Congress scrutinizes US arms export policy amid Ukraine invasion

The U.S. Capitol constructing is pictured in Washington, Jan. 26. Congress held a listening to on Tuesday to look at U.S. arms export coverage after years of permissive exports beneath then-U.S. President Donald Trump. (Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

Estimated learn time: 1-2 minutes

WASHINGTON — Congress held a listening to on Tuesday to look at U.S. arms export coverage after years of permissive exports beneath then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

The listening to got here amid strain on President Joe Biden’s administration and allies to produce anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons to Ukraine because it battles a Russian invasion.

Throughout a U.S. Home of Representatives Armed Companies Committee listening to, Jessica Lewis, the State Division’s assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, who oversees weapons offers, mentioned the Biden administration’s philosophy is to guide with diplomacy, however however, present “urgently wanted ammunition and Javelin anti-tank missiles” to Ukraine whereas concurrently authorizing transfers of U.S.-origin navy know-how from NATO allies.

Javelin anti-tank missiles are made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Applied sciences.

Over the weekend, Biden’s administration accredited as much as $350 million value of extra weapons transfers from U.S. shares to Ukraine, together with anti-aircraft methods, anti-armor munitions, small arms, physique armor and numerous munitions. Over the previous yr, the USA has dedicated greater than $1 billion in safety help to Ukraine.

On the listening to Mike Rogers, the highest Republican on the committee, criticized the Biden administration’s arms transfers as “too little, too late.”

Biden’s administration overhauled the U.S. arms export coverage final yr to extend an emphasis on human rights when evaluating offers. When the brand new standard arms switch coverage is made public, it can formalize the departure from Trump’s prioritization of the financial advantages of arms gross sales.

Gross sales of U.S. navy tools to overseas governments fell 21% to $138 billion in fiscal 2021, in accordance with U.S. State Division figures.

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UN Security Council extends Yemen arms embargo to all Houthis | Conflict News

Decision proposed by UAE comes amid a string of latest assaults on Gulf international locations claimed by the Yemeni insurgent group.

The United Nations Safety Council (UNSC) has prolonged an arms embargo to all Houthi rebels, because the Yemeni group faces elevated worldwide stress after a string of latest assaults on Gulf international locations.

Monday’s decision, proposed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and adopted with 11 votes in favour and 4 abstentions, extends an embargo that till now focused some Houthi leaders to the complete insurgent group.

The Emirati mission to the UN welcomed the results of the vote, saying the decision would “curtail the army capabilities of the Houthis & push towards stopping their escalation in Yemen & the area”.

The transfer comes days after United States President Joe Biden’s administration issued new sanctions in opposition to a community that it accused of transferring tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} to the Houthis – and amid a push by the Emirati authorities for international locations to take a harder stance in opposition to the rebels.

The Houthis have ramped up their assaults in opposition to Saudi Arabia and began straight concentrating on the UAE in latest weeks.

A Saudi-led, US-backed coalition, which included the UAE, intervened in Yemen in 2015 to push again the rebels, who had taken over many of the nation, together with the capital Sanaa, and to revive the Gulf-backed authorities of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, criticised the UNSC resolution for ignoring “crimes” by the coalition and mentioned in a Twitter publish that any arms embargo that doesn’t apply to the alliance “had no worth”.

The conflict in Yemen has introduced the nation to the verge of famine, sparking what the UN has mentioned is the worst humanitarian disaster on this planet. The coalition accuses the Houthis of being proxies of Iran – a cost that each the rebels and Tehran reject.

Russia, which is near Iran, on Monday voted in favour of the UNSC decision, which states that the Houthi rebels of their entirety will now be topic to an arms embargo first declared in 2015 on a few of their leaders.

Diplomats, talking to the AFP information company on situation of anonymity, mentioned Russia’s place suggests a deal was minimize between Moscow and Abu Dhabi for the latter to abstain in upcoming UN votes on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UAE on Friday abstained from a vote on a UNSC draft decision that might have deplored Russia’s assault on Ukraine, which so far has killed greater than 350 civilians, based on the Ukrainian ministry of well being.

