The Pentagon has renewed its shipment of weapons to the Yemeni military, having finally ended the nearly one year halt put on such shipments because of public protests and the military’s crackdown on popular dissent.
Those familiar with the Yemeni military’s checkered human rights history will be concerned to know that the new US aid, totaling $112 million, includes sniper rifles, machine guns, and over 1 million rounds of ammunition.
If that makes it sound like someone is preparing a war, that’s because someone is. The renewal of shipments comes as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta wrote a new letter to Congress informing them of the need to increase “counter-terrorism operations” in Yemen.
Already US troops are on the ground in Yemen, guiding offensives like the recent one against secessionists in the Abyan Province. Other offensives are expected against the nation’s interior as well as against secessionist Shi’ites in the far north. Given the huge number of opponents of US-backed ruler Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Yemeni military is likely to use up those rounds of ammunition long before they run out of potential targets.