WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Trump administration must explain to Congress how US weapons ended up in the hands of terrorist groups in Yemen, including organizations linked to al-Qaeda*, a bipartisan group of lawmakers said in a letter published on Tuesday.
“We write to express deep concern about credible reports that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have transferred US-origin military equipment and weapons to al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups in Yemen,” 20 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. “We request an urgent briefing on all details surrounding this case.”
The letter cited reports that two Yemeni terrorist groups, the Abu Abbas Brigade, a terrorist organization connected to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Alwiyat al-Aamlqa, or the “Giants Brigade,” had received American weapons, which a CNN investigation concluded were diverted from US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The “Giants Brigade” reportedly received Navistar Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the UAE, originally transferred to the UAE as part of an arms-sales agreement, the letter said.
In addition, the Saudi military reportedly air-dropped American-made tube-launched anti-tank missiles in the same frontline areas where AQAP was known to be operating, the letter said.
Other reports have indicated that US military equipment has fallen into the hands of Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement, the lawmakers said.
Taken together, these unauthorized transfers of equipment and weapons by the Saudi and UAE governments represent a clear national security risk to US interests and a serious violation of existing bilateral agreements pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, the letter said. Four Republican committee members joined 16 Democrats in signing the letter.
*al-Qaeda is a terrorist group banned in numerous countries, including Russia