Everybody is wondering where the new arms shipment came from; if missiles, I was thinking North Korea; otherwise eastern Europe. Most Yemenis think Saudi Arabia, probably the only country willing to extend credit to the Sanaa regime at the moment. (But then with the earlier infusion of funds from Gadaffi, maybe Saleh can handle COD.)
9/23/11 HRF: Cables released by Wikileaks reveal that Slobodan Tesic, a Serbian arms dealer, contracted in 2009 to sell $95 million worth of sniper rifles, antiaircraft guns, and other arms and ammunition to the Yemen Ministry of Defense. As scores of unarmed protestors continue to be killed by the Yemeni government in renewed violence this week, possibly by these same weapons, Human Rights First renews its call for the United States to actively pressure the networks that enable brutal violence against civilians and grave human rights abuses.
Tesic has previously been connected with weapon sales in Liberia, Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere. He is subject to a U.N. travel ban for violating an arms embargo in Liberia. In 2002, he shipped “enough bullets to kill the entire population of Liberia,” enabling the former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s alleged war crimes. The arms dealer is also connected with weapon sales to Iraq and to terrorist regimes. Despite Tesic’s clear embargo violation and connection with atrocities, he was able to work with the Albanian Ministry of Defense to bring weapons into Libya in 2010, and contract with the Yemeni government in 2009. The influx and proliferation of weapons in the region has helped fuel significant violence against civilians and other human rights abuses.
¶1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraphs 6-8.
¶2. (S/NF) SUMMARY: We have received reports of an arms deal between the Yemeni Ministry of Defense and what is believed to be a front company for Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tesic. This individual is designated under the travel ban under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1521 (2003) and its subsequent extensions for his assistance in providing arms to Liberia in violation of the UN arms embargo. Washington seeks to verify this reporting with the government of Yemen, and strongly urges Yemen not to deal with individuals designated by United Nations Security Council Resolutions. End Summary.
———- BACKGROUND ———- ¶3. (S/NF) Intelligence reporting indicates that in early October the Yemeni Ministry of Defense signed a weapons deal with , for $95 million in early October 2009, to be delivered by early January 2010. The scheduled delivery will include small arms ammunition, heavy artillery ammunition, sniper rifles, demolition equipment, anti-aircraft guns, and howitzers. Reporting indicates that , both named in the contract, are linked to Serbian arms broker Slobodan Tesic, and that Tesic has made frequent trips to Yemen in the past year in connection with this contract. Tesic is designated in the travel ban annex of UNSCR 1521 for his assistance in providing arms to Liberia in violation of the UN arms embargo. (S/NF) We have learned through sensitive reporting that Yemen may be pursuing sizable arms deals with several other Eastern European countries for $30 million to $55 million each. It is currently unclear if the Yemeni government is merely shopping around, or if the country is actually attempting to purchase several hundred million dollars in small arms for use against Houthi rebels. If the latter is true, we have concerns about stockpile security and the potential for these weapons to be diverted to Yemen,s robust black market.
———- OBJECTIVES ———- ¶4. (S) Posts should seek to: –Ascertain whether the Yemen Government is dealing with Slobodan Tesic. –Discourage Yemen from working with individuals designated by United Nations travel bans. –Note USG concerns about a possible small arms buildup in Yemen.
——————————- ACTION REQUEST / TALKING POINTS ——————————- ¶5. (S) Post is requested to demarche host governments at the highest appropriate level to convey the following points to all action addressees: BEGIN TALKING POINTS SECRET/REL YEMEN — The United States understands that you might be using a Serbian arms broker connected to Slobodan Tesic to procure arms. — If this is true, you should know that Tesic is designated under a travel ban under UNSCR 1521 for his assistance in providing arms to Liberia in violation of the UN arms embargo. — We would discourage your government from working with this individual, due to his UN designation and history of disreputable arms deals. — In addition, it has been our understanding that, since 2005, your government was no longer using arms brokers to procure weapons for your military. –While we recognize your right to acquire arms for your legitimate defense needs, we have concerns that any arms in excess of your requirements may fall into the black market. We encourage your government to be vigilant in securing your weapons stockpiles and reiterate our offer for a visit by the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to provide a technical assessment to assist you in this effort. —————— END TALKING POINTS —————— ——————— REPORTING REQUIREMENT ——————— ¶6. (U) Post is asked to report results of its efforts. —————– POINTS OF CONTACT —————– ¶7. (U) Washington points of contact for follow-up are XXXXXXXXXXXX , ISN/CATR and XXXXXXXXXXXX , NEA/ARP.
¶8. (U) Department thanks post for its assistance. Please slug all responses for ISN, NEA, and T. CLINTON