Saudi Arabia is using American-made weapons in a destructive campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, the New York Times reports. The remains of US-made, laser-guided bombs have been found in the wreckage of multiple deadly airstrikes—including an attack on a funeral last month, which killed 140 people. A Saudi-led Arab military coalition intervened to support Yemen's government after Houthi rebels backed by Iran took over the capital city of Sanaa and drove the government into exile in 2014. With the Iranian military supporting the Houthis, and the Saudi-led coalition supporting the government, the conflict quickly ground to a stalemate. As the fight rages on, the NYT reports, the Saudi coalition has taken to targeting bridges, ports, and other infrastructure targets—often with American-made bombs.
Saudi Arabia purchased almost $4 billion of military equipment and construction services from the US in 2014, according to FactCheck.org. And in August of this year, the US State Department approved a new sale of $1.15 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale "conveys US commitment to Saudi Arabia's security and armed forces modernization." The sale occurred right around the time Saudi Arabia was intensifying its air campaign within Yemen. Despite concerns from human-rights groups, the US State Department refused to address the concern that the weapons would be used against civilians in Yemen, the Guardian reports. A State Department spokesperson would only say: "We regularly talk to our partners and our allies around the world. You know, civilian casualties are obviously of grave concern to us." (Read more Yemen stories.)