This investigation documents how the countries of the Arab Alliance gave western weapons to their allies in Yemen, in spite of the fact that this is supposedly banned by laws and agreements stipulating that the military in the countries importing the weapons are to be the “end user”.
We documented that the Saudi-led coalition has ignored that condition not only by giving these weapons to third parties in Yemen, but also because some of those parties were militias operating outside the control of the Yemeni state and army. As a result we found that those weapons made their way into the hands of terror groups as AQAP and ISIS, and caused further civilian casualties. These weapons were also found for sale in arms markets.
We have documented cases of arms and vehicles from the United States, the UK, Germany, Spain, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland, as well as Serbia and Bulgaria.
What makes this project innovative?
- International criticism mounts against the western weapons used in the bombing campaign in Yemen, but our investigation is the first one who worked on the violation of “End Use” terms and conditions. This is the first one who documented the ways that the western weapons have been granted to Yemeni factions, who sold it or granted it to a terror groups. We are the only journalists to have an interview with a spokesman for the Abu Abbas Brigades, the group that is classified on the lists of American terror groups. He spoke to the camera about receiving money and weapons from the Arab coalition. He confirmed that after the group was declared on the terrorism list, the same quantities of money and weapons continue to flow.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
This Investigation got great quantitative and qualitative achievements. 1- Metric data: The film made large viewing numbers in its Arabic version, or in the copies translated into English, German and Spanish. The Arabic main version on facebook: 354000 views. The English version on DW youtube (a bit shorter version): 352000 views https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkUv2R97I-Y& The Spanish version: 82000 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r66dmrSfJC0&t=9s The Guardian article: More than 2600 share https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/nov/28/arms-yemen-militia-were-supplied-by-west-find-analysts?CMP=share_btn_tw&fbclid=IwAR1rzs4pcOUgaorHu-K7Sb0qeD8y3M5M7RTaXVXybVkGCACpG1roUqOkt4A 2- Qualitative data: We received many official reactions from governments or politicians during or after the investigation. The Swiss government confirmed that it did not know about the presence of its weapons in Yemen, and confirmed that these samples were sold to the UAE in 2003, and opened an investigation. The Pentagon spokesman also said he would check what we had sent. After the film was published, the Arms Export Control Committee of the British Parliament asked us to provide an official statement, as well as various organizations and members of parliament in Belgium, Canada, Germany and Austria. 2- The film is referred to or used as a reference in dozens of coverage of Arab and international media, for example in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2018/12/07/propping-up-middle-east-autocrats-isolates-population-feeds-instability/?utm_term=.54bd7de190a3 3- Several prominent media and political figures have published or discussed the film or article: * Senator Chris Murphy - Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. Is one of three senators who submitted a draft resolution to stop US support for the war in Yemen, and posted on his twitter and wrote: "Every senator should make his mind present in this article before the expected vote to stop our participation in the Saudi war in Yemen" Less than two weeks later, it was passed. https://twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/status/1069677574752792583 * Member of the British House of Commons Russell Moyle - for the Labor Party. Published and wrote "This violation of the end user certificate is known by our government and silent about it" https://twitter.com/lloyd_rm/status/1073189804286853120 * Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif https://twitter.com/JZarif/status/1069254241099886592 Charles Chorbidge - Investigator at Scotland Yard, specializing in counterterrorism https://twitter.com/ShoebridgeC/status/1068296644402262016 * Barbara Salvin - Director of the Iran-Atlantic Council Program - United States https://twitter.com/barbaraslavin1/status/1069230111201873921 3. Amnesty International has contacted me and contributed to a report prepared on the same subject, and my name and name were mentioned as a source of specific cases. 4- After that, CNN contacted to produce an independent investigation of US weapons ofreached third parties in Yemen, and in turn has been so politically influential that General Joseph Fotel was questioned in Congress and admitted that the United States did not grant permission By giving their weapons to another party. (February 2019) A letter was sent to the US Secretary of State based on the content of the investigation of 22 members of Congress.
Source and methodology
- For more than a year and a half, I have scanned thousands of open-source images and videos and created a huge database of more than 1,000 samples of Western weapons with Yemeni fighters all verified and documented, including dozens of types of weapons and vehicles. - Based on research work, we selected the samples that will appear in our work, on condition that we can prove they did not appear in Yemen before 2015 when the war started, and that they were repeated at least 5 times. - I made accounts with Yemeni names on the social media sites, and also using a Yemeni phone number on the Telegram and WhatasApp, to order the purchase of weapons and serial numbers. - We cooperated with a producer on the ground to photograph the interviews and also asked him for specific samples to get some of them. - I used geolocation and sources on the ground to verify locations and dates of the material in the open source, and immediately excluded any material we could not document their place and date, and sometimes we documented the names of the persons carrying the weapons. - I have obtained serial numbers of samples of the small arms to provide tracking requests for companies and exporting countries. - With regard to the East European weapons line, I checked thousands of documents and emails received from the leak of the Bulgarian Embassy in Azerbaijan. We compared the dates of the documents with the dates of the proliferation of certain weapons.
- Worked with a programming team to transform the investigation into interactive visual form: https://arij.net/enduser - Google Sheets was used to arrange my data bases from weapon samples as well as documents. - Google Earth and a paid version of Warmappia websitem used to verify the locations of the open sources data. - VeraCrypt to protecet my data on external hard drive. - NordVPN to serch on ISIS and AQAP sites without being detected by the authorities. - Telegram and WhatsApp were used to access closed secret weapon selling groups. - Facebook , Twitter were used to obtain a huge sum of open source data, also to contact with a Yemeni sources.
Mohamed Abouelghit Ahmed Alwassey - the filed producer Abdelrahman Yehia producer Hossam Sarhan - Designer