CNN has followed up its reporting on the Aug. 9 school bus massacre with an extensive investigation together with the human rights group Mwatana. They have confirmed the use of U.S.-made weapons in multiple attacks across Yemen:
Last month, a CNN investigation found remnants of a US-made bomb at the scene of an airstrike that left dozens of schoolboys dead. Now, an independent Yemen-based human rights group called Mwatana has given CNN exclusive access to a trove of documents that show fragments of US-manufactured bombs at the scene of a string of other incidents since 2015, when the civil war began. In each of those cases, civilians were either killed or put at risk.
Mwatana, which documents violations by all parties in Yemen’s conflict, used its network of trained field researchers to photograph evidence at the scene of strikes. The group consulted weapons experts to identify the weapons used from serial numbers found on the fragments. Mwatana was recognized last month with an award by US body Human Rights First.
The CNN-Mwatana report confirms what everyone following this war has known for years. American-made weapons are used by the Saudi coalition in their frequent attacks on civilian targets, and the coalition’s use of these weapons implicates the U.S. in the war crimes committed with them. Mwatana is a respected, independent human rights organization that has been working on behalf of Yemeni civilians while their political leaders have abused and failed them, and its findings should be taken seriously as evidence of the crimes being committed against Yemeni civilians with our government’s support. When confronted with the evidence of the repeated use of American-made weapons in the slaughter of innocent Yemenis, we have to demand an end to all military assistance and arms sales to the Saudis and their allies.
This report should remind us that the U.S. bears responsibility for how the weapons it sells abroad are used. The report continues:
Mwatana’s chairwoman, Radhya al-Mutawakel, told CNN that the US bore a “legal and moral responsibility for selling weapons to the Saudi-led coalition” that are worsening the conflict in Yemen.
“In more than one way and during more than one incident, remnants of American weapons have been found at the site of airstrikes that killed civilians,” she told CNN from Geneva, Switzerland. “Yemeni civilians are dying every day because of this war and you (America) are fueling this war, so stop fueling this war. It is a shame that financial interests are worth more than the blood of innocent people.”
When weapons are sold to the Saudis and other coalition governments, these sales are always rationalized as important contributions to other states’ ability to defend themselves. In this case, we know that the Saudi coalition isn’t using these weapons for the purpose of defense, but rather to pummel and destroy a neighboring country that posed no threat to them. Furthermore, we know that the arms we sell them are likely to be used in the commission of war crimes. In addition to ending U.S. involvement in the war, members of Congress should block all future arms sales to any government involved in the war on Yemen. These clients can’t be trusted to use these weapons responsibly, and they shouldn’t be permitted to acquire any more.