Derek Davison criticizes the draft U.N. resolution for ignoring the Saudi-led coalition’s crimes and the Western governments that have made those crimes possible:
The draft resolution’s many silences are deafening. They have to do not only with the Trump administration’s obsessively anti-Iran Middle East policy, but also with the fact that the United States has aided and abetted almost all of the war crimes noted above. An honest appraisal of the many atrocities that have been visited upon Yemen over the past three years would certainly put America at the top of the list for condemnation, and so naturally the US government wants to ignore those crimes and point the finger at Iran instead.
The U.S. is deeply complicit in the wrecking of Yemen, as I have said many times before, and so it has made a point of helping to whitewash the crimes of the Saudis and their allies for the last three years. This was the policy under Obama, and it has been the policy under Trump for the last year. Given his otherwise reflexive hostility to everything associated with Obama, it is remarkable that Trump has chosen to continue and add to the disgraceful Obama policy that is objectively the most harmful and destructive one inherited by the new administration. Leave it to Trump to embrace the one thing Obama did that was absolutely indefensible while going out of his way to attack the few good things he did in the realm of foreign policy.
The administration’s Iran obsession first caused it to view the war on Yemen as a way to hurt Iran. That was wrong in several ways. It exaggerated the extent of Iran’s involvement, it reflected the Trump administration’s complete misunderstanding of the conflict, and it bought into the Saudis’ propaganda without question. Thanks to their distorted view of the war and encouraged by their disastrous embrace of the Saudis, they have increased U.S. support for the bombing campaign with horrible consequences for the civilian population. As Davison notes, the coalition bombing campaign has not only been indiscriminate in its attacks, but has involved deliberately targeting civilians as well:
Among many other examples, the UN report found that the Saudi-led coalition is deliberately targeting civilian populations in its airstrikes. Investigators studied 10 coalition airstrikes in 2017 that caused at least 157 deaths and found that all but one of them targeted civilian structures: “five residential buildings, two civilian vessels, a market, a motel and a Government of Yemen forces location.” Contrary to repeated Saudi assurances that its forces do not target civilians, the investigators argued that “the use of precision-guided weapons is a strong indicator that the intended targets were those affected by the air strikes” and that “in all cases investigated, there was no evidence that the civilians in, or near this infrastructure, who are prima facie immune from attack, had lost their civilian protection.”
Providing the coalition with precision munitions obviously does nothing to prevent civilian casualties when coalition forces repeatedly choose to strike civilian targets. Continuing to arm the Saudis and their allies under these circumstances amounts to knowingly facilitating the unlawful killing of noncombatants. Likewise, refueling the planes that launch these attacks in the air makes it easier for them to carry out more bombings more often. All of this makes the U.S. a party to the conflict and implicates the U.S. in the wrongdoing of its clients.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has also been determined to make Iran the only culprit deserving of condemnation or criticism despite the vastly greater role of the Saudis, Emiratis, and other clients in destroying the country and escalating the conflict. This is why the U.S. and its allies on the Security Council are fixated on alleged Iranian violations of an embargo while ignoring truly grave crimes and atrocities carried out by coalition forces. The coalition blockade itself represents a far more destructive and despicable violation of international law than any alleged missile transfers, and yet it goes unmentioned and unpunished. The longer that the Saudis and their allies are allowed to do these things with impunity, the longer the conflict will drag on and the more innocent Yemenis will die from preventable causes.