Despite presenting itself as a force for good and peace in the Middle East, the United States sells at least five times as much weaponry to Saudi Arabia than aid it donates to Yemen. The State Department constantly portrays itself as a humanitarian superpower with the welfare of the Yemeni people as its highest priority, yet figures released from the United Nations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that since the war in Yemen began, the U.S. government has given $2.56 billion in aid to the country, but sold over $13 billion in high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, the leader of the coalition prosecuting a relentless onslaught against the country.
Figures like these are always debatable. What constitutes legitimate “aid” is a question everyone would answer differently. Furthermore, the $13 billion figure does not include the enormous weapons deal Saudi Arabia signed with Donald Trump in 2017, which will reportedly see the Kingdom purchase $350 billion over ten years.
SIPRI is skeptical of the size of these numbers, but if they prove to be correct, once the orders begin arriving, they will make the paltry aid donations seem like small change by comparison. Sales include all manner of military equipment, from radar and transport systems to F-15 fighter jets, TOW missiles, Abrams tanks, and Paladin howitzers.
While the Saudis pay in petrodollars, Yemenis pay in blood. Four years ago, the Saudi Air Force bombed a well-attended funeral in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. It was a bright, clear day. The Saudis used a “double tap” airstrike to ensure maximum carnage. 240 people were killed, and like with the 2018 Saudi attack on a school bus that killed 40 children, the bombs that did the damage were 500-pound (227 kilogram) MK 82’s, built and supplied by Lockheed Martin, America’s largest weapons contractor.
“Making billions from arms exports which fuel the conflict while providing a small fraction of that in aid to Yemen is both immoral and incoherent. The world’s wealthiest nations cannot continue to put profits above the Yemeni people,” said Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director.…