Obama Halts Some Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia, Following Alleged "War Crimes" In Yemen

Tyler Durden's picture

Whether it is retaliation for dumping Treasuries, blackmail to keep to OPEC production quotas, or - more likely - being implicated in war crimes for supporting a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians, President Obama has decided that after shipping billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports it will halt a planned arms sale to The Kingdom.

As we detailed previously, citing government documents and the accounts of current and former officials, Reuters reveals that while the Obama administration and the Pentagon rail against Russian bombing in Syria, State Department officials have been skeptical - in private of course - of the Saudi military's ability to target Houthi militants without killing civilians and destroying "critical infrastructure" needed for Yemen to recover.

However, and this may be where Saudi funding for Hillary's campaign - according to a recent report, Saudi Arabia funded 20% of Hillary's presidential campaign - and her election came into play, government lawyers ultimately did not reach a conclusion on whether U.S. support for the campaign would make the United States a "co-belligerent" in the war under international law, Reuters said citing four current and former officials. Such a finding would have obligated Washington to investigate allegations of war crimes in Yemen and would have raised a legal risk that U.S. military personnel could be subject to prosecution, at least in theory.


The findings emerge days after an air strike on a wake in Yemen on Saturday that killed more than 140 people renewed focus on the heavy civilian toll of the conflict. The Saudi-led coalition denied responsibility, but the attack drew the strongest rebuke yet from Washington, which said it would review its support for the campaign to "better align with U.S. principles, values and interests."


What Reuters' report reveals is that instead of Russia being the war criminal, as the US has now alleged, the real aggressor would be Saudi Arabia, and the US - whose actions have enabled Saudi war crimes - would be a "co-belligerent" participant.

Of course there is also the fact that the Saudis have been dumping Treasuries...

Saudi Arabia also continued to sell its TSY holdings, and in August its stated holdings (which again have to be adjusted for MTM), dropped from $93Bn to $89Bn, the lowest since the summer of 2014. This was the 8th consecutive month of Treasury sales by the Kingdom, which held $124 billion in TSYs in January, and has since sold nearly 30% of its US paper holdings.



And then there is the OPEC "we cheat sometimes" comment that perhaps needed some reinforcing to ensure The Kingdon doesn't cheat and US Shale can continue to raise production.

But for whatever reason - guilt, retaliation, blackmail, or simply hopes of rescuing his legacy - Reuters reports that President Obama has decided to limit military support to Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen because of concerns over widespread civilian casualties and will halt a planned arms sale to the kingdom, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The United States will also revamp future training of the kingdom's air force to focus on improving Saudi targeting practices, a persistent source of concern for Washington.


The decision reflects deep frustration within President Barack Obama's government over Saudi Arabia's practices in Yemen's 20-month-old war, which has killed more than 10,000 people and sparked humanitarian crises, including chronic food shortages, in the poorest country in the Middle East.


It could also further strain ties between Washington and Riyadh in the remaining days of Obama's administration and put the question of Saudi-U.S. relations squarely before the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20.

An Obama administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said "systemic, endemic" problems in Saudi Arabia's targeting drove the U.S. decision to halt a future weapons sale involving precision-guided munitions.

"We've decided not to move forward with some foreign military sales cases for air-dropped munitions, PGMs (precision-guided munitions)," the official said.


"That's obviously a direct reflection of the concerns that we have about Saudi strikes that have resulted in civilian casualties," the official said. A second official confirmed the decision to suspend the sale of certain weaponry.

The officials declined to offer details. But a specific case put on hold appeared to involve the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of guidance systems manufactured by Raytheon that convert dumb bombs into precision-guided munitions that can more accurately hit their targets.

Finally, as a reminder, with the Obama presidency in its final month, there is one central element of his foreign policy that has received little attention – the dramatic acceleration of lethal weapons exports by the U.S. military and defense contractors. As Ammo.com details, the Obama administration has approved more lethal weapon sales to more foreign countries than any U.S. administration since World War II. Many billions more than G.W. Bush's administration, in fact. And some of these sales will likely result in unintended consequences i.e. "blowback" – especially as more than 60 percent of them have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

(After all, U.S. weapons supplied to the mujaheddin in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets were then used to help launch Al-Qaeda. Arms supplied to Iraqi security forces and Syrian rebels have been captured by ISIS. And “allies” from Bahrain to Egypt to Saudi Arabia have used U.S.-supplied weapons to defeat homegrown democracy movements.)

