Saudi-US-UK-French war crimes in Yemen, Amnesty says

The aftermath of a bombing raid by the Saudi regime on Yemen. Amnesty International say Saudi weapons that killed civilians were supplied by the US, UK and France

From daily News Line in Britain:

US, UK & France ‘complicit in possible Saudi war crimes’ – Amnesty

27th September 2019

A NEW report by Amnesty International reveals that precision-guided bombs made by the United States have been used in Saudi-led deadly airstrikes against civilians in Yemen, saying that the US, the UK and France, which provide arms to the Riyadh regime, are complicit in ‘serious violations of international law, including possible war crimes’ committed by the kingdom during the war.

In a just-released report, the UK-based rights group said that the ordnance, manufactured by US company Raytheon, were used in a June airstrike on Yemen’s south western province of Ta’izz that killed six people, including three children.

‘It is unfathomable and unconscionable that the USA continues to feed the conveyor belt of arms flowing into Yemen’s devastating conflict,’ said Rasha Mohamed, Amnesty’s Yemen researcher.

The Amnesty International report reveals that precision-guided bombs made by the United States have been used in Saudi-led deadly airstrikes against civilians in Yemen, saying that the US, the UK and France, which provide arms to the Riyadh regime, are complicit with the violations of international law and possible war crimes committed by the kingdom during the war.

The UK-based rights group said that the ordnance, manufactured by US company Raytheon, were used in a June airstrike on Yemen’s province of Ta’izz that killed civilians.

The rights group analysed photographs of the remnants of the weapon dug out from the site of the strike by family members, concluding that the bomb that hit a residential building was a US-made 500 pound (230kg) GBU-12 Paveway II.

Mohamed lashed out at the US, the UK and France for supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition, holding them accountable for ‘human rights violations’ and ‘possible war crimes’ in Yemen.

A United Nations panel of experts has uncovered parts of British-made weapons at the site of a Saudi-led strike in the Yemeni capital.

‘Despite the slew of evidence that the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition has time and again committed serious violations of international law, including possible war crimes, the USA and other arms-supplying countries such as the UK and France remain unmoved by the pain and chaos their arms are wreaking on the civilian population,’ Mohamed said.

‘Intentionally directing attacks against civilians or civilian objects, disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians are war crimes,’ she added.

She said that the Western trio ‘share responsibility for these violations,’ by ‘knowingly’ supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition.

‘Arms-supplying states cannot bury their heads in the sand and pretend they do not know of the risks associated with arms transfers to parties to this conflict who have been systematically violating international humanitarian law,’ she said.

Stop Saudi war on people of Yemen

This 20 August 2019 video says about itself:

Children Who Survived the School Bus Attack in Yemen Are Still in Pain | Save the Children

One year after an air strike by the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition hit a school bus, killing 40 children and injuring dozens more, three of the child survivors have spoken to Save the Children of their ongoing daily physical and psychological struggle.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Saudi war on Yemen is the real outrage

SAUDI ARABIA might slam a Houthi drone attack on its oil-producing facilities as “terrorist aggression” and find sympathetic echoes in Foreign Office statements from European and Gulf governments.

It can be confident that Western governments will ape its pretence that the drone assault was some kind of unprovoked outrage, just as they have done with previous Houthi missile attacks.

This is nonsense. No particular sympathy with the Houthi cause is required to acknowledge that the drone attack is part of a war — and a war in which the devastation wrought by Saudi Arabia in its bid to crush Yemen’s Houthi movement is the real outrage.

In four years of brutal aerial bombardment, the Saudi-led coalition has launched more than 18,000 bombing raids over Yemen.

Its war was estimated by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project to have killed 56,000 Yemenis between January 2016 and October 2018, a number that will be far higher a year on.

The United Nations announced last December that Yemen would face the worst humanitarian emergency on Earth in 2019 as a result of the Saudi war and blockade, with 24 million people or 74 per cent of the entire population in need of humanitarian assistance.

Bombing raids have targeted hospitals and blown up infrastructure including water treatment and sanitation facilities and supply pipes. The cholera outbreak that has infected well over a million Yemenis in the last three years and killed well over 2,500, around 60 per cent of whom were children, is described by the executive directors of Unicef and the World Health Organisation as “the direct consequence of two years of heavy conflict.

“Collapsing health, water and sanitation systems have cut off 14.5 million people from regular access to clean water and sanitation, increasing the ability of the disease to spread.

“Rising rates of malnutrition have weakened children’s health and made them more vulnerable to disease.”

The military results of this horrendous onslaught have been negligible. Saudi forces have not displaced the Houthi movement from any significant territory. Yet the conflict continues, Riyadh’s deep pockets ensuring it can continue to drop bombs on its victims indefinitely.

Some of the standout massacres of the conflict — such as the bombing of a warehouse in a residential area in May that killed 15 children according to Human Rights Watch, or the bomb dropped on a schoolbus on August 9 2018 that put an end to the lives of 40 six-to-11-year-olds on a school trip and the 11 adults accompanying them — have led to brief international condemnation of Saudi Arabia.

The discovery that the bomb that killed the schoolchildren had been sold to the Saudis by the United States, combined with the backlash to the murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, almost certainly on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, led the US Senate to pass a resolution against any further role in the conflict.

