ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Block Bomb Sales to War Criminals in Yemen

June 1st, 2018 - by admin

Win Without War & Alex Emmons / The Intercept & Al Jazeera – 2018-06-01 20:29:00

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress:
Block Bombs to War Criminals in Yemen

Win Without War

(June 1, 2018) — The heartbreaking humanitarian crisis in Yemen fueled by our tax dollars is taking a horrific turn for the worse.

Already, the Saudi-led coalition has driven 8 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation and let loose the worst cholera epidemic in history — all with direct US support.

Now, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates want to launch a devastating military offensive at the port city of Hodeidah — cutting off vital food and medical supplies and driving a spike in starvation and disease for millions. [1]

Instead of demanding Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain stop this brutal offensive and negotiate peace, Trump wants to sell them $2 billion in more bombs for Yemen. [2]

The good news is: Congress has a chance to stop it. By law, Trump has to give Congress a 30-day window to intervene and vote on blocking the weapons sale.

But frankly, Congress has a history of stuffing their fingers in their ears when it comes to mega-weapons sales like these. So we’ve got to hold Congress accountable and make sure they can’t ignore this chance to help alleviate the suffering in Yemen.

ACTION: Tell Congress:
Don’t Sell Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain
$2 Billion in Bombs to Starve Yemen

Sign Petition Here

(June 1, 2018) — My heart is breaking as I read the news of panic and fear in Hodeidah. And my blood boils thinking about how our own government makes this brutal war in Yemen possible. The US military is literally refueling Saudi coalition planes in midair as they drop US-sold bombs on weddings, hospitals, and schools.

And now, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain could get $2 billion more weapons to carry out their brutal campaign — along with the clear message that the United States will let them off the hook for their inhumane use of starvation as a weapon of war.

But here’s what gives me hope: Every single time we force a vote on Yemen, we get closer to ending America’s participation in this brutal war for good.

Last year, we turned an under-the-radar arms sale to Saudi Arabia into a massive fight that brought America’s role in the war in Yemen out of the shadows. And earlier this year, we won an unprecedented vote from 44 Senators sending the resounding message that American military aid to the war in Yemen is unconstitutional and must end, now.

We’ve got a clear path to making sure Congress votes to block these mega-arms sales as soon as the official countdown windows start. And that means we need to ramp up pressure starting now.

ACTION: Please, add your name to demand Congress stop fueling the horrific suffering in Yemen and block Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain.

Against all odds, our movement of activists across the United States and across the world has built momentum to end the US role in the brutal war in Yemen.

[1] Washington Post, “The world’s worst humanitarian crisis could get even worse”

[2] The Intercept, “US Moves Forward with Multibillion-dollar “Smart Bomb” Sale to Saudi Arabia and UAE Despite Civilian Deaths in Yemen”; Al-Jazeera, “US must reject $1bn arms sales to Bahrain: HRW”

Alex Emmons / The Intercept

(May 11 2018) — Last month, warplanes belonging to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen repeatedly bombed a wedding party in the northern part of the country, killing more than 20 people, including the bride, and injuring dozens of others. In the days that followed, local media published a photograph of a bomb fragment with a serial number tying it to the US-based weapons manufacturer Raytheon.

Now the State Department is taking preliminary steps toward a massive, multibillion-dollar sale of similar weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three congressional aides, a State Department official, and two other people familiar with the sales told The Intercept.

The State Department has yet to announce the exact details and dollar value of the package, but it is said to include tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon, the same company that was involved in producing the weapons used in last month’s strike.

Reuters reported in November that Saudi Arabia had agreed to buy $7 billion in precision-guided weapons from US-based companies Raytheon and Boeing. Raytheon was “courting lawmakers and the State Department to allow it to sell 60,000 precision-guided munitions to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” according to the New York Times.

The State Department has briefed staff on the House and Senate Foreign Relations committees about the sale, but has yet to release details of the package to members of the committees, according to three aides who were not authorized to speak on the record. Once the chair and ranking member of the committees give the nod, the State Department can formally notify Congress about the sale, which could happen as early as next week.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department reviews potential arms sales to make sure they align with US foreign policy goals and decides whether to issue export licenses. It then notifies Congress about sufficiently large sales, giving Congress a 30-day window to review and potentially block them.