Peter Salisbury, a senior Yemen analyst on the Worldwide Disaster Group, mentioned the UNSC vote comes amid a push by the UAE for a “extra aggressive stance” in opposition to the Houthis in mild of the group’s latest assaults.

However he mentioned on Twitter that the “group-wide arms embargo doesn’t change a lot in apply as already utilized as if to complete group”.

The US has confronted rising stress to re-designate the Houthis as a “terrorist” group.

Rights teams have cautioned Biden in opposition to such a transfer, nevertheless, saying it may disrupt the movement of much-needed humanitarian help to Yemen, particularly to areas underneath Houthi management.

Monday’s UNSC decision described the Houthis as a “terrorist group”.

It mentioned the council “strongly condemns the cross-border assaults by the Houthi terrorist group, together with assaults on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates putting civilians and civilian infrastructure, and demanding the rapid cessation of such assaults”.

Norway mentioned it selected to abstain from the UNSC vote as a result of it was “anxious that utilizing such terminology, absent a transparent definition, might have [a] detrimental influence on UN efforts to facilitate a political answer in Yemen”.

“Norway can also be anxious about unintended humanitarian penalties of this new language and that it may negatively have an effect on UN efforts to deal with large-scale humanitarian wants all through Yemen,” the Norwegian mission to the UN mentioned in an announcement.

NATO bolsters arms supply to Ukraine with anti-tank weapons | Russia-Ukraine crisis News

Berlin to produce 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles in U-turn from its coverage of banning weapon exports to battle zones.

Germany will provide Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr shares so it will possibly defend itself in opposition to Russia as preventing intensifies round its capital.

It’s a main shift from Berlin’s longstanding coverage of banning weapon exports to conflicts zone.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning level. It’s our responsibility to do our greatest to assist Ukraine in defending itself in opposition to Putin’s invading military,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated on Saturday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Germany’s choice.

“Germany has simply introduced the supply of anti-tank grenade launchers and Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Stick with it, Chancellor Olaf Scholz!” Zelensky tweeted.

The Netherlands additionally introduced it should ship anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, the defence ministry stated.

The Dutch authorities will provide 50 Panzerfaust-3 anti-tank weapons and 400 rockets, the ministry stated in a letter to parliament. The Netherlands can be collectively contemplating with Germany sending a Patriot air defence system to a NATO battle group in Slovakia, it stated.

The USA and Western allies are nonetheless capable of ship arms into the nation to bolster the Ukraine navy, and Washington plans to ship extra within the coming days, a defence official stated.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced on Saturday that Washington will present $350m in further navy tools to Ukrainian forces.

“This bundle will embody additional deadly defensive help to assist Ukraine deal with the armoured, airborne, and different threats it’s now dealing with,” he stated in an announcement.

Stinger missiles

Kyiv has for weeks been pleading with Germany to ship armaments to assist it to face down an invasion by Russia.

Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany on Saturday urged Berlin to hitch the Netherlands and provide Ukraine with Stinger air defence rockets.

“Rattling it, it’s lastly time to assist us,” Andriy Melnyk advised Reuters in an interview on the Ukrainian embassy. “We want air defence and we want a no-fly zone.”

Berlin’s obstinate refusal till now to approve weapon deliveries, and a earlier choice to ship solely 5,000 helmets, had sparked anger and mockery, with Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko calling it “a joke”

Berlin has additionally handed over a subject hospital to Kyiv.

Europe’s largest economic system can be underneath growing strain to again the choice to kick Russia out of the SWIFT worldwide cost methods. On Saturday, Berlin modified its place about imposing restrictions on Russia’s entry to the SWIFT, becoming a member of different Western powers in assist of harsher sanctions geared toward halting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The nation on Tuesday halted the Nord Stream 2 gasoline pipeline, which was designed to move Russian pure gasoline to Germany, citing Moscow’s actions in the direction of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on the corporate in control of constructing an $11bn pipeline venture.