Yemen: Little clarity on US commitment to cut aid to Saudi-led coalition Saudi Arabia News

The Beadon administration has provided a number of details on its plans End US support for “offensive” operations The Saudi-led coalition and “relevant” arms sales in Yemen have simply told Al Jazeera that a review is underway.

U.S. President Joe Biden Feb. 4 Announcement After Houthi rebels in Yemen ousted Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in 2015 and seized large parts of the region, the region’s main ally, Riyadh, ended its offensive.

During Biden’s policy Pivot Observers have praised the end of the ongoing conflict, especially after former President Donald Trump’s approval of the Saudi government, leaving many questions unanswered about what Biden actually wants to change.

“Honestly, I’m concerned about this message [lack of clarity] “Saudi Arabia is sending,” said Hassan al-Tayyab, a Middle East lobbyist for the Fred’s Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a queer organization in the United States.

People gather at the site of a 2015 Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. [File: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

The war in Yemen, the siege by Riyadh and the Saudi airstrikes have led to bloody attacks on Yemenis, thousands of civilians have been killed and a humanitarian catastrophe has pushed 13.5 million people to the brink of starvation.

A quarter of the civilians killed in fighting over the past three years were children, according to Save the Children, both sides of the Saudi-led coalition and the Elephant Rebel. Accused of war crimes.

“I am optimistic that the time has come [for the Biden administration] To correct this and still make the right choices, “Al-Tayeb told Al Jazeera.” But in situations when a child can The Every 75 seconds, hours, days, weeks are important and we don’t have time to sit on our thumbs. “

Lawmakers demanded clarity

Last month, dozens of U.S. lawmakers, including Democratic members of Congress Peter Defazio, Debbie Dingle, and Roe Khanna, sent an open letter to Biden seeking clarification on the administration’s commitment to end its aggressive support for the coalition.

The United States, led by then-President Barack Obama, began providing “logical and intelligence support” to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in March 2015 – including the United Arab Emirates. Biden was then vice president of the United States.

In 2018, under international pressure, then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the United States would No more behavior Flight refueling for the Royal Saudi Air Force has been blamed for the deaths of thousands of civilians who have carried out attacks in Yemen, according to an independent monitoring agency called the Data Project in Yemen.

In their February 25 letter, U.S. legislators asked what the U.S. support was when the Biden administration took office. The administration’s “activities” are already over, and whether the United States will continue to provide “maintenance and spare parts” to the Saudi air force.

They also asked what “contribution” US activities had made to the ongoing Saudi blockade on Yemen, which rights observers have long identified as one of the most important. Driver About the humanitarian crisis, and if any of them continue. Proponents of the blockade say it prevents weapons from reaching Houthis.

“For nearly six years, the United States has supported and reduced the catastrophic Saudi / UAE-led military intervention in Yemen, although the coalition has a record of indiscriminate bombing of thousands of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and refugee camps.” Sewerage treatment plants, and markets, ”the MLA wrote.

They asked for an answer by March 25, but sources close to the situation said the White House had not yet responded.

Defensive support continues

Asked about plans to end “offensive” support for the coalition and what would happen to it, an email from the White House National Security Council (NSC) told Al Jazeera that the United States was still reviewing our policy.

The State Department, which monitors most U.S. arms transfers and export licenses, did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment on the ongoing review.

A spokesman for the NSC noted that the Biden administration was committed to “protecting Saudi Arabia, especially in light of the growing Houthi border attacks targeting Saudi Arabia’s civilian infrastructure.”

Everywhere Six years of war in YemenAccording to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Washington is the largest arms exporter in Riyadh, with exports increasing by 15 per cent by 2020 from 201 exports in 2011-15.

Between 2016 and 2020, Saudi Arabia received 799 percent of its arms imports from the United States.

Beadon administration in late January Transfer of Trump-era weapons postponed U.S. officials said the UAE and Saudi Arabia, including the deal for GBU-99 small-diameter bombs and appropriately-guided missiles, would be the standard review for any new administration.

U.S. lawmakers in their letter sought further clarification on how the administration would define offensive vs. defensive weapons and whether a few categories of weapons would be completely banned. They also asked whether naval equipment would be blocked “because of its possible role in supporting the de facto blockade” of Yemen.

The NSC statement did not address these questions, but a spokesman said the Biden administration had “taken action.” [its] Diplomacy to end the war in Yemen “, led by US Ambassador to Yemen Tim Lendrink.

The administration recently praised the decision by the Saudi-led coalition to allow four ships to dock at Hodeidah, a northern port controlled by the Hatiyas. These UN-approved ships were banned from docking for weeks at the beginning of the year, threatening population density, the supply of food and medicine to Houthi-controlled areas, and the ability to power hospitals.

Saudi Arabia too Recommended A ceasefire in late March, which some praised as a starting point, made a difference to the new US approach. Houthis, however, quickly dismissed the structure as one-sided.

An NSC spokesman, using the alternative spelling, said, “We are working closely with all parties to support a UN-led initiative to help Sanaa Airport and Hudaydah Port negotiate a full ceasefire and resume long-term peace talks,” the NSC spokesman said.

‘Tight Rope’

Andreas Craig, a professor of defense studies at King’s College London, said the Biden administration had “broken its promise to be tough on publicity.” [Saudi] Effective relations are being maintained with the Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. “

He told Al Jazeera that it was “unrealistic” for his current arms deal to be “blocked” to reassure Yemen that “no military support will help the offensive element of the war.”

“The idea of ​​banning the export of ‘offensive weapons’, which could be used in the war in Yemen, must be seen as a compromise to get through this tough US rope, but in reality it is not understandable,” Craig said.

Nevertheless, al-Tayyib said that if the United States made it clear which weapons would be affected by the end of the alliance’s offensive support, changes in the Biden administration’s policy could help increase international pressure to end the conflict – and Encourage other Saudi allies to end Their arms exports.

“I think so [the Biden administration] The complexity of the US and the end of diplomatic coverage of the Saudi-led war in Yemen could send a really strong message. “Not just through speech, but through real, practical action.”

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