An impending multibillion-dollar arms sale to the United Arab Emirates could make the US responsible for civilian deaths in Yemen and Libya, rights groups have warned, as Washington edged closer to transferring 50 advanced fighter jets and over a dozen armed drones to the Gulf state.
The group said it had also acquired “extensive evidence” that the UAE used armed drones in Libya. Abu Dhabi has repeatedly denied the accusations of war crimes in Yemen and that it is involved in the civil war in Libya.
This week the Trump administration gave Congress formal notification for the massive arms transfer, according to US media reports.
The Washington Post, citing sources, said the package would include 50 F-35 stealth fighter jets, 18 MQ-9 reaper drones and $10 billion worth of munitions including thousands of MK 82 dumb bombs.
It said it had repeatedly found remnants of munitions manufactured in the US including US Raytheon Paveway bombs which the group says have struck hospitals, schools and homes, killing civilians and children.
“These US drones could be responsible for UAE attacks that violate international humanitarian law and kill, as well as injure, thousands of Yemeni civilians already bearing the brunt of the one of the world’s most devastating humanitarian catastrophes,” , Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA said.
The statement added that they had evidence the UAE had used armed drones in Libya on behalf of renegade Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar.
The Gulf coalition has repeatedly denied accusations of war crimes in Yemen and the UAE has vehemently denied it is involved in the civil war in Libya.