How to stop the unstoppable? United States arms trade to Saudi Arabia & the impacts on the conflict in Yemen

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Kane, Colleen
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The ravages of war have ripped apart Yemen, and the United States has been heavily influential to the destruction. While there are multiple parties to this non-international armed conflict which started in 2015, the party in question is the Saudi-led Coalition which has had extensive military and weaponry support from the United States, in addition to other western countries. The U.S. is the largest supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia continues to be the world’s largest arms importer. Ongoing credible sources have claimed that the Saudi-led Coalition is disproportionately impacting the people of Yemen, with civilians and civilian objects being targeted, and such violations are said to amount to war crimes. Thousands of innocent lives have been lost, critical infrastructure has been destroyed, and Yemen is claimed to be the worst humanitarian crisis of today. Increasing evidence from credible bodies, such as the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen appointed by the Human Rights Council, or the Human Rights Watch, amongst other human rights bodies, have found a multitude of violations committed by the Saudi-led Coalition, and yet the United States has extensively continued supporting the Coalition with arms trade and logistical support. Violations committed by the Saudi-led Coalition have not been a single occurrence, but rather years of systematic targeting and destruction of civilians and non-military objects. Those who are granted protection under international humanitarian law and human rights law have been largely ignored in this war. The massive support from the United States to Saudi Arabia, and thus the Coalition, has provided the means for violations to continue. The United States’ domestic policies clearly outline the expectations and regulations of selling arms to another state and is also legally bound to international regulations of arms trade. While human rights and respect for international humanitarian law are outlined in both domestic and international policies, they are not respected in the arms trade transaction. The United States has national and international obligations to uphold and have failed to effectively do so by continuing arms sales with Saudi Arabia.
Second semester University: Ruhr-University Bochum
United States of America, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, armed conflict, war, arms trade, human rights violations, international humanitarian law, international obligations