On May 23rd, President Obama announced at a press conference in Hanoi that the U.S. would be lifting its decades-long embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam. Such a reversal in U.S. foreign policy raises questions: How does the U.S. arms export market actually work? Which companies in the military-industrial complex profit from these sales? Who really ends up with U.S. weapons? And most importantly, how many of those weapons could eventually be used against us?

An Inconvenient Truth: How the Obama Administration Became Earth's Largest Arms Dealer [INFOGRAPHIC]
Source: Ammo.com

*  *  *

It's all a little too late for 10,000 Yemenis. Human rights groups have criticized the United States for supporting the Saudi war effort by selling the kingdom arms and refueling coalition jets. The United States says it has not vetted or selected Saudi targets in Yemen. The Obama administration official said the United States would not halt refueling of the Saudi-led coalition planes. "For now that's not going to be touched. Again, the review could continue and people could make a different decision in the coming weeks," the official said.

The decision to suspend the arms sale to the Saudis marks a reversal for the administration. Officials have long argued that supplying so-called "smart weapons" helped in reducing civilian casualties.

Last year, the Obama administration even had the U.S. military send precision-guided munitions from its own stocks to replenish dwindling Saudi-led coalition supplies, a source close to the Saudi government has said. But that argument ultimately failed.

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buzzsaw99's picture

you gotta bomb a lot of hospitals to win the peace prize bitchez.

beemasters's picture

"Whether it is retaliation for dumping Treasuries, blackmail to keep to OPEC production quotas, or - more likely - being implicated in war crimes for supporting a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen...."

But their war crimes aren't new. I would suspect most likely because they are stopping donation to The Clinton Foundation.

AllTimeWhys's picture

Because of war crimes -Obama


The irony here is so high quality, you could mix it with coal and make enough steel to offset China's dumping.

BennyBoy's picture


Lets murder some folks for oil and gas.

Or to build a pipeline.

Screw 'em. I need cheap gas to drive to the liquor store.

XWeatherman's picture

It's apparently o.k. for O to drone Wedding Parties but not o.k. for SA to bomb Funerals?

Ex-Oligarch's picture

Help me out here ... quite apart from selling arms to the Saudis, didn't the US itself fire missiles into Yemen from a Navy ship a couple of weeks back?

beemasters's picture

"The irony here is so high quality."

Agreed. The US government should be publishing "The Wok- The Art of Calling the Kettle Black - and how to help the Pot to look bad." Oh wait...that should be Mossad's.

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

War crimes?  Like all of those drone strikes Obummer ordered in Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria?

bfellow's picture

Anyone else catch the fact that, because the Saudi's aren't hitting targets with precision and causing collateral damage, the US isn't going to sell them precision guide weapons? Guess it's back to good ol' carpet bombing. 

chunga's picture

Doesn't make sense to me either.

RiverRoad's picture

This new developement could put quite a crimp in the Bush/CIA family's armament investments which are huuuge.

Akzed's picture

Preemptively no less.

BorisTheBlade's picture

How many things under Obama turned out 180 degrees opposite of advertised? Plenty. Peace - war, affordable healthcare - skyrocketing premiums, reset or relations - worst relations in decades, call for transparency - increased prosecution of whistleblowers. That said, peace prize in the name of dynamite inventor is truly ironic. He invented dynamite to end all world wars, get outta here.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Told a friend just this morning that the Saudi's were going to get cut loose by the US in the next couple of years and that the Kingdom would fall and the country would be thrown into civil war and chaos. It's over for the headchoppers.

XWeatherman's picture

Seems a pattern is emerging...Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, then the rest will be an easy mop-up.

olebugger's picture

Guys are there any updates to our civil lawsuits vs. Saudi Arabia for sponsoring 9/11? There were reports a couple months back, then the topic went quiet. Anyone?

Yog Soggoth's picture

That might implicate some other parties involved if it were to go to trial. That is what this arms thing is about, making it look like we are the good guys after doing awful things. You think none of the arms we sold Saudi got into the hands of ISIL? Oh yeah, they stole them all from the Iraqis, sure.

SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

There are a shitload of lawyers getting paid by the hour on that lawsuit. Unless you're immortal, you'll never live to see the end of that.

Griffin's picture

Obama suspends arms sales to the Saudis now because he believes Trump will do it when he takes over.

Had Hillary managed to win, this would not be happening.

youngman's picture

and just think of the huge donations Hillary and Bill would have got....

Chupacabra-322's picture

Nothing new here. The business "Foreign Policy" of arming, funding & training Alqueda / Al CIA / ISIS / I CIA SIS goes back to the days of the Mujahideen.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Exactly! The "Policy" of arming, funding & training Terror Oraganizations spreading Saudi Wahabbism. The exact Saudis implicated in the most recent forgotten declalassified 28 pages financing the 911 False Flag operation.

RagaMuffin's picture

Let's send Obama's retirement checks to a Sana'a, Yemen P.O. Box........see how long he lasts in that 'hood     ;-)

replaceme's picture

So Hillary loses the election, the Saudis feel like their influence money is being wasted, Clinton Foundation donations start to dry up. Shortly thereafter the Obama admin cuts weapons sales. plus or minus a step in there involving fear of investigation. Think this has anything to do with humanitarian reasons? Think that's air you're breathing? Hm.

michelp's picture

I looked into it, and it would take an application by a government to be made directly to the Nobel Commitee and approved by them for the Peace Prize to be recalled from this murderer, our dear Pres. OB.

No single individual of even groups have the tenure to do so. Too bad!


Allen_H's picture

Alleged War Crimes !!!???  - Bot the fucks are in on it, all being directed from izraHELL. Who does he think he is kidding?

This might also be a pull back from Syria, time will tell, and all terrorist rats who continue fighting will die. Time is on Syria and Yemen's side.

Fuck you jewUSSA, the bitch war machine of izraHELL!

flaminratzazz's picture


A rope leash's picture

Everybody's all set now with plenty of munitions...why aren't they deploying?


Starting World War III is not as easy as one might think...but they will all be ready when the time comes.

LawsofPhysics's picture


I wonder if there have been such crimes in Iraq or Libya?

"Full faith and credit"

Akzed's picture

Why don't they build their own arms factories? Oh yeah, they're inbred morons. We have lazy teenagers, they have lazy stone agers.

Emergency Ward's picture

It's easier to use petro-dollars to buy from the US, Israel, France and the UK.

QQQBall's picture

maybe i am getting picky. But "some war crimes" doesn't roll off the tongue.

orangegeek's picture

nice job barry you useless tit.


now go back to sucking Putin's cock.

XWeatherman's picture

O'Bozo; The Regime Change Lunatic.

yellowsub's picture

I think the consequences are intended...however they are disappointed that the desired outcome has yet to come.

rahrog's picture

The House, the Senate, the Executive branch, lobbyists, and arms manufactuers/dealers are ALL a gang of WAR CRIMINAL scum.






johnnycanuck's picture

Israeli arms manufacturers should have little problem making up any shortfalls their Saudi friends  may encounter.

Emergency Ward's picture

Obama plays it both ways.  He pretends he has stopped selling arms to KSA and then funnels arms to KSA through Israel (under the cover of the huge arms deal he already made with Israel.)

CosmicSauce's picture

Obama isn't stopping anything. The words have been said in this article, "stop the sale", to make us think he is growing a conscience for human Rights.




/window dressing


He's still a shill for the Arab Mafia. /Fuk off already dik

Brazen Heist's picture

Whoever made that picture picked the wrong weapons. Since when does the US make AK-47s?

Miss Expectations's picture

Here's the video of Hillary falling as she boards her plane leaving Yemen.  What really (should have) happened:


sauldaddy's picture

Saudi all ready Nuked Yemen with a Neutron Bomb. You tube video here https://youtu.be/OTE_Eshm2xw

also a Saudi ambassador admitted on live TV that the regime has nuclear weapons, found on YouTube also.

Miss Expectations's picture

I really hope President Trump can make Rudy a Special Prosecutor...So many crimes against humanity by people masquerading as human beings.

ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

Nobel Peace prize winner halts weapons sales. :/


If you like your Nobel Peace prize winner you can keep

your Nobel Peace prize winner.

this is legacy winning.


south40_dreams's picture

Will we ever overcome the bigotry and hatred of b h obama?