If you’ve been following the news recently, you probably know that Yemen’s ISIS affiliate is claiming responsibility for a series of suicide bombings at mosques in the country on today. The death toll right now sits at 135 people, and at least 345 have been injured.
None of this should be truly surprising for anyone following current events in the region. Even if ISIS didn’t exist or isn’t responsible for the attacks, this sort of occurrence has become all too commonplace in the region.
What should be concerning to us is the news out of the Pentagon today that the United States has lost track of $500 million in weapons in the country. This is hardly the first time this has happened in the Middle East. For example, last year we found out about how the ease with which ISIS moves (since it’s probably still going on) stolen American weapons between Iraq and Syria, and then there was the news that we dropped weapons intended for the Kurds to ISIS militants by mistake. About the current story in Yemen, though, we learn this:
The Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen, amid fears that the weaponry, aircraft and equipment is at risk of being seized by Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda, according to U.S. officials.
In recent weeks, members of Congress have held closed-door meetings with U.S. military officials to press for an accounting of the arms and equipment. Pentagon officials have said that they have little information to go on and that there is little they can do at this point to prevent the weapons and gear from falling into the wrong hands.
“We have to assume it’s completely compromised and gone,” said a legislative aide on Capitol Hill who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
U.S. military officials declined to comment for the record. A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon, said there was no hard evidence that U.S. arms or equipment had been looted or confiscated. But the official acknowledged that the Pentagon had lost track of the items.
If you want to see just what all has gone missing check the graphic here. Per the article, all of this has come since 2007. This development, combined with the instability in the country, has led the US to halt the planned transfer of $125 million in more weapons to the country scheduled for this year, but that won’t get us back the $500 million we’ve already lost.
Considering the fact that rebels of one sort or another control the country, we have to wonder just how many of them are using weapons given to the country by America. It’s the same basic problem as in Syria, but as the article notes, Al-Qaeda in Yemen is probably an even bigger threat to our nation’s security, especially now that the American-aligned government isn’t there to put in any effort to police them anymore.
I should also note that this story about the Pentagon losing $500 million in weapons in Yemen is hardly new. Stories about us losing $400 million in weapons in the country have been circulating around the internet for over a month now on “underground” news websites. However, in light of today’s terrorist attacks, it becomes especially important to mention.
Developments like these are particularly embarrassing for the Obama administration. After all, it was only last September that the President cited Yemen as one of the successes of his administration’s counterterrorism policies. With the administration trying to shove more ill-conceived foreign policy ideas down our throats, like the Iranian nukes deal, it becomes even more important that Republicans and conservatives, especially those in Congress, hold him accountable for his many mistakes, preferably before anymore happen.