American official criticizes US over Yemeni crisis, as it arms sales topped $55 billion in 2018
Republican Congressman Ted Yoho has said that the United States should address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen amid rising tensions with Saudi Arabia, which has launched a war against Yemen and Yemenis,while the US sold $55.6 billion worth of weapons to foreign governments in fiscal 2018, reaching a 33-percent increase in comparison to the previous year’s total.
“When you look at the refugees around the world, we’re at an all-time world high of worldwide refugees displaced from their countries. It’s over 70 million people. We haven’t seen these numbers ever before in our history. This is more than World War Two,” Yoho, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Hill.TV on Monday.
The comments came after UN said on Sunday that Yemen is facing the worst famine in 100 years, amid reports that Saudi jets are deliberately targeting the war-torn country’s food supply.
Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told Reuters on Tuesday that the US foreign military sales hit 55.6 billion dollars in the fiscal year ending September 30.
According to Reuters, the increase in foreign military sales came in part because the Trump administration rolled out a new “Buy American” plan in April that relaxed restrictions on sales while encouraging US officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the US weapons industry.
Hooper said the $55.6 billion figure represented signed letters of agreement for foreign military sales between the United States and allies.
The United States sold over $40 billion worth of weapons last year, maintaining its position as the world’s dominant arms supplier.
A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed in March that the US has increased its arms sales by 25 percent over the past five years.
It also said some half of US arms exports during that period have gone to the Middle East, and that Saudi Arabia registered a 225-percent rise in military purchases – almost all from the US and Europe.
In March 2015, the US -backed –Saudi-led coalition started a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. Three years and over 60,000 dead and injured Yemeni people and prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, the war has yielded little to that effect.
Despite the coalition claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
However, Saudi Arabia relies heavily on the US in its brutal war on Yemen. Washington has deployed a commando force on the Arab kingdom’s border with Yemen to help destroy arms belonging to Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. Washington has also provided logistical support and aerial refueling.