US to sell Saudi Arabia billions more in bombs
... as civilian deaths in Yemen mount
Further demonstrating the willingness of the U.S. to reward and perpetuate the war crimes of its allies, the Trump administration is reportedly moving ahead with a multi-billion-dollar sale of so-called “smart bombs” to Saudi Arabia just weeks after the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen, killing more than 20 people.
First reported by The Intercept‘s Alex Emmons on Friday, the precise details of the deal—which also includes weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates—are not entirely unclear as it is in the preliminary stages, “but it is said to include tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon,” the company that helped produce weaponry used in the deadly wedding airstrike last month.
“The sale in question is a direct commercial transaction between Raytheon and the Gulf countries, which does not require the government to publicly announce the sale at the time of congressional notification,” Emmons reported. “That means it will be up to senators to decide how many of the details to make public.”
The reported weapons deal—which could be sent to Congress as early as next week—comes as some American lawmakers are increasingly calling attention to U.S. complicity in Saudi Arabia’s vicious, years-long assault on Yemen.
In March, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) led a failed legislative effort to bring an end to U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia.
“The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, with U.S. support, has been a humanitarian disaster,” Sanders said after his resolution was voted down with the help of 10 Democrats.
Responding to reports of the “smart bomb” sale on Friday, Win Without War policy director Kate Kizer called on Congress to intervene and prevent the sale from going through:
According to the United Nations, “April was the deadliest month for civilians in Yemen so far this year, with a sharp increase in casualties.”
“At least 236 civilians were killed and 238 injured in Yemen in April—a total of 474 civilian casualties, well over double the 180 civilian casualties documented in March this year,” the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights noted in a press briefing on Friday.
“Between 26 March 2015 and 10 May 2018, our office has documented a total of 16,432 civilian casualties—6,385 dead and 10,047 injured. The vast majority of these—10,185 civilian casualties—were as a result of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition.”