By Anita Stewart
US arms exports have increased since Obama took office and lately most of them have gone to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf countries. The current arms deals include weapons that have been sold to Saudi Arabia that in turn have been used to bomb targets in Yemen and threatening and killing Americans there in addition to innocent women, children and elderly. Hence, a proxy war and Yemen is now in a “collapse” situation.
Saudi Arabia got 46 million in new weapons agreements from the US. And 500 million dollars worth of weapons have been “lost” or “misplaced” in Yemen and are probably being used by both sides in their civil war. So the reality is this: the US is funding and providing military hardware to all sides of this conflict. This means big profits for the weapons manufacturers.
Let’s Talk About Drones
Drone operations are being conducted in a huge way in Yemen and have been for some time. Other military theatres in the Middle East/Persian Gulf are also being monitored or citizens are being killed in similar operations.
As of yesterday, the US Military announced a new pay scale and bonus structure for drone pilots.
From the site: “…[This] was also established as a temporary fix until the Air Force came up with aviation continuation pay similar to that given pilots of manned aircraft.”
Some of these pay and bonus structures include amounts as high as $225,000.
So this pay structure is based on active duty military members sitting in comfy desk chairs in front of computers queued up in cubicles at bases in Saudi Arabia and other locales while they are killing indiscriminately or conducting reconnaissance by remote control. (Just like in video games). Also, no boots have to be on the ground.
The drone pilots will be getting pay raises at the similar scale as combat pilots who take the life and death risks when flying real missions? Does this in any way seem logical?
Americans Being Left Behind?
The US has three Navy ships in the vicinity of Yemen yet surprisingly has not conducted operations to rescue American citizens of an undetermined number who may be trapped there. Other countries have successfully evacuated their citizens: China, Somalia, India and Pakistan, for example.
The US State Department did not have any employees that would speak on the record and it has evacuated all it’s staff from Yemen after stopping embassy operations on February 11, 2015. Those that would speak off the record stated that any US citizens still in Yemen were “on their own.” Americans were advised to find overland travel to get out of the country even though that has many risks and roads are impassable in places. The Indian Military has offered to help US citizens to evacuate.
The Stuck in Yemen website was created to force a strong hand on the US State Department so they would start assisting American citizens who may be trapped there.
And On The Ground…
Hooria Mashhour, a Yemeni Human Rights activist and former post-revolution Human Rights Minister was interviewed by MintPress News and stated the following:
“Over the past two weeks an estimated 500 people have died — 60 were children. Some sources have put the number of dead at over 2,000. It is really difficult to tell at this stage, but the death toll is mounting. Hundreds of people have been injured, and schools, universities, hospitals even have had to close their doors. People do not have access to electricity and fuel is no longer available. The situation in Yemen is very bad indeed.”
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