U.S. President Barack Obama has offered a record US$115 billion in arms weapon, military equipment and training to Saudi Arabia, according to a report from the Center for International Policy.
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While the U.S. continues their decades-long support of Saudi Arabia, internationally Riyadh has been condemned for its involvement in the Yemen conflict and its human rights record.
The report, due to be released publicly today, said that since Obama started his presidency in 2009, the arms offers were made in 42 separate deals including small arms, ammunition, tanks, missiles and ships.
It did not mention how many deals were accepted by Saudi Arabia, with the majority of equipment not being delivered. The deal amounts to biggest deal to the Saudi’s of any U.S. administration.
Saudi Arabia has been involved in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which the U.N. estimates has killed over 10,000 people, with the majority of victims perishing in Saudi-led bombings. Almost 4,000 civilians were estimated to have been killed. The conflict has also displaced 3 million Yemenis have been displaced, forcing 200,000 to flee abroad.
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A joint letter signed by 64 members of Congress called for a delay in a controversial tank deal and called “the actions of the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen are as reprehensible as they are illegal. The multiple, repeated airstrikes on civilians look like war crimes.”
U.S.-based activist group CODE PINK, have been continually protesting U.S.-funded wars and the killing of civilians in the Yemeni conflict. Protesters in Washington, D.C. painted their hands red to highlight the Obama administration's involvement in the conflict and called for an end to funding the conflict.
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The Control Arms Coalition said that the U.K., France and the United States were violating the 2014 Arms Trade treaty, which bans exporting weapons to areas that fuel human rights violations and war crimes. The Saudi-led bombing is also believed to be using U.S. cluster munitions, which 119 countries have signed a treaty against their use. The United States and Saudi Arabia have not signed the treaty.
Saudi Arabia’s middle eastern allies – along with the support of the United States, the U.K., Turkey, China and France – first became involved in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015. The Saudis are backing Yemeni loyalists supporting the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The loyalists are fighting against Houthi forces, who are supported by Iran.
Human rights groups have called for Saudi monarchy's suspension from the U.N. Human Rights Council until Saudi-backed forces stop their killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict. Advocates have also raised concerns Saudi beheadings, executions, the detention of activists as well Saudi opposition to international LGBTI rights and protections.