United States lawmaker questions Washington's weapons shipments to Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

United States lawmaker questions Washington's weapons shipments to Saudi-led coalition in Yemen”

Saudi Arabia, and other countries within its coalition, allegedly gave fighters linked to al-Qaeda waging war in Yemen American-made weapons, which were also given to a Salafi militia headed by at least one member with ties to a Yemeni branch of ISIL.

In a story February 6 about Western arms supplied to the Yemen war, The Associated Press incorrectly cited Amnesty International researcher Patrick Wilcken as saying that American and British weapons had ended up in the hands of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

Corroborating an earlier report by Al Jazeera, CNN reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partner in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were using US-manufactured weapons "as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape". According to the U.S. Department of Defense, transferring military equipment to third parties breaks the terms of the Saudi-led coalition's arms deals with the U.S. Following the report, a U.S. defense official confirmed that an investigation into the issue was ongoing.

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.

"These reports are very troubling and the Trump administration must investigate further and work to prevent this from happening again", Engel, a Democratic Representative, said at Wednesday's hearing.

Addressing those potential war crimes, committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said, "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. However, it has sold and delivered over $6 billion in weapons to the UAE.

Saudi Arabia and its allies unleashed deadly military aggression against Yemen in March 2015, while receiving full logistic and intelligence support from America.

"It can no longer be business as usual".

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

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.

In December, the US Senate passed a resolution calling for an end to the US military support to the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni conflict.

Many Republican members on the committee criticized the way the resolution was crafted, saying the Democratic majority was trying to dictate foreign policy to the president in a conflict in which USA troops are not directly involved.

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