Trump organization hopes to resume Saudi arms deal reprimanded as imperiling regular citizens in Yemen Washington Post

“A Yemeni man inspects a destroyed house after an alleged airstrike by the Saudi-led military coalition on a funeral reception on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Feb. 16, 2017. (Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency)
The State Department has approved a resumption of weapons sales that critics have linked to Saudi Arabiau2019s bombing of civilians in Yemen, a potential sign of reinvigorated U.S. support for the kingdomu2019s involvement in its neighboru2019s ongoing civil war.
The proposal from the State Department would reverse a decision made late in the Obama administration to suspend the sale of precision guided munitions to Riyadh, which leads a mostly Arab coalition conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Secretary of State Rex Tillersonu2019s approval this week of the measure, which officials say needs White House backing to go into effect, provides an early indication of the new administrationu2019s more Saudi-friendly approach to the conflict in Yemen and a sign of its more hawkish stance on Iran.
It also signals a break with an approach the previous administration hoped would limit civilian deaths in a conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of widespread famine but that Persian Gulf ally Saudi Arabia has cast as a battle against the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East.
The move takes place as the Trump administration considers its approach to the Yemeni war, which has pitted U.S.- and Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against an alliance of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Shiite Houthi rebels. Officials in Riyadh allege that the Houthis have received substantial support from Saudi Arabiau2019s main regional rival, Iran.
While the U.S. military has provided support to the Saudi-led air campaign since 2015, including aerial refueling for Saudi jets and a U.S. advisory mission in the Saudi operations headquarters, the Obama administration sought to scale back that support last year amid alleged Saudi strikes on civilian targets.
Despite Saudi hopes that the conflict would quickly restore Hadi to power, it is now approaching its third year. As of January, the conflict had led to the deaths of at least 10,000 civilians, according to the United Nations.
u201cIt has become a quagmire in which we were deeply involved but had very little influence,u201d said Tom Malinowski, who served as the top human rights official at the State Department under President Barack Obama. u201cThat was not a good deal for the United States.u201d
Pressure increased on the Obama administration in October, when Saudi jets attacked a Yemeni funeral hall, killing more than 100 people. At the end of a review prompted by that strike, the Obama White House made the decision to halt the pla
ed sale of roughly $390 million worth of precision munitions guidance systems to the kingdom.
[With some changes, U.S. maintains military aid to Saudi Arabia despite rebukes over Yemen carnage]”

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