SHAFAQNA– The United States government has released a previously kept secret part of a package of information about US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which shows the kingdom will assemble parts of American bombs on its soil.
The revelation comes a month after the Trump administration declared an emergency to fast-track weapons sale to the kingdom. The emergency authorizes American weapons giant Raytheon Company to team up with the Saudis to build high-tech bomb parts in Saudi Arabia.
Raytheon Company is also allowed to ship 120,000 precision-guided bombs, mortars, anti-tank missiles and 50-caliber rifles to the Saudi-led coalition and support Saudi Arabia’s F-15 warplanes.
In addition, the two sides will assemble control systems, guidance electronics and circuit cards that are essential to Paveway smart bombs. It is believed that Paveway bombs specifically used by the Saudis in an airstrike on a funeral in the Yemeni capital Sana’a in October 2016 that left dozens of civilians dead. The attack forced the Obama administration to suspend the transfer of precision-guided bombs to the Saudi-led coalition.
Human Rights Watch has documented some 100 unlawful air raids in Yemen since 2015 when the Saudi-Emirati coalition began their war on the Arab country. The HRW says at least 26 children were killed in one strike that targeted a school bus in Sa’ada in August 2018. According to the HRW, many of those attacks amount to war crimes.
The US Congress blocked arms sales to the Saudi kingdom in May 2018 citing humanitarian grounds. The Congress is worried that the Saudis would reverse-engineer American weapons and used them in other wars, sell them to other parties or allow them to fall into the hands of terrorist groups.
American senators from both the Republican and the Democratic parties this week introduced nearly two dozen separate resolutions in a bid to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. According to the senators, few nations should be trusted less than Saudi Arabia which has proved to be a reckless regional pariah and it is concerning and irresponsible for the US government to continue providing Riyadh with arms.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives this week is going to grill a State Department official whose bureau issues licenses for arms exports.
A former US official has indicated that Riyadh will use the bombs in Yemen not for defending against Iran as the Trump administration officials claim.
The Washington-based group, Human Rights First, also criticized the Trump administration for siding with its favorite Middle Eastern authoritarian regimes without paying attention to who they kill or how they repress their own citizens.
Raytheon Company signed a deal with Saudi Arabian government in May 2017 during President Trump’s visit of the kingdom. The company’s representative has explained that they are still negotiating over details of their deal and assembling bomb parts with the Saudi side.
Sources: New York Times, Middle East Eye
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