The United States is fast tracking the sale and delivery of arms to the Saudi Arabian-led coalition that has been bombing rebel Houthi positions in Yemen, government officials said Tuesday.
The United States will also step up the provision of intelligence to the coalition, which began airstrikes against the Shia Houthi rebels on March 25.
In this Saturday, April 4, 2015 file photo, Yemenis stand amid the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in a village near Sanaa, Yemen
© AP PHOTO/ HANI MOHAMMED
Saudi Airstrikes on Yemen School Leave at Least 6 Children Dead
“Saudi Arabia is sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force,” Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
“As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation centre.”
The announcement comes the same day as a report that at least six children were killed Tuesday in a Saudi airstrike that hit a school in central Yemen.
At the Pentagon, Colonel Steve Warren said the delivery of arms in part means expediting orders that had already been made.
“It’s a combination of pre-existing orders made by our partner nations and some new requirements as they expend munitions.”
The Pentagon is now unable to track the weapons it sent to Yemen since the government there was toppled.
© AP PHOTO/ HANI MOHAMMED
Pentagon Unable to Account for $500 Million in Military Aid to Yemen
Saudi Arabia has been the top recipient of US weapons exports under president Barack Obama with $46 billion in new agreements. Of all US weapons sales under Obama, the majority — 60% — have gone to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, according to a recent report by William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.
“In addition, over $500 million in US weaponry destined for Yemeni security forces has gone missing, and may have found its way to Houthi forces or even to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.,” Hartung explains. “The faction of the Yemeni army that has joined hands with the Houthi rebellion has ample US-supplied armaments as well. It’s hard to imagine a clearer example of the negative consequences of aggressive arms dealing than the current situation in Yemen.”
If we’re supporting Saudi assault on Yemen and it’s a Jihad does that make us Jihadists or just material supporters? https://twitter.com/JNovak_Yemen/status/584349180610486272 …