A recent article by the Washington Post has revealed that around 500 former military generals, members, and officers from the American military have been taking up job offers from several Persian Gulf and North African countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The jobs have been related to consultation positions in several nations’ Ministries of Defense. The most well-known example is the Saudi Ministry of Defense, which reportedly had at least 15 retired American generals and admirals acting as consultants in their Ministry of Defense, including one former Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, and Land), who was hired as a Saudi Special Operations advisor for almost $258,000 yearly pay. One example of American generals working under Saudi contracts includes retired Obama-era American National Security Advisor James L. Jones, who owns two private security firms (Ironhand Security LLC and Jones Group International LLC). Both of these firms have been found to be taking contracts and advisory positions from the Saudi government, despite Saudi Arabia’s notorious track record as a state which regularly abuses human rights.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Ahmed Al-Jubeir addressing the 70th session of the United Nations (United Nations Photo/United Nations/Cia Pak)
Saudi Arabia has had a long track record of human rights abuses, and they have been condemned by the United Nations (UN) numerous times throughout their history. Notable examples of human rights abuses by the Saudi government include the 2021 Report by the Independent, a British Newspaper, which detailed abuse perpetrated against detained women and female activists by the Saudi government, including Sexual Assaults and torture while in Saudi prisons. You can read said article here; https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-prisoners-womens-human-rights-b1745241.html
Utilizing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Washington Post obtained information on former American generals and their contracts after suing the American Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the State Department under the FOIA. The government of Washington, DC describes the FOIA as; “The District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, DC Code §§ 2-531-539, provides that any person has the right to request access to records. All public bodies of the District government are required to disclose public records, except for those records, or portions of records, that are protected from disclosure by the exemptions found at DC Code § 2-534.” (https://dc.gov/page/freedom-information-act-foia)
American President Joe Biden meeting with Saudi-Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin-Salaman (Yahoo News)
After a two year court battle between the Post, military branches and State Department, the Post reportedly recieved “more then 4,000 pages of documents, including case files for over 450 retired soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines” from the government, according to Fox News. US District Court for the District of Columbia Amit P. Mehta stated that the government’s privacy actions were “unconvincing”, and also commented on the public’s right to know about former military leaders’ employment with international nations. The findings revealed that many former American Generals and Officers were involved in contracts under North African and Southwest Asian governments, mostly in their defence sectors. Most served in Counseling positions, advising countries’ militaries on actions and tactics they could utilize in warfare. Salaries for these positions were often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, with the Post reporting that, “The documents show that foreign governments pay handsomely for U.S. military talent, with salary and benefit packages reaching six and, sometimes, seven figures — far more than what most American service members earn while on active duty. At the top of the scale, active four-star generals earn $203,698 a year in basic pay”. Fox News reached out to the Department of State for comment, and a Department of State spokesperson stated, “Following review and approval from the applicant’s respective military service, the Department of State reviews applications for employment with a foreign government by reservists or military retirees in accordance with 37 U.S.C. § 908, we refer you to DoD for further details on the Foreign Government Employment process.”
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