Bahrain Mirror: Human rights group Amnesty International has urged US President Donald Trump not to approve arms sales to the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, warning such moves could implicate the United States in possible war crimes in Yemen, reported the Independent.
The paper highlighted that the campaign launched by the Saudi-Arabia led coalition of mainly Gulf Arab states against Yemen has drawn international criticism for allegedly targeting civilian infrastructure, causing unnecessary loss of human life that the UN says could amount to war crimes.
The UK daily noted that Yemen, now in the third year of a civil war which has killed more than 10,000 and left seven million on the brink of starvation, is also among the seven Muslim countries on which the Trump administration is trying to impose a travel ban.
"If approved, this deal would essentially have President Trump throwing gasoline on a house fire and locking the door on his way out," said Margaret Huang, the executive director of Amnesty International USA.
"The US should not continue to arm governments that violate international human rights and humanitarian law and simultaneously shut its doors to those fleeing the violence it helps to escalate," she added.
In its letter, Amnesty said the arms sale to Saudi Arabia could allow the country to modify thousands of air-to-ground munitions that could be used in strikes against civilians and violate international law. In addition to wanting to stop the two arms sales, Amnesty also asked Trump to place a "comprehensive embargo" on all arms sales that could be used by parties to the Yemen conflict so long as there is risk of war crimes or other violations, The Hill pointed out in an article.
The Independent further noted that the proposed $300m (£240m) package for precision-guided weapons technology for Riyadh and $3bn (£2.4bn) deal for F-16 fighter jets for Bahrain were nixed by former US President Barack Obama during his final few months in office after opposition from Congress. "However, it was reported earlier this month that President Trump's administration had cleared the deals for final approval from the White House."