Rights groups oppose US arms sale to UAE; demand end of its role in Yemen war 

Two different letters signed by various international organizations were issued on November 30. The signatories ask the US to end all military cooperation with the UAE and also to end its support to the war in Yemen

December 01, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
US arms sale to UAE
(Photo: Britta Pedersen/zb/dpa)

Human rights and anti-war groups have started pressing the incoming Joe Biden administration in the US to fulfill its promise of ending assistance to the war in Yemen. Several groups have also expressed opposition to the Trump administration’s decision to sell arms to the UAE. Two different letters were issued in this regard on November 30, Monday.

The first letter was organized by an international coalition of NGOs, with 29 signatory organizations from across the world. These include the Arms Control Association, Project for Middle East Democracy and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. The letter will be sent to the US Congress and the defense department. Congress can vote to block the weapons sale to the UAE which was notified by the outgoing Trump administration. The deal is worth USD 23 billion and includes weapons such as the F-35 fighter jets.

The letter states that “In Yemen, airstrikes by the Saudi- and Emirati-led Coalition are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties as well as widespread displacement, starvation, and illness brought about by the destruction of schools, hospitals, markets, and other essential infrastructure and services.” 

Read | Saudi-led war on Yemen completes five disastrous years

It also cites UAE’s violation of the UN arms embargo in Libya by allegedly providing arms to Khalifa Haftar’s forces. The signatories ask both Trump and president-elect Biden to end all military cooperation with the UAE, and also to end US support to the war in Yemen.

The Trump administration agreed to sell weapons to the UAE after the country, along with Bahrain, signed a US-sponsored “normalization deal” called the “Abraham accords” with Israel in September. According to media reports, the US and the UAE are looking to seal the deal for the weapons sale on December 2, which is the UAE’s National Day.

Trump has brushed aside objections to the US arms sales in the region and its war efforts in Yemen. Last year, he vetoed bills passed by the US congress objecting to the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and US support to the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war.  

In a parallel development, 80 advocacy groups issued a similar letter to president-elect Biden, urging him to act on his election promise of ending the US role in the war in Yemen as soon as he can, as a “monumental first achievement” of his administration. The letter adds that “with countless new deaths from war and starvation every single day, the people of Yemen can’t afford to wait.”

The letter is signed by organizations such as CODEPINK, Peace Action, Centre for International Policy, among others, and was published by HuffPost.  

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