Logo
Cover

Guns for genocide in Yemen

The war in Darfur in western Sudan from 2003 represents the first genocide in the 21st century. The war in Yemen, which has been raging since March 2015, is the second. Formally, an eight-member coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is fighting the Houthi rebels, who, fueled by the Arab Spring of 2011 in their uprising from 2014, eventually conquered most of the country’s urban centers such as the capital Sana’a, ending the 34-year rule of dictator Saleh and driving his successor Hadi out of the country into Saudi exile. But on the ground, this is not a war against soldiers or rebels, but against the 28 million people in the country and, above all, a war against Yemen’s children. It is gruelling to document and condemn again and again all the genocidal war tactics of the coalition that led to over 230,000 deaths, to report on all the massacres of the civilian population or to research all the incredible superlatives on Hunger, Cholera and the other epidemics. Last November, with up to half a Million people infected in Yemen, far more malaria infections were recorded in a few days than currently in months of Corona worldwide.

The complicity of the West

It has long become a cliché that if the US stopped supporting the Saudi-Emirates coalition today, the war in Yemen would be over tomorrow morning, a cliché that is as striking as it is true. To comprehensively list Washington’s complicity in the genocide in Yemen would go beyond any scope. It ranges from air refueling and military training to intelligence cooperation and target selection in the headquarters in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to political backing and legitimization of the proto-fascist Regimes in the Gulf as a whole.

Something similar can be said about Great Britain – London plays here almost in a league with the all-embracing support of Washington. Britain’S BAE Systems, for example, is the de facto operational godfather of the Royal Saudi Air Force, without which not a single bomb could be dropped on Yemeni hospitals, schools, mosques and weddings. Even on the diplomatic floor, London and Washington always keep their backs on the genocides in Riyadh, for example when they immunize the genocide in Yemen from international condemnation with their Veto in the UN Security Council. Basically, the entire Western world is guilty, since its governments by their inaction politically and thus morally legitimize the coalition’s slaughter: if against Putin, Assad, Maduro and their like moralism and hypocritical humanism can hardly be instrumentalized more bluntly than political weapons, Washington, Berlin, Paris and London have only one thing to offer regarding Saudi-Emirati war crimes: deafening silence.

The War Tool

But the most direct support for the criminal Saudi-Emirates coalition, the most direct form of complicity in the genocide in Yemen, is the supply of arms by the mostly Western states to the eight Coalition members. In order to be able to formulate the criticism of these exports of war tools not only in a general and diffuse idealistic way, numbers have to be produced. And these figures are provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The SIPRI is the world’s leading research body when it comes to arms spending and arms exports. Every spring SIPRI releases its updated databases for the previous year. To this end, it is important to keep in mind that SIPRI only lists the armaments actually delivered in one year and not the permits granted. Years may lie between the two dates. The great advantage of the SIPRI data is therefore that the actual filling of empty arsenals of a war party can be traced relatively quickly.

The SIPRI databases show where the weapons for the crimes in Yemen come from, as you can see on the map.

Guns for War criminals around Yemen Genocide

The war started on March 26, 2015, which is why I used the data from 2015-2019. In these five years, there were altogether 33 countries that kept the Yemeni war going by supplying the eight coalition forces with new war equipment. The map makes it clear that basically the entire northern hemisphere has conspired here to literally level one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world.

In the five-year period 2015-2019, global arms exports to the Middle East increased by almost two-thirds compared to the previous five years, so that now, at 35 percent, more than one in three weapons exported in the world is shipped to this war-torn crisis region. In particular, this development can be traced back to Saudi Arabia, which has become by far the largest arms importer in the world in recent years, ahead of India and Egypt: in the second decade of this millennium, Riyadh imported 25.4 billion US dollars, far more than six times as many arms as in 2000-2009 (3.9 billion).

In total, in the last five years (the years of the Yemeni war 2015-2019), more than $ 36,768,000,000 worth of weapons have been shipped to the eight countries of the Saudi-Emirates coalition, more than $ 36 billion. Almost half of the arms deliveries (48 percent) went to Saudi Arabia, just under a quarter (23 percent) to Egypt and a seventh (14 percent) to the Emirates. The remaining six countries together accounted for 16 percent.

exporter

Of course, the arms exporters also have very different shares in the total volume. Of the 33 countries, 19 countries sold arms for less than $ 100 million each, nine of them for less than $ 10 million. The ten largest suppliers together, on the other hand, account for almost 96 percent of all arms exports, and only the five largest have a share of 89 percent:

