The State Department’s annual human rights report whitewashes Saudi war crimes in Yemen:
In the section on Saudi Arabia, the State Department pared down language on the effects of its U.S.-backed bombing campaign in the Yemeni civil war and misquoted reporting from human rights watchdogs, according to Raed Jarrar, a Middle East expert with Amnesty International.
The report, Jarrar says, “sugar-coats” Amnesty International and other nongovernmental organizations in writing “some coalition airstrikes caused disproportionate collateral damage.” Amnesty’s actual reporting says the Saudi bombing campaign constituted serious violations that could be amount to war crimes.
“I thought to myself, how dare you misquote us in the report,” he tells Foreign Policy. “That’s not our language at all, and it was obviously changed for political motives.”
The Trump administration is not the first to indulge the Saudis and their allies in the war on Yemen, but U.S. support for the war has increased and criticism of the coalition has waned since Trump took office. Unfortunately, the administration has every incentive to minimize or deny Saudi coalition crimes in Yemen because the U.S. has been enabling their bombing campaign and supporting their blockade for three years.
On Friday, 20 Yemeni civilians were slaughtered by a coalition airstrike when they were driving near Taiz. Last week, coalition strikes destroyed a water system that displaced people relied on for clean drinking water. Earlier this month, more than a dozen displaced Yemenis were blown up for daring to step outside. Attacks like these happen on a regular basis, and U.S. support for the coalition helps make them possible.
Our government has been aiding and abetting Saudi coalition war crimes for three years straight. The administration doesn’t want people knowing that, and that is why the State Department’s report says nothing about these crimes. There is no possible justification for our continued support for the bombing campaign. Continued military assistance to governments that commit such crimes is a disgrace that ought to be halted at once.