Foreign Aid to Yemen: Are We Buying Their Guns?

Foreign aid—it’s no secret the United States Office of Treasury Assistance has obligated 106.5 million dollars in “aid” to Yemen for the 2015 fiscal year.

Despite their murky political status, our State Department has giving no indication we won’t stop funneling money into Yemeni hands.

ThreeSaudi_Army_There_are_Reday_War weeks ago, Iranian backed Shia Houthi rebels stormed the Yemini capitol Sanaa, collapsing their American propped-up power structure.

Within hours, President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned. Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa announced his resignation, along with his cabinet- via Facebook.

The one thing that’s clear, the only entity the Houthi’s have declared they despise more than the Yemini arm of Al-Qaeda, is America. Al-Qaeda’s central operating arm in Yemen is unabated. They have been said to be the most active plotters of terrorism against the United States. The United States has led drone strikes against Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership in Yemen for years now. Most recently, Harith bin Ghazi Nathari was killed with three others in a US drone strike on January 31st. Nathari was considers a high-ranking Al-Qaeda member.

Sunni Al-Qaeda based in Yemen has been responsible for the lion share of terrorist’s attacks within the Western world. With no clear government at the helm with the latest coup, there is nothing stopping these terrorist thugs from fighting it out to gain control of their newly fallen country.

What’s more unsettling than Yemen’s political collapse; the US government is full throttle with a robust Yemini foreign aid package. While we are waiting for the Houthi’s to decide what their next political move is, foreign aid 2015 is:

All-systems- go.

According to the US Foreign assistance website, the funds have been allocated to Yemen for “military assistance” and development. With the collapse of Yemen’s government, just whose military interests are we assisting? According to the State Department’s website says, “The United States has a strong growing partnership with Yemen. The people of Yemen are looking to create a new political reality,” Well, at least we can agree on that. They are definitely forging a new political reality.


The newly inked checks on their way to Yemen have no clear recipients. And the new political reality they are attempting may scarcely align with any American interests moving forward. Ironically, four months ago, President Obama hailed Yemen as a “ terrorism success story.” USA Today’s Oren Dorrell noted that “Hadi’s resignation comes four months after President Obama cited Yemen as a terrorist success story in a speech in September outlining his strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which involves targeted U.S. strikes on militants with the cooperation of a friendly ground force.”

In fact, history shows that US assistance in some cases winds up inadvertently aiding known enemies. All one needs to do is look as far back as the fall of Syria for scores of examples of this very troubling reality. In 2012, with violence in Syria, Senator John McCain said, “The massacre goes on, artillery shilling- there’s no legitimacy left in the Assad regime. So we can work with other countries to provide assistance in a broad variety of ways.” Did our provision of military equipment help the Syrian government reach a peaceful solution to their conflict? The only certainty is the ISIS stronghold in Syria was not a factor then. Now, these radical militants control towns across the Syrian countryside.

Yemen is primed for a civil war, and photos with tribal gunman in the oil-rich province of Maarib are splashed about news wires. There is nothing stopping a Sunni Islamist alliance and tribal interests from a full on war with the Houthi rebels. With the US acting as the world’s ATM, which side are we rooting for? It’s a tough call, as the Houthi’s slogan translated into English is “Death to America.”

US tax payer funds will be pouring into the Yemini border, and there is no concrete authority in place to make sure our aid doesn’t wind up in the hands of terrorists.

We have heard it time and again, our humanitarian assistance is critical to the stability of nations whom we assist. We also hear from advocates of foreign aid that the United States only gives a tiny percent of its overall budget to other countries, and Americans drastically overestimate how much funding we give.

Regardless of the amount of funding, or whether or not we as a nation agree with the overall principle of giving away money—one thing we should all be concerned with is how these nations are in fact using our appropriated funds.

Despite alarming facts, the US is aiding Yemini “security forces” and in some cases, Yemen’s security forces are children. According to Human Rights Watch, the organization has observed child soldiers in Yemen’s elite central security, and also within Yemen’s First Armored Division army.

US law prohibits US foreign military financing for governments using child soldiers. President Obama issued a military waiver for Yemen and three other nations using child fighters to still receive US money, it was reported in October 2013.

Not only do these military aid waivers show utter disregard for US law and the US Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, they speak to a larger issue. We won’t stop giving money to countries— for even the dirtiest human rights offenses. In this case, it’s clear there is little this nation can do to stop receiving our money.

At the very least we can all admit that aid given to Yemen is quite the conundrum, as their military practices are questionable, and their stability is uncertain.

What assurances do we have that fiscal aid obligation for Yemen 2015 won’t be used to buy guns, weaponry and ammunition for terrorists? What assurances do we have that our good faith effort of aid won’t come back to bite us in the tale?

Could we ultimately be arming our future enemies?

Related Articles:
Ron Paul Video: America’s Drone War in Yemen, Why Are We There?
Ron Paul Podcast: US Foreign Aid, Is it Money Well Spent?
OP-ED: Why Is the US Government Aiding and Abetting Terrorists?