Saturday, April 6

Extent of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE not easy to spot. Here's why..

Excellent detective work. Fascinating report:

REVEALED: The full extent of US arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE
Commercial deals tracked by arms monitor prove the US is far more involved in the Yemen war than suspected
By Frank Andrews
April 4, 2019
Middle East Eye

The United States has struck at least $68.2bn worth of deals for firearms, bombs, weapons systems, and military training with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since the start of their war in Yemen – billions more than previously reported – according to data collected by an American think tank.
That colossal sum includes, for the first time, both commercial and governmental arms deals and indicates that US involvement in the disastrous war may be greater than suspected. In fact, the weapons expenditure could have funded the United Nations’s 2019 humanitarian appeal for Yemen – which totalled $4bn – 17 times over.
According to the data collected by arms trade watchdog Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) and reported here for the first time, American companies have made deals worth at least $14bn with the Emiratis and Saudis since March 2015, when the coalition intervened in the conflict.
Government sales tend to be for major systems, like combat aircraft, tanks, bombs, and ships, some of which are more likely than others to be used in Yemen – partly because it can take years to finalise such deals, which frequently grab headlines.
But it’s the smaller weapons like firearms and bombs sold in commercial sales that experts say are disproportionately likely to be used in the conflict and inflict significant damage.
William Hartung, director of the arms and security project at the Center for International Policy, a progressive think tank in Washington, DC, which houses SAM, said the commercial data shows the US footprint in Yemen is "dramatically understated” because commercial sales are “so rarely discussed, compared to big glitzy deals like the fighter planes”. 
SAM’s estimate was all but confirmed by a US state department official, speaking on background, who said the overall value of American weapons deals to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since March 2015 totalled about $67.4bn.
New details about the arms deals come amid a continued push in the US Congress to end Washington’s involvement in the war in Yemen, which has displaced millions and led to widespread disease and malnutrition.


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