypocrisy in its moral compass and rhetoric.
“To have the US, over successive administrations, sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to governments that have carried out, over years, airstrikes on hospitals, markets, food production facilities, and prisons: [Those] attacks have killed thousands of civilians,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, director of the Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights Project at Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Institute. “It does not serve them well in the court of public opinion, or in the annals of history.”