The sale in question is a direct commercial transaction between Raytheon and the Gulf countries, which does not require the government to publicly announce the sale at the time of congressional notification. That means it will be up to senators to decide how many of the details to make public.

The sale is likely to face stiff opposition in the Senate, where members have grown increasingly frustrated with the US role in the devastating conflict in Yemen. Last June, the Senate almost rejected a similar sale of precision-guided weapons, but ultimately approved it by a narrow margin.

A State Department spokesperson and a Raytheon spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have led a military intervention in Yemen aimed at restoring the former Saudi-backed president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Hadi was deposed after an Iran-linked rebel group commonly known as the Houthis overran the capital in 2014.

Rights groups have documented violations by all sides, but critics have singled out the Saudi blockade as the largest driving force behind the humanitarian crisis. The coalition’s blockade has left 18 million people — roughly two-thirds of the country’s population — in need of humanitarian assistance. The crisis has been exacerbated by coalition airstrikes, which have targeted food sources, water infrastructure, markets, and even schools and hospitals.

The munitions in the forthcoming sale are precisely the kind that rights groups have documented in these bombings. The US has been a silent partner to the intervention since the beginning, refueling planes, providing weapons, and targeting intelligence.

Kristine Beckerle, a Yemen researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that her organization has documented a number of strikes in which coalition planes used US-produced, precision-guided munitions to strike civilian targets.

“The Trump administration has consistently prioritized selling Saudi Arabia weapons over calling the coalition out for war crimes, despite US arms being used repeatedly in unlawful attacks — including the type of weapon at issue in this sale,” said Beckerle. “Congress should see this as a chance to finally make clear that some members of the US government are no longer willing to reward Saudi abuses with more arms, nor risk US complicity, as the coalition continues to bomb weddings and homes to kill and maim Yemeni civilians.”

A spokesperson for the coalition told Reuters that it would investigate reports of civilian deaths in the wedding bombing, but human rights advocates have routinely criticizedthe standards of such investigations.

The coalition has used these weapons against civilians so many times that in December 2016, a month before Trump was inaugurated, Barack Obama held up a sale of precision-guided weapons over “systemic, endemic” problems with their targeting. That sale went forward after Trump was inaugurated.

US Must Reject $1 Billion Arms Sales to Bahrain: HRW
Rights group denounces plans to sell
weapons to Gulf island nation citing its
‘dismal record on human rights’.

Al Jazeera

(May 24, 2018) — The United States must reject two planned arms sales totalling nearly $1bn to Bahrain in light of the Gulf country’s “dismal record on human rights”, a rights group said on Thursday.

The US approved a possible sale to Bahrainof 3,000 bomb bodies worth an estimated $45m last week. In April, the Department of State approved a possible sale of attack helicopters worth an estimated $911m.

“These two weapons sales make clear that the Trump administration intends nothing short of a free pass on human rights for Bahrain,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

A close US and British ally, Sunni Muslim-ruled Bahrain has cracked down on the opposition, hailing mostly from the Shia Muslim majority, since it crushed pro-democracy demonstrations they led in 2011.

Rights groups have accused authorities of seeking to stamp out dissent.

Sharpened Crackdown
The government says the opposition is linked to fighters, backed by their regional enemy Iran, who have carried out years of deadly bombing and shooting attacks on security forces.

“In the past year, Bahrain has sharpened its crackdown on activists, lawyers, and journalists,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“It has arbitrarily revoked a record number of citizenships of nationals, carried out unfair trials of civilians in military courts, and harassed, intimidated, imprisoned, and prosecuted rights defenders and their family members.”

Last week, a court in Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 115 people and gave 53 of them life sentences on “terrorism” charges in one of the most severe rulings yet in the Gulf island kingdom.

Bahrain is also a member of the US-backed Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebels took control over much of the country.

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