Trump’s State Department just showed that they could care less about human rights. After Trump continually called on Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign to return the donations that Saudi citizens gave to her non-profit charity, claiming that the Saudis were supporting ISIS, his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has now hypocritically decided to reverse an Obama administration decision that prevented the sale of state-of-the-art precision weapons to Saudi Arabia.
In the final months of the Obama administration, the US canceled the planned sale of about $1.15 billion worth of advanced military technology to our Mid-East ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, over concerns about human rights abuses in the 18 month-long Saudi-led campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Recently, at least 140 innocent people were killed and 600 wounded when the Saudi Coalition forces bombed a funeral because of false information about the presence of terrorists. After initially denying that a mistake had been made, the Saudis eventually admitted that the attack was the result of non-compliance with the coalition rules of engagement and procedures. The coalition has been accused by many human rights advocates of indiscriminately killing civilians during the Yemeni war. More than 10,000 people have already been killed, and the country faces a huge humanitarian crisis.
An annual report by UN experts who monitor the conflict in Yemen, seen by Reuters, said the Saudi-led coalition had carried out attacks that “may amount to war crimes” — accusations Riyadh rejects.
Now Trump’s Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson, a long-time ally of the Saudi’s through his position as CEO of ExxonMobile, has restored the canceled deal, leading many to believe that even deeper involvement by the US in the war in Yemen is on its way. The hypocrisy of this administration’s constantly changing depiction of Saudi Arabia, first as a supporter of terrorism and then as worthy of access to advanced weaponry, is amazing. Does it have anything to do with the fact that Trump registered 8 different companies to do business in Saudi Arabia right after he launched his presidential campaign? Whatever the answer, innocent civilians in Yemen are at even more risk than ever before in a brutal war led by an oil-rich neighbor.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.