Saudi Arabia transferred American-made weapons to militants in Yemen

Frederick Owens
February 9, 2019

CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, its main partner in the coalition, have transferred us -made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters and other groups and that some of the weapons also made their way into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels, exposing sensitive technology to Iran.

The weapons have also made their way into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels battling the coalition for control of Yemen, exposing some of America's sensitive military technology to Tehran and potentially endangering the lives of U.S. troops in other conflict zones, the report based on an investigation said on Tuesday.

The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday he was troubled by a report that Saudi Arabia transferred weapons to extremist groups in Yemen and questioned whether Congress should consider more restrictions on weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition.

The channel has previously reported, citing documents provided by the Yemen-based human rights group Mwatana, that fragments of US-made bombs had been discovered at the sites of attacks in Yemen.

At a hearing, the US House of Representatives foreign affairs committee chairman Democratic Eliot Engel said, "These reports are very troubling and the Trump administration must investigate further and work to prevent this from happening again". "We can not look the other way when it comes to the recklessness with which the Saudi-led coalition has conducted its operations".

The US state department said it was under the process of investigating the allegations. "We are aware of these reports and seeking additional information", a department official said, adding that all such reports are taken seriously.

The weapons - including anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles, heat-seeking lasers and artillery - have been passed on, sold, stolen or abandoned in Yemen. The murder, which is believed to be politically motivated and allegedly ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, prompted bipartisan pressure from Congress to hold Saudi Arabi accountable despite President Trump's interest in maintaining an arms deal.

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Late last month, members of Congress announced they would re-introduce a bill requiring the Trump administration to stop providing logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition's war efforts in Yemen.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the committee's ranking Republican, called the resolution an "ill-advised bill".

The revelations come as lawmakers in Congress are considering a bipartisan resolution to withdraw USA support for the Saudi-backed forces in Yemen.

"It can no longer be business as usual".

Abdel-Qader al-Murtada, a member of the Houthi delegation, told reporters that releasing all the detainees will not be possible and the two delegations are discussing the possibility of exchanging half of the prisoners on the lists.

The resolution was sponsored by the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, who said last week the measure "would acknowledge the plain fact that Al-Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to our nation".

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