RT News – 2018-12-15 02:03:17
Pentagon Corrects $331 Million ‘Accounting Error,’
Bills Saudis & UAE for Refueling Jets Bombing Yemen
(December 14, 2018) — The Pentagon is clawing back hundreds of millions of taxpayer-subsidized dollars it gifted to Saudi Arabia and the UAE over a three-year period, when it ‘accidentally’ refueled their aircraft for free during their war on Yemen.
US Central Command is “in the process of seeking reimbursement from” the two countries for $331 million in fuel and flight hours, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich. “Our partners have been individually notified about our intent to seek reimbursement, and have been given estimates as to how much they owe.”
The decision “underscores the need for strong oversight of the Department of Defense,” said Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), whose Senate Armed Services Committee investigation uncovered what the Pentagon called an “accounting error” earlier this month, not long after the US and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to end the midair refueling.
The Pentagon’s failure to conduct even the most perfunctory accounting is no surprise — the agency failed its first-ever audit last month, one it admits it did not expect to pass. They have a history of wasting tens of billions of dollars, after all, if not trillions.
But in this case, Congress had never been notified that the Pentagon had entered into an agreement to provide the expensive midair refueling services to the Saudi-led coalition. Pentagon lawyers claimed the agreement was provisional and had never been finalized.
The decision to go after the coalition for what it owes is just the latest sign the US-Saudi “special relationship” is on its last legs. While US officials were calling American support for the Saudi-backed coalition “necessary” a week ago, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that withdrawing such support would do “immense damage” to US interests, the Senate passed a resolution on Thursday to end US military aid to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
A second resolution, to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for allegedly ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, also passed the Senate.
The Saudi-led war on Yemen is immensely unpopular among those Americans who’ve heard of it, though it receives vanishingly little media coverage on mainstream US channels. An AP report last month revealed one in three drone strike deaths are civilians, including children, and the UN has been warning for months that half Yemen’s population is on the brink of starvation. Until now, though, Congress has stonewalled all bills geared at ending US military support of the war.
Pentagon Accounting ‘Error’: US Taxpayer Foots Fuel Bill for Saudi Jets Pounding Yemen
(December 11, 2018) — Pentagon accounting errors have led to the US taxpayer footing the bill for years of refueling for Saudi jets bombing Yemen. The oversight makes the US’ support for Riyadh’s air campaign even more intolerable, an analyst told RT.
The Pentagon has acknowledged that the Department of Defense “failed to charge the Saudi-led coalition adequately for fuel and refueling services” as Gulf state warplanes rained bombs on Yemen. The size of the “error” naturally compounded over the more than three years that the US offered its services, resulting in an unpaid invoice that likely totals tens of millions of dollars.
While the US halted its refueling support in mid-November as a result of the growing outcry over Saudi human rights abuses, the Pentagon’s glaring accounting screw-up is par for the course, investigative journalist David Lindorff told RT.
Here’s this huge amount of money being spent on fueling these Saudi jets bombing Yemen. And it’s bad enough they’re doing it, but then they’re not charging the Saudis — who have endless money.
Lindorff claimed that the Pentagon’s bookkeeping is “frequently just being made up,” adding that the so-called error was just another one of the department’s “accounting gimmicks.”
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