The US cleared the way for a new arms sale to the UAE, despite evidence it violated the last one
The Trump administration has cleared the United Arab Emirates of wrongdoing and approved a possible sale of thousands of armored vehicles to the Gulf state, US government officials told CNN, despite evidence that the country made unauthorized transfers of American military hardware to armed groups in Yemen.
Yemen is embroiled in a civil war that has pitted a coalition backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- both key US allies -- against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and the presence of American-made weaponry has only helped to fuel the fighting.
A CNN investigation in February last year revealed that both American allies had given US-made equipment to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other fighting factions in Yemen, despite their agreements with Washington.
Under those agreements, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were legally required to receive permission to transfer equipment to other parties, but that permission was never obtained, the Department of Defense said at the time. Emirati officials denied they were in violation at the time, while the Saudis did not respond to requests for comment.
In the wake of CNN's report, the US government launched its own investigation -- which included dispatching teams to the UAE and Saudi Arabia -- and put further deliveries of US hardware to the UAE on hold pending the results of that inquiry.
Two US officials with knowledge of the joint State Department and Pentagon investigation told CNN it took over a year to complete because of what one source described as delaying tactics by the UAE.
While the probe concluded earlier this year, its findings have not been made public. But multiple government officials on both sides of the aisle and within the administration told CNN that the UAE has now been cleared.
The State Department has told some leaders in Congress that it is "satisfied no actual transfers were made," and has "made sure the UAE fully appreciates the letter of their agreements" with the US, another source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
With that assurance, the lawmakers gave their blessing to a new proposed sale of US military hardware to the UAE, the source said.
On May 7, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the Pentagon had approved the proposed sale of up to 4,569 surplus US-made Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the UAE for an estimated cost of $556 million. The sale would serve the US national interest by helping to support the security of "an important regional partner," the DSCA news release said.
But a lack of transparency over the findings of the US investigation has raised questions about the propriety of the Trump administration's decision to approve the proposed sale of MRAPs to the UAE, given the evidence of past unauthorized transfers and bipartisan Congressional opposition to several proposed arms sales last year. It also comes as Pompeo has been accused of pressuring officials to find ways to justify arms sales to Saudi.
In a statement to CNN last week, the UAE would not confirm or deny whether it had been cleared but said its "armed forces confirmed to the US government its continued adherence to the terms and conditions" of the arms sales.
An American-made MRAP in the hands of the Giants Brigade militia in Yemen in February 2019.
The Pentagon said it could not comment on the investigation or subsequent conversations with Congress, and directed CNN to the State Department for further comment.
The State Department confirmed to CNN that its investigation had concluded. "We believe that the UAE now has a better understanding of its EUM (End User Monitoring) obligations," an official said, without providing further details.
But some US government officials told CNN they were concerned that the UAE was cleared of wrongdoing and that this contentious move was made while Congress was focused on the current coronavirus crisis. Two administration officials were willing to be quoted but asked not to be named due to fears of retribution.
"Look, the arms sales thing is really key for Trump personally and it's been a real point of contention with Congress, even Republicans have been pushing back," said one senior official with knowledge of the issue. "The Emirates is a key ally and we believe that this sale is in the US national interest. This felt like a good time to push this through."
A second senior official familiar with the deal was much more concerned about the approval of the potential MRAP sales at the present time.
"We had real issues getting cooperation from them [the Emirates] on our investigation," the official told CNN. "Their sense was that they didn't feel they'd done anything wrong, which doesn't really bode well for future compliance, but the message we got from the top was Trump wants this done and now is a good time to push through."
The National Security Council did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
Fears sale could undermine US national security
Congress and the Trump administration have been at loggerheads over the issue of US arms sales, with rare bipartisan unity shown in efforts to rein in the White House.
Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy, two Democratic senators who have led the push to stop arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, slammed the May 7 decision and called on the administration to make the findings of its investigation public.
