Why Enabling the War on Yemen Must Stop
The New York Timesreports on the latest war crime committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen:
Airstrikes by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia hit a house south of the capital on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people who were attending a wedding party, said witnesses and a local medical worker.
Hitting civilian targets has become an only too common occurrence over the last six months of the Saudi-led bombing campaign. Proponents of providing the coalition with precision munitions like to argue that such weapons will make Saudi targeting more accurate, but that misses the point. The problem in this conflict is that the Saudis and their allies repeatedly strike targets that have no possible military value and they appear to do so on purpose. This is just the latest example in a well-documented pattern of coalition airstrikes hitting civilian targets.
It is because of attacks like this one that Amnesty International has called on both the American and British government to halt weapons deliveries to the Saudis and their allies because of the use of these weapons in the commission of war crimes. Bryan Schatz summed upThe the findings of Amnesty’s report:
The Amnesty report is the result of field investigations of 13 air strikes that hit Saada, Yemen, between May and July. Fifty-nine of the 100 civilians who died in the strikes were children. “The USA and other states exporting weapons to any of the parties to the Yemen conflict have a responsibility to ensure that the arms transfers they authorize are not facilitating serious violations of international humanitarian law,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, who led the investigation.
If the U.S. and Britain have provided weapons used in the commission of war crimes, they are partly responsible for those crimes as well. For their own good and for the sake of the civilian population of Yemen, the U.S. and Britain should halt their weapons sales to the Saudis and other GCC states at war in Yemen. That won’t redress the many wrongs that have already been done, and it won’t excuse the U.S. and British support for the war to date, but it is the very least that can be done to limit the American and British role in this atrocious conflict.