CountyAmountAmount %
USA21.195(57,7%)
France4.452(12,1%)
Russia3.324(9,0%)
UK2.278(6,2%)
Germany1.465(4,0%)
Netherlands577(1,6%)
China520(1,4%)
Spain497(1,4%)
Italy451(1,2%)
Canada419(1,1%)
Other1.590(4,3%)

It is not surprising that this inglorious overview is led by the USA with a distance of miles. On the one hand, Washington is by far the largest arms exporter in the world with a share of 36 percent – followed by Russia (21 percent), France (8 percent) and Germany (6 percent) in fourth place. On the other hand, the US’s relationship with the Gulf dictatorships is historically very strong anyway – during the Cold War, Saudi Arabia in particular was considered a bulwark against communism, which also found great popularity in the Arab world. after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the close military cooperation received a new ideological foundation with the all-justifying “War on Terror"narrative, which was to establish the endless US presence in the Region from now on.

For example, in the 2015-2019 war years alone, the United States supplied more than $ 22 billion worth of weapons to the eight coalition partners, or 57.7 percent, more than doubling the previous five-year period in which Washington exported $ 10.5 billion worth of weapons to the coalition. If we zoom a little further out on the timeline, the US continues to reveal the increasing armament of the eight coalition partners: in the 2000s, the US exported weapons worth 12.0 billion US dollars, with 32.7 billion in the 2010s almost three times as much. The bulk of this enormous increase was due to increasing US arms exports to Saudi Arabia: in the first decade of the Millennium, Washington exported arms worth “only” 1.5 billion dollars to Riyadh, and in the second decade it increased this value by more than tenfold to 16.2 billion dollars. With the exception of Egypt, deliveries to all other coalition forces also increased over time.

With a share of more than 12 percent, France ranks second among exporters to the War Coalition and has also seen significant growth over the years. Since the coup d’état of 2013, when the fascist General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi seized power in Cairo, Paris has been supplying the coup d’état al-Sisi on a large scale and has thus become the largest supplier of the Egyptian military. The same applies to Germany, which has also been increasingly supplying to Egypt since the coup in 2013. Russia made it onto this list with a share of over 9 percent, as Moscow is also increasingly supplying weapons to the Egyptian dictatorship, thus becoming the second largest exporter to the country on the Nile after France. Russia also supplies most of the other coalition partners and has supplied arms to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2019.

Germany has a share of 4 percent with arms deliveries worth almost 1.5 billion US dollars in the years of the Yemeni war. According to the arms export reports of the Federal Government, Berlin has granted new export permits to every single member of the coalition in every War year, in addition to these arms actually exported (except Sudan) – to Saudi Arabia alone in the amount of 1.5 billion euros, to Egypt in the amount of 1.1 billion euros and to Qatar in the amount of more than 1.8 billion euros. If the USA and Great Britain are added as also active warring parties, the total amount of export permits worth 10.3 billion euros will be obtained by 2018, with which the anti-Yemen coalition can replenish its empty arsenals from Germany. Between 2015 and 2018, the federal government sold a total of nearly 25.8 billion euros in arms to 166 (!) Countries of the world-thus a total of 40 percent are warring parties of the anti-Yemen coalition. The infamous phrase in the coalition agreement of the current GroKo Iteration- " we will not authorize exports to countries as long as they are directly involved in the Yemen war."- sounds as hollow as it sounds cynical in the face of these numbers.

The federal government repeatedly assures the coalition states that the supplied weapons will not be used under any circumstances and that it has no knowledge of the corresponding use of German military equipment in Yemen. At the beginning of 2019, the research network # GermanArms finally set out to address this lack of knowledge on the part of the federal government and evaluated tons of freely accessible data, Videos and photos. The international network came to the overwhelming conclusion that all German weapons systems are actually used by the Saudi-Emirates coalition “on Land, in the air and at sea": from the rocket-propelled speedboats and corvettes with Rheinmetall cannons produced in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania by Lürssen, to tanks from Flensburg and howitzers with Daimler Chassis, to Eurofighters and tornadoes with components from dozens of German armaments companies. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier’s reaction when he was approached by Deutsche Welle about the unequivocal results of #GermanArms: “I am not aware of this.”

It is this indifference to the suffering of Yemen, which Altmaier here, in his very own arrogance, particularly shamefully communicates, but is in principle shared by the governments and arms companies of all the other exporters in exactly the same way. It is these 33 countries that, with their unscrupulous export policy, make killing in Yemen possible in the first place – and literally go over dead bodies for profits and influence. And above all, it is the leaders of the five largest exporters who are responsible for nine out of ten of all arms deliveries , who, even after all the shameful war crimes in Yemen became known, provided further killing tools and thus made the genocide in Yemen possible every other day.