The announcement was made only days before the State Department's inspector general, Steve Linick, was fired by President Donald Trump at the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Allegations subsequently emerged that Pompeo had refused to cooperate with the inspector general, who was conducting an investigation into the administration's attempt last year to fast-track arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Pompeo defended his push to have Linick dismissed in remarks Wednesday -- saying he "should have done it some time ago" -- but refused to explain his reasoning for the move. It was unclear whether the inspector general's investigation spurred Pompeo to recommend his firing.
In May 2019, the Trump administration declared an emergency in an effort to bypass Congress and expedite $8.1 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries, citing the need to deter what it called "the malign influence" of Iran throughout the Middle East.
The proposal approved on May 7 is the next phase of a $2.5 billion arms deal that was agreed with the UAE in 2014. The deal was put on hold last year pending the results of the US investigation.
An aide to Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the State Department had briefed his committee on the probe.
"The Department of State repeatedly briefed Foreign Affairs Committee staff on its investigation into the unauthorized re-transfer of MRAPs that were sold to the UAE in 2014, which concluded earlier this year," Leslie Shedd said in a statement.
Shedd added that McCaul and other top leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee had previously reviewed and approved the proposed sale. Shedd referred CNN back to the State Department when asked whether the investigation had cleared the UAE of wrongdoing.
Sen. James Risch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declined to comment and referred questions to the State Department. Rep. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
Warren slammed the State Department for not publicly sharing the findings of the investigation in a letter sent last week to Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
"To my knowledge, there has been no unclassified publication or transmission of any kind to Congress of the findings of your visits to the UAE and Saudi Arabia to address the improper diversion of US military hardware that we sold to these governments, and the corrective actions, if any, taken to address these allegations," the senator said in a letter dated May 14 seen by CNN.
"If your Departments' investigation into the improper diversion of the same category of US military hardware by US allies has not concluded, or concluded without any actions taken to prevent these diversions in the future, then I am concerned that the continued sale of this equipment undermines US national security."
Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized the proposed sale and called on Congress to block it.
"Congress should not allow another arms sale to the UAE until the administration makes public its report regarding the Emiratis' likely serious violations of previous arms sales agreements. We cannot allow our allies to take arms we sell them and pass them along to dangerous, extremist militias, as the Emiratis did. There should be accountability when there is a meaningful violation of [an] arms sale agreement, and this arms sale sends the opposite message," Murphy told CNN.
Multiple US officials confirmed to CNN that the UAE was investigated under Section 3 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), which prohibits the transfer of US armaments to third parties without prior authorization.
At the time, an Emirati official told CNN that the Giants Brigades was a "part of Yemeni forces" and under the UAE's direct supervision, and therefore the equipment was in the "collective possession" of the coalition.
But under the UAE and Saudi Arabia's arms sales agreements with the US, American-made MRAPs are considered "proprietary technology," which neither party is supposed to let out of its control. Recipients of US weaponry are legally obligated to adhere to end-use requirements which prohibit the transferring of any equipment to other parties without prior authorization. That authorization was never obtained.
The letter, from the State Department's Bureau of Legislative Affairs, said that a joint State-Pentagon visit was carried out to the UAE in September to verify what had happened to the MRAPs the US supplied.
The letter added that another similar "oversight visit" to Saudi Arabia was planned for November, after which "the Department expects to have a full account of the circumstances related to the disposition of this equipment and any potential violation of the agreements."
Saudi officials, when asked whether they had been similarly cleared, did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
Mike Pompeo (R) pictured with the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in 2018.
UAE withdraws troops but maintains influence
CNN revealed in October that US MRAPs had again been distributed -- in contravention of arms deals -- to militia groups in Yemen, including the Giants Brigades. The militia had taken up the separatist cause and was using this equipment in the fight against government forces, who had also been armed with US weapons by Saudi Arabia. Adding another layer of chaos to an already fracturing conflict.
After five years of involvement in Yemen, the UAE announced last July that it would gradually withdraw all of its troops from the country, switching its strategy of involvement from boots on the ground to relying ever more heavily on its local proxies.
In its latest statement, the Emirates told CNN it has "largely drawn down its presence from Yemen and is concentrated on counter-terrorism efforts against AQAP, ISIS and other dangerous groups."
