Warren Calls on DoD and State to Respond to Reports that American Military Weapons Have Been Transferred to Suspected Terrorists and Separatist Militias in Yemen
"These unauthorized diversions of American military hardware to armed groups ... undermine U.S. national security objectives in securing a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen, which has no military solution and remains one of the world's worst humanitarian crises."
Warren questions whether it is in U.S. national security interest to continue selling military hardware to Saudi Arabia and UAE
Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter this week to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterating her request for information regarding the reported transfer of American weapons and other military hardware from U.S. allies to suspected terrorists, armed militias, and other unauthorized third-party, non-state actors in Yemen.
In February 2019, after CNN first reported that the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have illegally transferred American-made military equipment to fighters in Yemen, Senator Warren wrote to the Departments of Defense and State asking a series of detailed questions about the United States' supervision of weapons sold to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other foreign governments. Other than a cursory acknowledgement from the State Department, Senator Warren has not received answers to those questions from either agency.
This week's letter follows CNN's latest reporting that "UAE-backed separatist forces turn(ed) their U.S.-made weaponry on the Yemeni government," the second report that military hardware has improperly landed in the hands of unauthorized third parties -- potentially in violation of the UAE's contract with the U.S. and in conflict with the core U.S. foreign policy goal of achieving a peaceful settlement that ends the conflict in Yemen. In response to this report, Senator Warren said, "(o)ne report of U.S. military equipment ending up in the hands of our enemies is troubling. Two reports is deeply disturbing."
This week, Senator Warren resubmitted questions from her February 2019 letter, posed additional questions about this latest report, and requested unclassified responses to her questions by November 15, 2019. Notably, the Senator's follow-up inquiry includes a demand for the quantity and dollar value of U.S.-made military hardware illegally diverted to armed groups in Yemen, the steps the Saudi and UAE governments have taken to remain eligible for future acquisitions of American military equipment, and how the unauthorized diversions of U.S. military hardware have affected the prospect of securing a political settlement in Yemen.
"The latest report underscores the need for concrete answers to my initial inquiry, highlights the importance of preventing unauthorized access, unauthorized transfers, or other violations of end-user agreements by foreign governments, and raises legitimate questions about whether it is in America's interest to continue selling arms and other military hardware to the Saudi and UAE governments," Senator Warren wrote to Secretaries Esper and Pompeo. "These unauthorized diversions of American military hardware to armed groups also undermine U.S. national security objectives in securing a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen, which has no military solution and remains one of the world's worst humanitarian crises."
Senator Warren has been an outspoken critic of U.S. support to the Saudi-led coalition's military operations in Yemen. She has rigorously questioned our military commanders about the United States' ability to track the outcomes of bombing missions carried out by U.S.-armed coalition warplanes, urged the United States to immediately end its involvement in the Yemen war, cosponsored bipartisan legislation to require that outcome, and voted multiple times to block the sales of U.S. missiles, bombs, and other weapons to Saudi Arabia.
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