Give Local Civil Society a Say in U.S. Security Assistance

Civil Society’s Role in Security Assistance, US Intel Aid to Saudi Arabia Continues, Arms Sales to Riyadh and more.

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WEEKLY MONITOR


February 16, 2021

Give Local Civil Society a Say in U.S. Security Assistance

Just Security, February 2021


A new piece by CIVIC’s Dan Mahanty and Elena Crespo makes the case for engaging civil society in America’s vast security assistance and cooperation enterprise, providing recommendations for a reformed assistance process. 

The piece argues that engaging civil society in the recipient countries of U.S. security assistance not only encourages better human rights practices and accountability but can also lead to stronger security governance institutions and more contextualized appraisals of the security environment that have a direct bearing on the efficacy of U.S. assistance. 

But, as the piece notes, space for civil society is shrinking globally, and very often in the places where the U.S. spends billions on local security institutions, leaving a dangerous blind spot in the broader understanding of security environments, not to mention increasing the risks of civilian harm. 

The pice is a follow on the CIVIC’s recent report “Having Their Say: Guidelines for Involving Local Civil Society in the Planning, Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of U.S. Security Assistance and Cooperation“, which lays out a series of recommendations for how to reform the U.S. Security assistance enterprise to better incorporate engagement and feedback from local civil society. 
 
Click here to read the full article and here for the full-length report

Security Assistance News & Research Roundup


News & Blog Posts

US to continue defensive intelligence support to Saudi Arabia on Yemen

Al-Monitor, February 8

Following last week’s announcement by President Joe Biden to end offensive American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, a number of questions have arisen as to what an end to such assistance will look like and how it will ultimately affect the war. Ali Harb and Umar A Farooq examine these questions and provide some insight on the administration’s new policy. 
 

UK authorised £1.4bn of arms sales to Saudi Arabia after exports resumed

The Guardian, February 9

Figures from between July and September 2020 reveal the UK authorized the export of £1.39 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia in the quarter after arms exports to the nation resumed. The UK has indicated they will continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite calls from critics of the war in Yemen to follow President Biden’s lead in halting sales to the coalition. 
 

Israeli Cabinet OKs $9B US Arms Deal; Boeing KC-46As Top List

Breaking Defense, February 9

Israeli ministers have approved the budget for a $9 billion arms purchase from the US that includes aircraft and special weapons systems. The deal will be funded through the $38 billion Foreign Military Financing agreement between the US and Israel. 
 

Biden’s Pentagon to Keep Turkey Out of F-35 Program

Air Force Magazine, February 5

The Biden administration will continue Trump’s policy of excluding Turkey from the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program due to their purchase of an S-400 air defense system from Russia. The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey for acquiring the defense system in December of last year. 


Saudi Arabia moves to ease tensions with Biden on Yemen, human rights

Axios, February 10

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan met with the newly appointed U.S. envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking in an indication that Saudi Arabia hopes to defuse tensions with President Biden following the US withdrawal of offensive support for the war in Yemen.
 

Australia will not ban arms sales to countries involved in Yemeni civil war

The Guardian, February 10

Australia is not planning to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite calls from human rights groups to follow the US President’s lead. Between August 2019 and October 2020, Australia issued five permanent permits for export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, and nine permits for the UAE. Now, the government says it will weigh up “emerging risks” when considering military exports. 

 

Research, Analysis, and Opinion  

 

Yemen conflict: Will Biden’s approach finally end the war?

Middle East Eye, February 11

Following last week’s announcement by President Joe Biden to end offensive American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, a number of questions have arisen as to what an end to such assistance will look like and how it will ultimately affect the war. Ali Harb and Umar A Farooq examine these questions and provide insight on the administration’s new policy. 


US-educated foreign soldiers learn ‘democratic values,’ study shows – though America also trains future dictators

The Conversation, February 12

Research Fellow for the University of Central Florida Sandor Fabian explains his study on the International Military Education and Training program, which is a centerpiece of the United States’ global military strategy. His research, which focuses on the program’s outcomes in Hungary, “establishes, possibly for the first time, that U.S. military training programs achieve their stated goals: They transmit democratic values to foreign soldiers, who spread them among national armed forces. However, it does not conclude that American military education is an unmitigated good. Far from it.”
 

Biden must make a tough decision on Afghanistan — and quickly

Washington Post, February 9

The Editorial Board outlines the challenges facing the Biden administration as the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline in Afghanistan looms. They refer to the USIP’s Afghanistan Study Group report to indicate the potential consequences of a precipitous US troop removal.

 

Data Fact of the Week:

Growth in Annual U.S. Security Assistance Since FY2001

The graphic above illustrates the growth in U.S. security assistance between FY2001 and FY2019. 

U.S. security assistance has grown substantially in the last two decades, despite significant gaps in oversight and accountability, particularly in recipient countries.  A new piece by CIVIC’s Dan Mahanty and Elena Crespo looks at the need to engage civil society to help fill in these gaps, and ensure the appropriate application of security assistance and cooperation. 

From The U.S. Government 

Defense Department

 

Major Arms Sale: Jordan – F-16 Air Combat Training Center

February 11, 2021  

Estimated cost of $60 million.
 

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2/15: Speaking for America: A Conversation with the State Department and Pentagon Spokesmen, hosted by Georgetown University
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