The US Is Making Billions Being Warlords in Yemen

One of Biden’s promises during his presidential campaign was to immediately move to end all support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. In February 2021, Biden stood at a podium at the State Department and proclaimed that the war in Yemen must end. Biden underlined the humanitarian crisis as the key reason the United States withdrew support. An investigation (PDF) by the Government Accountability Office found that the United States is training the Saudi-led coalition, and the US has troops on the ground in Yemen. Biden confirmed that the United States has troops in Yemen in a letter to Congress in June last year. Biden lied to the American people when he claimed that the United States was withdrawing US support for the war in Yemen in 2021.

On the contrary, the United States is making billions of dollars from the war in Yemen as 200k have been killed from direct violence. Between 2015 and 2021, the United States sent 54.2 billion dollars in weapons and services to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to data acquired from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. In addition, the Department of Defense provided 644 million dollars for military training to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, almost entirely through the Foreign Military Sales program. The DoD uses acquisition and cross-servicing agreements to bill nations for logistical support and items ranging from flying hours, fuel, and bombs. Saudi Arabia paid the United States 157 million dollars in flying hours, and the UAE paid 104 million for flying hours since the GCC-led invention in Yemen’s civil war in 2015. The United States billed Saudi Arabia and the UAE for 319 million dollars in acquisitions and cross-servicing agreements for logistical support.

The United States sent 18.6 billion dollars in missiles, 6.2 billion in aircraft, 3.3 billion in ships, and 2.8 billion in military training to attack one of the poorest nations in the world. As the WikiLeaks Yemen Files prove, the United States was one the biggest supporters of the military in Yemen. Former president Saleh of Yemen was once considered a cornerstone in the War on Terror in the early 2000s and built the army to combat AQAP for many years in Yemen. The United States is well aware that the GCC-led coalition is not fighting an advanced military in Yemen from AQAP or the Houthis. Billions of dollars have been spent destroying Yemen, killing hundreds of thousands of people, but the Houthis still control Sanaa and AQAP is still active in Yemen. The UN Security Council approved a resolution to blockade Yemen every year since 2015 to prevent arms from flooding the conflict; however, the embargo has only succeeded in starving the Yemenis into famine.

On a February 9th phone call in 2022 with the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud president Biden assured him that the United States would continue to support the war in Yemen. The phone call came one year after Biden lied to the American people and announced that the US was withdrawing its support of the war in Yemen.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Defense Institute of International Legal Studies conducted training at the Saudi War College that focused on the law of armed conflict, including laws related to air-to-ground targeting, in May 2017, April 2018, June 2019, and May 2020. The DOD claims they are not responsible for civilian deaths because they provided the Saudis with training to avoid civilian casualties. Despite spending millions on preventing civilian deaths, 23,627 Saudi-led coalition air strikes since March 2015 have led to over 18,600 civilian casualties, according to the Yemen Data Project.

Joziah Thayer is a researcher with the Pursuance Project. He founded WEDA in 2014 to combat mainstream media narratives. He is also an antiwar activist and the online organizer behind #OpYemen.