British war crimes in Iraq, Yemen, Amnesty says

This video says about itself:

Britain continues to back Saudi bombing of Yemen, despite US stopping arms sales

Stopped temporarily, by the United States Obama administration. Since resumed with a vengeance by the Trump administration.

15 December 2016

The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has rejected calls to follow America’s lead and stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is spearheading a bombing campaign in Yemen.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

UK government must answer war crimes charges in both Iraq and Yemen

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has condemned UK war crimes in both Yemen and in Iraq. In the Yemen UK-supplied weaponry to Saudi Arabia has been used to kill and maim tens of thousands of civilians, with many, many more starving, and with over 100,000 struck down by cholera.

In Iraq, the air bombardment of western Mosul by the UK and US air forces has killed tens of thousands of civilians and made many more homeless, as the UK and US practice the principle that a mass killing of civilians is inevitable if IS [ISIS] is to be destroyed in the city.

Amnesty called the UK court ruling that the British government is entitled to continue authorising arms supplies to Saudi Arabia a potentially deadly setback to Yemeni civilians. The High Court in London dismissed a legal challenge from the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which claimed that such arms transfers should not take place because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen’s armed conflict.

Amnesty commented: ‘This is a deeply disappointing outcome . . . Extensive and credible reports, including Amnesty International’s own research on the ground in Yemen, have in our view demonstrated that such weapons have been used to commit serious violations, including war crimes, against civilians in Yemen and that – in light of the clear risk – authorising further transfers would be counter to the UK’s obligations under international law.’

Amnesty also accused the UK and US governments of carrying out war crimes in Iraq with its mass bombing of Western Mosul killing thousands of civilians. Amnesty’s report, ‘The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul’, says bombardments by Iraqi and US-led coalition forces have killed a ‘huge number’ of civilians and that ‘Iraqi and coalition forces fighting Islamic State (IS) [ISIS] militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul used unnecessarily powerful weapons.’ Amnesty called for an independent commission to investigate the number of civilian deaths.

Examining hostilities in the west of the city from January to mid-May, it accused coalition forces of having failed to adapt their tactics even when it was clear that IS militants had forced civilians into areas most likely to come under attack. They used ‘imprecise weapons with wide-area effects in densely-populated urban environments’ and subjected them to a terrifying barrage of fire, the report says.

Consequently, as IS lost territory, the areas remaining under its control became increasingly crowded with civilians. ‘Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces subjected these areas to relentless attacks using explosive weapons with wide area effects. These attacks wreaked havoc, killing and injuring thousands of trapped civilians.’

Amnesty International’s research shows that IS committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes. However, it states: ‘Iraqi and coalition forces appear to have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate, disproportionate or otherwise unlawful attacks, some of which may amount to war crimes.’

‘Amnesty International calls on Iraqi and coalition forces to immediately end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. Members of the US-led coalition and the Iraqi government must conduct effective investigations into allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and ensure that victims and their families receive full reparation.’

The western media, which sought to mount a huge hue and cry over Syrian and Russian strategic bombing of military targets in Aleppo, has observed a deadly silence over the mass murder from the air by the UK and US air forces in west Mosul. Everybody knows that all this tactic will do is create the conditions for thousands of young terrorists to emerge out of the ruins to avenge the civilians that US and UK airforces have slaughtered.

British workers must demand that the UK government appear before the Court at the Hague to answer war crimes charges both in Yemen and Iraq, and also the immediate withdrawal of all UK forces from Iraq, Syria and the Middle East, and an end to the arming of the Saudi regime.

This is the way forward to a real peace in the Middle East!

The “liberation” of Mosul: Washington’s latest war crime in the Middle East: here.

US commander predicts weeks more of fighting in “liberated” Mosul: here.

One week after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed the “liberation” of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, the scale of destruction wrought during a nine-month, US-backed siege is becoming clearer, even as reports mount of collective punishment being meted out to survivors: here.

U.S. airstrikes have devastated Mosul. ISIS may be on its way out, but the Iraqi city has a long road ahead: here.

The ongoing effort of the United States to eradicate the Islamic State by aggressively launching airstrikes against targets that include non-combatants is causing significant harm to civilians in Iraq and Syria: here.

14 thoughts on “British war crimes in Iraq, Yemen, Amnesty says

  1. Thursday, 13 July 2017


    IRAQ: Battle between US-led coalition, Iraqi forces and Islamic State creates civilian catastrophe in west Mosul, says Amnesty International.

    The main findings of its report published on Tuesday At any cost: The civilian catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq, are:

    • Report sheds light on the scale of death, injury and suffering caused to civilians caught between the warring parties in Mosul
    • Islamic State deliberately trapped families in west Mosul to use as human shields
    • Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition used imprecise, explosive weapons, killing thousands of civilians. Some violations may constitute war crimes.

    The report documents how the group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) moved civilians from neighbouring villages into the zones of the battle in west Mosul, trapped them in their homes and prevented them from escaping, using them as human shields.

