Yemen

As the brutal murder of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi regime dominates headlines, Khury Petersen-Smith takes a look at Show the US is backing Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

Twenty days after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) bombed a school bus full of children in Yemen in August, United States Defense Secretary James Mattis hosted officials from the two US allies at the Pentagon.

As Yemeni journalists reported that at least 15 civilians were killed in Saudi airstrikes in the port city of Hodeidah on September 12, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially certified that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose three-year assault on the country has been made possible by US support, are doing all they can to avoid civilian casualties.

Two years of the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen has caused a disastrous humanitarian situation in the poorest Arab country. The conflict is increasingly stoking anti-American sentiment among Yemenis, many of whom see the U.S. government as a killer using Saudi hands. 

The conflict began in 2015, when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned and went into exile, and Saudi Arabia led an armed coalition allegedly to restore Hadi’s legitimacy. Hadi now leads a government-in-exile while the rebel Houthi movement surges in Yemen.

The world media’s attention has focused on the very real humanitarian crisis gripping hurricane-ravaged nations in the Caribbean and regions of the United States, but the “world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe” (in the words of The New York Times in August) is in Yemen.

The unfolding disaster in Yemen is entirely human-made, is worsening and is the result of policies pursued by the United States and Britain.

An air strike by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition on a hotel near the Yemeni capital Sanaa killed dozens of people on August 23, multiple news agencies have reported. It came as a humanitarian crisis extended its grip on the impoverished nation.

The United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on July 19 that an airstrike carried out by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed 20 civilians — including women and children — who were fleeing violence in their home province.

The agency said in statement: “Most of those killed are believed to be from the same family.”

Under President Barack Obama, the US acknowledged killing between 2867 and 3138 people in strikes in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

In the waning days of his presidency, Obama took some steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, including providing the total estimated death toll. However, a new report by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies says that the US is still lagging in providing a full accounting of its drone program.

The US is looking to increase support for the Saudi Arabia-led war on Yemen, officials said on April 19 — a move some see as another signal that President Donald Trump is itching to take the US to a new war.

Trump doubles US air strikes on Yemen

The United States administration of Donald Trump has so far carried out at least 70 air strikes in Yemen, TeleSUR English said on April 4, more than twice as many as those carried out last year under the Barck Obama administration, according to data provided by the Pentagon.

This month marks two years since the start of the Saudi-led, US-supported war on Yemen. Involving a blockade of Yemen and the consequent collapse of the nation’s economy, the war has made the prospect of famine very real.

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