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Tag Archive: Arms Control

Defense Industry Campaign Contributions Threaten to Influence Senate Vote on Saudi Arms Deal

American democracy is shackled by the influence of money in politics. One of the arenas where the problem manifests itself most acutely is in Congress on questions of defense industry appropriations and arms exports. In a book that describes an unusual success story in overcoming moneyed interests in Congress, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote that the armed services and appropriations committees “were largely split not by party or ideology but, with a few exceptions, by the location of the pork.” As Gates and defense secretaries before him witnessed, Congress often voted for programs favoring defense facilities or contracts in members’ districts or states despite the Pentagon taking the strong position that the program was superfluous or wasteful.  continue »

US Seeks New Assurances from Saudis on Civilian Casualties—but is that even possible?

The Trump administration is reportedly seeking a new set of assurances from Saudi Arabia that it will minimize civilian casualties in its air campaign in Yemen—but would those assurances be credible? The effort to get new safeguards in place is now part of the process of determining whether to renew a sale of precision guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, Reuters’ Warren Strobel and Arshad Mohammed report.…   continue »

Former Deputy Assist Sec of Defense: “Glaring” “deficiencies” in Saudi Air Force responsible for civilian casualties in Yemen

Looking for an expert’s explanation of why the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, which are supported by US arms and assistance, repeatedly kill large numbers of civilians? Andrew Exum, who recently served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy at the Pentagon has something for you.…   continue »

Contortions in the UK’s Arms Export Regime—and Costs of the Yemen War

Since the outset of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, the UK has demonstrated that it is willing to go to great lengths to maintain its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.  This includes contorting the language of the UK’s own arms export control regime, and possibly even revising the regime, to allow for the provision of arms to a state against whom the evidence of widespread breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) is mounting.…   continue »

Saudi Arabia Finally Admits to Using Cluster Bombs in Yemen–After Pattern of Denials

On Monday, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the House of Commons that following the UK’s own analysis, the Saudi-led coalition has now admitted to using UK manufactured cluster munitions in Yemen. Mr. Fallon heralded the “transparent admission” by the coalition, and added, “we therefore welcome their announcement today that they will no longer use cluster munitions.” Many news outlets ran a headline focused on the Saudi-led coalition’s statement that it would stop using cluster munitions in Yemen (including Al Jazeera, Fox, ReutersUPI).…   continue »

Recommended Reading: Brian Finucane’s “Partners and Legal Pitfalls”

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Just Security editors occasionally select a noteworthy law review article, essay, or book on topics that may be relevant to our readers—especially if it intersects with national security practice on the ground. The current issue of International Law Studies includes an important article on the legal risks for states and officials in partnering with foreign military forces.…   continue »

If US and UK Have Joined the Fighting in Yemen, What’s Their Duty to Investigate Alleged Saudi War Crimes?

Image by Ibrahem Qasim

Air strike in Sana’a, May 2015. Image by Ibrahem Qasim – Wikimedia 

If the United States and United Kingdom (have) become not just supporters of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen but instead “co-belligerents,” is there a special duty on the US and British governments to investigate potential war crimes by the Saudis and their partners?…   continue »