One of the US weapons making an appearance in Yemen are widely banned cluster bombs, specifically the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon from Textron Systems of Wilmington, Massachusetts. The bombs are not only lethal upon initial use but often the parts of the bomb do not explode as planned and spontaneously detonate later or by accident when scavengers stumble upon them while looking for scrap metal.
Each cluster bomb costs the Saudis $360,000, and they have so purchased $641 million worth, but, as a new article in Harpers shows, Textron Systems is hardly the only US defense contractor making a killing in Yemen.
A new arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia, worth $60 billion and negotiated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, became the largest in history. The deal included 84 Boeing F-15 jets and an estimated 170 helicopters, in addition to the cluster bombs.
As if that was not enough of a payday, the US also has a lucrative contract to service the weapons. From Harpers:
America’s adherence to its side of the deal is most concretely manifested in a housing compound a dozen or so miles outside Riyadh. Eskan Village is home to 2,000 Americans, military and civilian, dedicated to the security of the regime. For the U.S. military, it is a gratifyingly lucrative arrangement. Some inhabitants of the compound supervise the arming and training of the Saudi National Guard — a mission that has so far generated $35 billion in U.S. military sales. Others are attached to the U.S. Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, which services the regular armed forces. According to its website, this group is charged with enhancing American national security “through building the capability and capacity of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces” — a task that absolutely includes acting as an “advocate for …