    Meanwhile Iraqi and coalition forces failed to take adequate measures to protect civilians, instead subjecting them to a terrifying barrage of fire from weapons that should never be used in densely populated civilian areas.

    At any cost: The civilian catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq, covers hostilities in west Mosul from January to mid-May 2017.

    Amnesty researchers interviewed 151 west Mosul residents, experts and analysts, and documented 45 attacks in total, which killed at least 426 civilians and injured more than 100, providing analysis for nine specific attacks by Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition.

    ‘The scale and gravity of the loss of civilian lives during the military operation to retake Mosul must immediately be publicly acknowledged at the highest levels of government in Iraq and states that are part of the US-led coalition,’ said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International.

    Maalouf added: ‘The horrors that the people of Mosul have witnessed and the disregard for human life by all parties to this conflict must not go unpunished. ‘Entire families have been wiped out, many of whom are still buried under the rubble today. The people of Mosul deserve to know, from their government, that there will be justice and reparation so that the harrowing impact of this operation is duly addressed.

    ‘An independent commission must immediately be established, tasked with ensuring that any instances where there is credible evidence that violations of international law took place, effective investigations are carried out, and the findings made public.’

    IS violations: forced displacement, summary killings, and use of human shields

    Since October 2016, IS has carried out a systematic campaign of forced displacement, moving thousands of civilians from neighbouring villages into areas that were still under IS control. IS then used these civilians as human shields.

    ‘Abu Haidar’, a man from the village of Tel Arbeed who was forced to move into west Mosul by IS, told Amnesty International: ‘(IS) said you must leave, or you will be killed. We were brought as human shields. They brought us to stand between them and the missiles. All of this happened just before the operation for west Mosul started… When the Iraqi forces went forward, IS fell back, and they took most of the civilians with them.’

    To prevent civilians from evacuating to safety, IS trapped people inside their homes by welding their doors shut, rigging booby traps at exits, and summarily killing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people attempting to escape.

    Mosul resident ‘Mohsen’ told Amnesty International: ‘They came to us in a pick-up truck, with a generator in the back, and then they welded shut the gap between the two doors… They did this to our door, and even worse, they did it to another house in our neighbourhood where hundreds of people were staying.’

    Another man, ‘Hasan’, witnessed how IS hanged the bodies of civilians trying to flee from electricity pylons: ‘We did not have any options. If you stayed, you would die in your house from the fighting. If you tried to run away, they would catch you and kill you, and hang your body from the electricity pylon as a warning.

    ‘Four of my neighbours were caught trying to escape, and I saw them hanging from the electricity pylon. They were left for days, just hanging there. They would hang between 15 and 50 people from the pylons.’

    The fear of being killed by IS while escaping meant that many civilians had to wait until the clashes reached their peak. Once IS fighters were busy fighting, civilians would run directly through the front lines to reach Iraqi forces.

    Violations by Iraqi forces and US-led coalition: Unlawful attacks and use of imprecise, explosive weapons

    ‘When the Iraqi forces came, the mortars and missiles came with them,’ said Mohsen. Because IS was forcing civilians to move into the fighting and preventing them from escaping, IS-controlled areas in west Mosul became more and more crowded with civilians as the battle raged on.

    Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition failed to adapt their tactics to this reality and continued to use imprecise, explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated urban environments. ‘IS’s use of people as human shields does not lessen the legal obligation of pro-government forces to protect civilians. Military planners should have taken extra care in the manner in which they used their weapons to ensure that these attacks were not unlawful,’ said Lynn Maalouf.

    Amnesty International documented a pattern of attacks in which US-led coalition and Iraqi forces appear not to have struck their intended military targets, instead killing and injuring civilians and destroying or damaging civilian objects.

    In some cases, civilian deaths and injuries appear to have resulted from a choice of weapons that was inappropriate for the circumstances or failure to take necessary precautions to verify the target was a military objective. Even in attacks that seem to have struck their intended military target, the use of what seem to be unnecessarily powerful weapons or failure to take necessary precautions resulted in needless loss of civilian lives.

    For example, on 17 March 2017 a US airstrike on the Mosul al-Jadida neighbourhood killed at least 105 civilians in order to neutralise two IS snipers. Regardless of whether – as the US Department of Defence has maintained – secondary explosions occurred, it should have been clear to those responsible that the risk posed to civilians by using a 500lb bomb was clearly excessive in relation to anticipated military advantage.

    Mohamed from al-Tenak neighbourhood, west Mosul told Amnesty International: ‘The strikes targeted the IS snipers. A strike would destroy an entire house of two storeys. They shelled during night and day. They hit so many houses. They’d hit one house and also destroy the two houses on either side. They killed a huge number of people.’

    Amnesty’s Maalouf said: ‘Iraqi forces and members of the US-led coalition must ensure that the fight against IS – not only in the fight for Mosul, but in other battles in Iraq and in Syria – is fought in a way that is consistent with international law and standards.

    ‘States engaged in this fight must not only focus on the military aspect of this fight, but also deploy in conjunction the resources needed to alleviate the incredible suffering of civilians trapped by conflict and abused by IS.’


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