But the UAE has maintained operational control of several militias or non-state actors, including the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a secessionist group based in the southern port city of Aden that has often fueled a war within the war between the various factions of the Gulf-backed coalition.
Allied groups have time and again turned their guns on each other, detracting from their larger mission of dislodging the Houthi militia which controls the capital, Sanaa, and much of Yemen's north.
There were signs of hope last November when, as the Emirati military came close to completing its drawdown, the STC signed an agreement with the Saudi-backed, internationally-recognized government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Riyadh pact gave the STC the legitimacy it craved and guaranteed the UAE a foothold in the conflict even after the last Emirati soldier left Yemeni soil.
But political maneuvering has once again put the lives of ordinary Yemenis at risk.
On April 25, the STC turned its back on the Riyadh deal and announced it would establish self-rule in the areas under its control.
The move sparked another outbreak of violence in Yemen that has coincided with an increase in Covid-19 infections. The United Nations has warned the virus could spread rapidly in a country where the health care system is fragile and millions are on the brink of famine.
Roughly 80% of the population is already in need of humanitarian assistance or protection, according to the World Health Organization, which said 197 cases and 33 coronavirus-related deaths had been confirmed in Yemen as of Friday.
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AKANCopied from the book, Reality as Myth by Onyeji Nnaji. The influence of the
Akan on their content nations lies on their population and commonwealth of
their brother nations. The Akan are one of the largest ethnic groups in West
Africa. Their population is scattered across West Africa and beyond. Among this
huge population of the Akan, the Ghanaians are more popular, perhaps because of
the political influence of the Ashanti Empire in the area. Not much is heard or
known about other Akan settlements like the Akwamu, the Akyem , the Akuapem,
the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Baoule, the
Chokosi, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the
Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M'Bato, the Abidji,
the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie, the Ehotile, the Nzema, the Abbe, the Aboure,
the Coromantins, the Ndyuka people and other peoples of Côte d'Ivoire. Every Akan nation adopts the image…
from the Book; "Reality as Myth"
by Onyeji Nnaji
of the discovering of the Radar Rivers and their channels is that it disproves
the western hegemonic claim of the Euphrates valley being the position of the
birth of the great river, all the points that opposed their claims
notwithstanding. Even God himself was very perfect in His creation by placing
them in their positions, hierarchically, according to their birth. The first
river that flowed located the Havilah land where there are good quality gold,
bdellium and fine onyx stones. Pison was the oldest of the rivers and it flowed
through the land of the southern Africa. The second river flowed northward to
Ethiopia. It was when Africa had been overtaken by virtue of her proximity to
the Great Water that other parts of the world began to encounter the remaining
river; remarkable with Hiddekel.
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The major problem towards deciphering the original plac…
Copied from the book, Reality as Myths by Onyeji NnajiThe world of the Bantu travellers shows the walls of the
migration that recorded the highest population among the African settlement.
Originating from the largest population among the four races that settled in
the east before time, all Bantu travellers were pygmies; for that was the
nature of the Umudiala, the
generation that gave birth to them. Bantu migration was rated the third
earliest migration of the Negro race from the east. In this regard, all their
movement had involved great population of people compared to the number of
people involved in the two earlier populations that gave birth to Ethiopia,
Nubia and Egypt: the Walker Traveller, and the
Race of Anu. Bantu population as we have identified in the third chapter
above outweighs the rest of the population of the ancient fathers that founded
many of the nations of antiquity mentioned earlier. Discussing them in beat
will pose a little challenge since their migration condi…
The name Nkalaha is a
coinage which stands for a people occupying a geographical land and regional
setting in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is a coinage which attempts to
explain the direction of movement and adventure of the men who founded the
community in the 15th century AD. According to oral sources and some
documentation about this community, some of these men were believed to have
traveled from Ida, old Benue state of Nigeria to inhabit the land. These men
