(Photo credit: SPA)
An investigation by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined that the state and defense departments have failed to assess both civilian deaths during the Saudi-led war in Yemen as well as the role US weapons have played in this catastrophe.
This was according to an internal government report made available to the New York Times (NYT), and which was commissioned by Congress as part of budget legislation.
In particular, the report highlights that the most deadly attacks carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen were in the use of combat jets and munitions supplied and maintained by US companies, with the approval of the State Department and the Pentagon.
Since 2015, Yemen has been mired in a brutal war after Saudi Arabia – with the backing of the US and NATO – invaded the country with the aim of ousting the popular Ansarallah resistance movement from power.
According to Oxfam, between March 2015 and August 2020, the Saudi-led coalition bombed more than 200 medical facilities in Yemen.
The war has also killed or maimed thousands of Yemeni children. A total of 11 million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, while another 400,000 suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
Earlier this year, the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) revealed that more than three million cluster bombs have been dropped in Yemen by Saudi forces.
The use of cluster bombs by the Saudi-led coalition led to a civilian death toll of 3,921, including 119 children and 39 women.
The GAO report, which spans the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations, is the second major probe that lays out Washington’s shortcomings in preventing civilian casualties in Yemen. It also comes just weeks ahead of a planned trip by the US president to the kingdom.
US weapons exports to Saudi Arabia increased by over 100 percent since the start of the war seven years ago.
In March of this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed that between 2017 and 2021 the US held on to its spot as the largest weapons exporter in the world.
Saudi Arabia accounted for 23 percent of total US weapons exports during this period, while the UAE stood as the eighth largest recipient of US weapons.
SIPRI made its report days after US weapons giant Lockheed Martin announced plans to invest over $1 billion into the domestic weapons manufacturing industry of Saudi Arabia.