The Saudi-led coalition’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians killed dozens at the end of 2017:
A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has killed 109 civilians in air strikes in the past 10 days, including 54 people at a crowded market and 14 members of one family on a farm, the top U.N. official in the country said on Thursday.
Secretary Mattis stated last week that the U.S. would try to reduce the number of civilians killed by coalition bombing, but this is hard to take seriously when coalition forces frequently appear to bomb civilian areas on purpose. The problem with coalition attacks is not just that they can be imprecise, but that they are also often striking where no legitimate military targets are to be found. Put simply, coalition bombing kills so many civilians in Yemen because the bombs are being deliberately dropped on civilian targets. Coalition planes blow up women in wedding processions and kill poor farmers because their governments have made it abundantly clear that they have blatant disregard for civilian lives in Yemen, and no amount of training provided by the U.S. is going to change that.
Mattis’ emphasis on U.S. training of coalition pilots also distracts from the real problem with ongoing U.S. involvement in the war. If the U.S. is providing refueling, arms, and intelligence to the coalition so that they can conduct this war, and our government continues to do this without reservation, then it is making these attacks on civilians possible. The quickest and best way for our government to reduce the number of Yemeni civilians killed by the coalition is to withhold all U.S. military assistance from the coalition. The fact that this isn’t entertained as a possibility tells us everything we need to know about how serious the administration is when it comes to reducing the number of civilians that the Saudis and their allies kill in Yemen.