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Rasa News Agency - New Arms Sales to Saudis: Time to Spotlight US Missile Double Standards
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Service : > Commentary
Time : Saturday, March 24, 2018
News ID: 436974
 
New Arms Sales to Saudis: Time to Spotlight US Missile Double Standards
Rasa - The US State Department has announced $1 billion in missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the announcement can be used to condemn the US for its double standards regarding Iran’s missile defense program.

RNA - President Donald Trump made clear earlier in the week during his meeting with the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman that US arms sales to the Saudis are a top priority. The sales are going to include 6,600 TOW 2B missiles, at a cost of about $1 billion. The State Department justifies the sales as an attempt to help the Saudis build up their military to “maintain stability.” Far from it:

 

Saudi Arabia is the largest buyer of US arms, but sales have been increasingly criticized by the United Nations and human rights groups because of the massive number of civilians killed in the airstrikes against Yemen. Amnesty International says, “The irresponsible arms flows by the US, UK, France and other European countries to the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen has inflicted enormous harm to Yemeni civilians.”

 

Other human rights groups have likewise documented violations of International Law by the Saudi-led coalition: |Three years on, Yemen’s conflict shows no real signs of abating, and Saudis continue to inflict horrific suffering on the civilian population. Schools and hospitals lie in ruins, thousands have lost their lives and millions are displaced and in dire need of humanitarian aid.”

 

Indeed, there is extensive evidence that irresponsible arms flows to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have resulted in enormous harm to Yemeni civilians. But this has not deterred the Trump White House and other Western states from continuing transfers of billions of dollars' worth of new arms. That this makes a mockery of the global Arms Trade Treaty is beyond dispute. Saudi Arabia and its military allies - armed by the US - stand guilty of war crimes as well, and yet President Trump wants the world to believe that Iran’s missile defense program is a threat to humanity.

 

Here, the US is not just an innocent spectator to what’s going on in Yemen. It is playing a significant role in enabling the starvation and killing of civilians there. The US continues to provide Saudi Arabia with arms, even though there is compelling evidence that they have been used to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US government not only refuses to end weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and other members of the Saudi-led coalition, President Trump says they are a top priority.

 

Not only is this immoral and making the US complicit in the deaths and starvation of thousands of Yemeni civilians, but it also flouts International Law and International Humanitarian Law, which prohibit the US government from selling weapons to countries that might use them to commit war crimes. The law prohibits selling weapons to countries obstructing international humanitarian aid as well – something UN aid agencies have been complaining about for three years now as the Saudis refuses to allow aid into the besieged country.

 

The point in all this is that the US is not in a position to preach the world about the threat of Iranian missiles when itself continues to provide weapons for Saudi Arabia, and is complicit in war crimes and the starvation of millions of Yemeni people because of the blockade. It is time for the Trump administration to abide by International Law and stop supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s violations in Yemen.

 

According to Fars News Agancy, the State Department claims the new missiles will help the key Middle East ally defend itself against what it calls "malign Iranian influence" and contribute to counter-terrorism operations across the region. A claim never substantiated by any proof or evidence, and never backed up by independent world bodies. Iran has nothing to do with arming the Ansarullah forces in Yemen. They have what it takes to defend their country. If malign influence is any concern then why is Washington deaf to all the world bodies that not only blame Saudi Arabia, but also the US and Britain for the death of thousands of Yemenis. Why does Washington think that it is allowed to arm Saudi Arabia to kill defenseless people in Yemen, but the Yemenis are not entitled to defend themselves.

 

To sum up, the US government, in addition to replenishing Riyadh’s dwindling supply of precision-guided bombs, is the one giving the Saudis deadly missiles, bombs, howitzer artillery pieces, Blackhawk helicopters, and the antimissile system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, that we all know are being used to kill Yemeni people.

 

Any doubters should ask the UN and Human Rights Watch officials who attribute most of the heavy civilian toll to the air campaign waged by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies. UN officials and human rights groups accuse the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition of recklessly bombing hospitals, markets, schools and homes, in violation of International Law and the UN Charter. They never blame Iran for the atrocities in Yemen. They never say the Saudis should build up their military “to maintain stability” - the way President Trump would like to justify his new missiles sales.

 

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