Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States, a CNN investigation has found.
The weapons have also made their way into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels battling the coalition for control of the country, exposing some of America’s sensitive military technology to Tehran and potentially endangering the lives of US troops in other conflict zones…
Because a majority of American troop deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are caused by IEDs, it is critical that knowledge of MRAP vulnerabilities does not fall into enemy hands.
But it’s already too late.
In September 2017, a Houthi-run TV channel broadcast images of Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the de facto rebel leader, proudly sitting behind the wheel of a captured US-made MRAP in the capital Sanaa, as a crowd chanted “death to America” in the background.
The vehicle was part of a $2.5 billion sale to the UAE in 2014. The sale document, seen by CNN, certifies that “a determination has been made that the recipient country can provide the same degree of protection for the sensitive technology” as the United States.
MRAPs like these, captured on the battlefield, have been probed by Iranian intelligence, according to a member of a secret Houthi unit backed by Iran known as the Preventative Security Force. The unit oversees the transfer of military technology to and from Tehran.
The member of the force, speaking to CNN anonymously out of fear for his safety, revealed that Iranian and Hezbollah advisers have already gotten their hands on the armored vehicles and other US military hardware.
“Iranian intelligence are assessing US military technology very closely,” the source said in an audio interview done from Sanaa. “Listen, there isn’t a single American weapon that they don’t try to find out its details, what it’s made of, how it works.”
IEDs are now mass-produced in Yemen by Houthi forces on a scale only previously achieved by ISIS, according to a report published by Conflict Armament Research.
The group tracks weapons and their supply chains in conflict zones, and has found IEDs containing Iranian components in Yemen.