News Release

Obama Meets with Saudis, U.S. Armed and Attacking Yemen

Untitled design (6) The British Independent reports: President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the White House has said. [The meeting was scheduled for 10:15 a.m. EDT.]

“Mr. Obama is expected to discuss tensions in the Middle East, in particular the trouble posed by Islamic State and potential ways to tackle it.

“Prince bin Salman, the son of King Salman, who has been described as the most dangerous man in the world, will join the President at his home as part of a visit to the United States aimed at improving relations with Washington and to put plans into motion to reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenues.”

See: “Obama, Heeding Close House Vote, Should Press Saudis to End Yemen War” by Robert Naiman. Also see “Kerry and Saudi prince pledge to fight extremism after Orlando shooting, while LGBT Saudis face execution,” by Ben Norton.

WILLIAM HARTUNG, williamhartung55@gmail.com@williamhartung
Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior adviser to the Security Assistance Monitor.

The New York Times recently published his piece “Obama Shouldn’t Trade Cluster Bombs for Saudi Arabia’s Friendship,” which states: “He should avoid doing what he did at Camp David last May, the last time he met with [the Gulf Cooperation Council]: promise more arms sales. Since Mr. Obama hosted that meeting, the United States has offered over $33 billion in weaponry to its Persian Gulf allies, with the bulk of it going to Saudi Arabia. The results have been deadly.

“The Saudi-American arms deals are a continuation of a booming business that has developed between Washington and Riyadh during the Obama years. In the first six years of the Obama administration, the United States entered into agreements to transfer nearly $50 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia, with tens of billions of dollars of additional offers in the pipeline. …

“Human Rights Watch has reported that two Saudi strikes on a market in the Yemeni village of Mastaba in mid-March killed at least 97 civilians, including 25 children. This was just one in a series of Saudi strikes on marketplaces, hospitals and other civilian targets, attacks that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have said may constitute war crimes. …

“Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, have introduced legislation that would stop transfers of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia until the kingdom focuses its efforts in Yemen on attacking terrorist organizations and takes ‘all feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.’ This is a good start.”