As chaos grew in the Middle Eastern country after western backed president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi was forced to resign in January, the Houthis seized all of the arms depots and bases of the Yemeni military, including tanks and artillery provided by the US, according to the Guardian.
The fighting in Yemen has hindered America’s routine inspections in the Arab Peninsula state, leaving the US unable to track all of the military equipment.
The unrest has “limited our ability to conduct routine end-use monitoring checks and inspections we would normally perform”, a US defense official told the British newspaper.
Even though the US didn’t disclose the type of equipment it has supplied Yemen, the Pentagon says it provided Sanaa with more than $400 million worth of military gear, including helicopters, night-vision gear, surveillance equipment, military radios and transport aircraft since 2006, as part of a counterterrorism strategy.
The US had trained the Yemeni army, particularly on the use of surveillance drones, and propped up the Yemeni security apparatus, in an effort to implement President Obama’s plan to bolster military allies’ capabilities and remove the burden of security duties left by the previous administration in the Middle East. He intended to use Yemen as a model for the future of US counterterrorism.
The two latest Yemeni presidents, now disposed, allowed the CIA and the Joint Special Operations command to conduct drone strikes and counterterrorism operations on Yemeni land.
As the Arab nation continues to face violence between Shiite Houthis and al-Qaeda insurgents, and after the Iran aligned Houthi rebels seized control of the capital city of Sanaa, the Pentagon announced on Jan. 24 that it will limit its training of the Yemeni army. However, Obama defended his administration's drone-based strategy against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, saying otherwise, the US will have to deploy its troops in the region, which was not sustainable.
"It is not neat and it is not simple, but it is the best option that we have," he said.
At least 11 people were reportedly killed on Monday in the latest drone strike aimed at al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
The defense official has told the Guardian that the US would continue to pursue regaining its monitoring ability over Yemen’s US-provided arsenal.
“We continue to monitor the situation in Yemen closely and, as the security environment permits, we will continue working with the Government of Yemen to ensure equipment granted or sold to the Government of Yemen by the United States remains accounted for,” the official said.