had traveled on different days to locate the place. Onojah who originally
founded the land was said to have been in a deep search for a place of safety
as he was besieged by a fate that appeared to make him somewhat incompatible
with his own people. Nkalaha
is one of the communities that make up Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi
State. Nkalaha occupied the northern part of Ishielu Local Government Area. She
is located through the zip 135.031.000. The community sits on 923.768km2. She shares boundaries with neighbourin…
My neighbour had vowed never to let any girl
survive as a salesgirl in my shop. This thing has happened for over three
times. Each time we brought a new salesgirl, the girl would stay for two or
three months; and suddenly she would end her contract with us. In all these, my
husband did not know. So, being that the girls usually stole money and other
items, the reason for their departure became genuine, thus: they ran away to
avoid being punished for their actions. But behind this, the underling truth is
that the girls had been embarrassed by my neighbour who would warn them to leave
her loosed husband. Recently, the woman threatened to f…
The Mystery of
Number, “Five” in the Igbo Cosmology.From: Aspects
of the Ancient African Metaphysics;Chapter: Seven;Topic: Igbo
Geometries and the Metaphysics of Numbers.Author: Onyeji
Nnaji. In the Igbo
cosmology, the word Isee is a definite symbolic word as revealed through
the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. The
hands and feet are fundamentals to the survival in life as they are necessary
in ensuring that man moves to places where he gets food and grapples on the
food to sustain his life. To this view, the rhetoric that binds vocatives in
the form of incantation (anchoring on the heart-lock: four) and the
concomitant reprisal in the manner of affirmation that holds the human life
bind to his original spiritual person, therefore defining existence and
essences are unified by the corresponding echo: Isee!!!!! Therefore
it stands that anytime a prayer is said in the Igbo land, the attendants who would
want the fulfillment of the prayer unanimously …
INTRODUCTION One thing that made Udi remarkable is the indubitable
legacy adopted in commemoration of the legendry fighter, Uto at Nsude. It was one
of the greatest contributions of the descendants of Agbaja to the survival of
Nsukka civilization of memory. Uto held from Oshie. Uto dies of small pox after
a mercenary battle he was hired to fight in the ancient Benin. His body was buried
in the evil forest as the tradition demanded. Although he lived no longer, the
stepped pyramids above were adopted to commemorate the lasting peace he brought
to the entire Oshie and Udi nation of people. Another remarkable thing about Udi is the
fertility of the land. This has contributed widely in sustaining the
inhabitants and provided a name for the inhabitants in the manner of Abakaliki,
Umudike, Ogbaru, Igboariam, Ohaji, Uzouwani, etc., especially in Amofia-Agu,
Affa. Udi is a land of great rivers and springs: Adaada, Ajali, Oji, Aria,
Nvenu, Ngene Evu, Iyi Ububo, etc. as was the situation every…
There are four generations…, and the fourth generation, which is the most exalted, is kingless and perfect. These people will enter the holy place of their Father and they will reside in rest … They are kings. They are the immortal within the mortal (The Nag Hammadi, 219)
Also read Nsukka Civilization: The Peopling of Ancient Nsukka One of the African homes that colonialism has completely deformed beyond certain level of recognition is Nsukka. Colonialism apart, the most affecting factor to the survival of the meaning which the rich cultural enclave, Nsukka, carries will best be blamed on postcolonial political structure. The biggest harm all these have against Nsukka as a people are that they rubbed her of the meaning of her name; their place of origin; how their fathers managed to come into their present abodes and who their ancestors are. A profound understanding of the excerpt above will open the door towards deciphering the meaning and origin of the people called Nsukka. Geographic…
ETHIOPIAHISTORY & ORIGIN (Extracted from the
book, Reality as Myth)BYONYEJI NNAJI
Those piles of ruins which you see in that narrow valley
watered by the Nile, are the remains of opulent cities, the pride of the
ancient kingdom of Ethiopia. ... There a people, now forgotten, discovered
while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race
of men now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair,
founded on the study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems
which still govern the universe(Count Volney). Because of the position of Ethiopia
in the Bible story as one remarkable black nation with ancient history, it
becomes almost impossible to see any other nation as being of more ancient than
Ethiopia. Ethiopia suddenly became the yardstick for the analysis of the Negro
race. And with the influence of Christianity in the inner part of Africa, the
adherents were provided with bold pictures of the cradle of the human race…