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US maintains support of Saudi-led coalition in Yemen war even as NATO allies stop selling weapons

  • Germany and Norway have recently announced they would stop selling weapons to countries in the Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen. 
  • But the US told Business Insider that it has no intentions of halting weapons sales or support for the coalition. 
  • The war in Yemen has caused mass starvation and been dubbed “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Two of the US’ NATO allies have stopped selling weapons to the Saudi-led coalition waging war against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, even as the US confirms its support.

Germany announced last week that it would stop selling weapons to the coalition and Norway recently announced that it would stop selling weapons to the United Arab Emirates. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has been described as potentially the worst in 50 years.

The US has “no plans to curtail support for the coalition partners,” a Pentagon spokesman, Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, told Business Insider.

The US State Department did not respond to Business Insider’s repeated requests for comment after it said it would provide a statement.

Rankine-Galloway confirmed the US sells weapons and arms to the Saudi-led coalition countries, as well as provides “limited intelligence sharing” and aerial refueling for coalition jets.

Both former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump have given official US support to the coalition.

Yemen war children starvationBoys eat bread they collected from a garbage dump on the outskirts of the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, Yemen on January 7, 2018. Reuters

Since 2015, Yemen has been devastated by a war between the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Iranian-backed Houthis.

The Hadi government is supported by multiple countries in the Saudi Arabian-led coalition, but Saudi Arabia and UAE are the two main countries carrying out airstrikes in the wartorn country.

The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of conducting unlawful and indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen, as well as blocking food, fuel, and medicine into the country.

Images of emaciated Yemeni adults and children have abounded.  At least eight million people in Yemen are on the brink of famine and one million children are infected with cholera, according to Human Rights Watch.

The UN said in August 2016 that more than 10,000 people had been killed since the war began, but no updated death toll is currently available.

In December 2017, Saudi-led airstrikes killed 68 Yemeni civilians in one day. On Wednesday, dozens more were killed in coalition airstrikes. These are just two of many deadly strikes in the last two months.

Yemen children warA malnourished boy lies on a bed outside his family’s hut in al-Tuhaita district of the Red Sea province of Hodaida, Yemen. Reuters

Rankine-Galloway acknowledged reports of the Saudi-led coalition’s concerning tactics, but said that the US’ primary concern is Iran’s influence in Yemen.

The Iranian-backed Houthis have been accused of human rights abuses, such as torturing and “disappearing” children and adults, and more.

Rankine-Galloway noted that Trump was upset about the crisis in December 2017, calling on Saudi Arabia to open its blockade at the Houthi-controlled port of Hudaydah, which it did for 30 days.

The US has also provided training to the Saudi-led coalition to make their airstrikes more precise, Rankine-Galloway said.

The Yemen conflict will be three years old in March. With the recent assassination of the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the war has no end in sight.


Source : businessinsider