US must probe if weapons went to Yemen militias, states general
The US must examine whether US-made military gear in Yemen is being transferred to unintended recipients, including Al-Qaeda and Iran-backed rebels, a top general said on 5 February 2019.
Gen Joseph Votel, who heads US Central Command covering the Middle East, expressed concern to senators about a CNN investigation that found weaponry and equipment provided by the US to Saudi Arabia and the UAE has ended up being used across war-torn Yemen by a number of militias.
‘We have to look more closely at the allegations in this particular situation to find out what happened,’ Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee. ‘We will have to examine that better.’
Recipients of US defence equipment must agree not to re-export or transfer that gear without first getting US authorisation. According to CNN, the Washington-backed, Saudi-led coalition that is fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen has transferred American-made weapons and military vehicles to Qaeda-linked fighters, hard-line Salafi militias and other groups.
The network showed footage of mine-resistant US-made military vehicles no longer in coalition custody and said US weapons could be ordered for purchase in a market.
‘We take allegations of misuse of US-origin defense equipment very seriously, and initiate investigations promptly upon receiving credible evidence,’ Pentagon spokesperson Johnny Michael said. Any investigation would ultimately be conducted by the US State Department, which said it is aware of the report and is seeking additional information.
‘While battlefield losses of equipment do occur in active conflict zones, we expect all recipients of US origin defense equipment to abide by their end-use obligations and not retransfer equipment without prior US government authorisation,’ a State Department spokesperson told AFP.
Yemen's rebels are mired in a war with government forces backed since 2015 by a Saudi-led coalition. The conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people at risk of starvation.
The Republican-controlled US Senate in December approved a largely symbolic resolution to end US military support for Riyadh's intervention in Yemen. Washington has also carried out a long-running drone war against Yemen's Al-Qaeda branch, which has taken advantage of the chaos in Yemen to strengthen its own operations, particularly in the country's south.
The Pentagon sees Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as the jihadist network's most dangerous branch, and has intensified its strikes against AQAP since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
In Iraq in 2014, as the national army collapsed in the face of an onslaught by the Islamic State group, much of the Iraqis' US-provided weaponry was captured by the jihadists and used in their rampage.
Editor-in-chief Richard Thomas and deputy editor Beth Maundrill discuss the highlights from IDEX 2019. On land, wheels have been stars of the show, from the ...
Dark clouds loomed over the 12th edition of Aero India, at the Yelahanka air force in Bengaluru, following the mid-air collision of two Surya Kiran aircraft ...
President Donald Trump signed an order on 19 February 2019 outlining his vision for a new ‘Space Force’ that could one day become a separate ...
The Comptroller & Auditor General’s (CAG) report on capital acquisitions in the Indian Air Force (IAF) was tabled in parliament on 13 February. It examined ...
The presidents of Burundi and Somalia on 19 February 2019 called for an urgent summit to discuss the contested withdrawal of 1,000 Burundian troops from ...
In 2008 the USMC Commandant Gen James Conway visited the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Marine Corps. He gave a pep talk along the lines ...