It shames Britain’s government that, like that of France, it continues not only to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in these killing fields but provides Riyadh with active logistical and targeting support.

So far, few countries have echoed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s unsubstantiated claim that the Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia was actually the work of Iran, though Boris Johnson’s record of fawning on the Donald Trump administration means we must be ready to resist any push to exploit this incident to ignite the new Middle East conflagration Washington seems so set on.

Our immediate priority is more urgent still: to demand a complete halt to British support for this murderous war and an end to all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and to build a peace movement strong enough to deliver on those demands.

Trump exploits drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities to threaten war against Iran: here.

Without presenting a shred of evidence, the Trump administration charged Tehran with responsibility for attacks that provide a pretext for another US war in the Middle East: here.

The threat that Washington will unleash a major new war in the Middle East continued to escalate Tuesday as US intelligence and military officials—speaking not for attribution—claimed to have established that last Saturday’s attacks on Saudi Arabian oil installations were launched from southwestern Iran. Not a shred of evidence has been provided to substantiate this charge, and, according to Pentagon officials who spoke anonymously to National Public Radio, the evidence claimed is “circumstantial,” consisting of satellite surveillance imagery showing activity at supposed Iranian launch sites in advance of the attack on Abqaiq, the world’s largest crude oil processing facility, and the Khurais oil field, both in eastern Saudi Arabia: here.

US President Donald Trump has been presented with list of targets for US military strikes against Iran as US imperialism draws ever closer to initiating an armed conflict that could prove the antechamber to a third world war: here.

United Nations condemn Saudi crimes in Yemen

Hospital bombed in Yemen using UK and French missiles

This photo shows a hospital bombed in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition using British and French missiles.

From daily News Line in Britain:


5th September 2019

THE UNITED States, Britain and France may be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by arming and providing intelligence and logistics support to the Saudi-led coalition which starves civilians as a war tactic, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

UN investigators have compiled a secret list of possible international war crimes suspects, drawn from their latest report into violations during the four-year conflict between a coalition of Arab states and the Houthi movement that controls Yemen’s capital.

The investigators, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2017, said they had ‘identified, where possible, individuals who may be responsible for international crimes’, and had provided the confidential list to UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

If confirmed by an independent and competent court, many of the violations identified ‘may result in individuals being held responsible for war crimes,’ they said in a statement.

‘The international community must stop turning a blind eye to these violations and the intolerable humanitarian situation,’ said Kamel Jendoubi, who heads the ‘Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts’.

The report accused the anti-Houthi coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, of killing civilians in air strikes and deliberately denying them food in a country facing famine. …

The Houthis drove Yemen’s pro-Saudi government out of the capital Sanaa in 2014. The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Muslim states intervened the following year to restore the ousted government, a conflict that has since killed tens of thousands of people.

The prospect of famine has created what the United Nations describes as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

The UN report’s appendix lists the names of more than 160 ‘main actors’ among Saudi, Emirati and West-recognised Yemeni top brass, although it did not specify whether any of these names also figured in its list of potential suspects.

‘Individuals in the Government of Yemen and the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, may have conducted airstrikes in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and may have used starvation as a method of warfare, acts that may amount to war crimes,’ it said.

‘The legality of arms transfers by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other States remains questionable, and is the subject of various domestic court proceedings.’

It found that a Joint Incidents Assessment Team, set up by Saudi Arabia to review alleged coalition violations, had failed to hold anyone accountable for any strike killing civilians, raising ‘concerns as to the impartiality of its investigations’.

The UN panel said it had received allegations that Emirati and affiliated forces have tortured, raped and killed suspected political opponents detained in secret facilities, while Houthi forces had planted land mines.

Last Sunday, airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition hit a prison complex in southwestern Yemen, killing scores of people [Saudi coalition prisoners of war], the Houthi movement and a Red Cross official said on Sunday.

Since 2015, fighting in Yemen has claimed tens of thousands of lives and has sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Both the [Saudi puppet] Yemen government and the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the conflict in 2015 to support the West-recognised government against … Houthi rebels have refused to cooperate with the experts.

But the UN investigators said they had based their findings on more than 600 interviews with victims and witnesses, as well as documentary and open-source material.

In their second report, which they are due to present to the Human Rights Council later this month, they detailed how airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, and landmines are terrorising civilians in many parts of the country. …

‘This endemic impunity – for violations and abuses by all parties to the conflict – cannot be tolerated anymore,’ Jendoubi said in the statement.

‘Impartial and independent inquiries must be empowered to hold accountable those who disrespect the rights of the Yemeni people,’ he said.

In their report, the experts ask the Human Rights Council to allow them to continue their work to ensure the rights situation in Yemen remains on the agenda, and also to strengthen their mandate by allowing them to collect and preserve evidence of alleged violations in a bid to combat impunity.

They also called on countries to refrain from providing weapons to the different sides in the conflict.

The experts warned the US, Britain, France, Iran and others that they ‘may be held responsible for providing aid or assistance for the commission of international law violations if the conditions for complicity are fulfilled.’

In its World Report 2019, Human Rights Watch noted: ‘The armed conflict in Yemen has killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians since it began.

‘As of November 2018, 6,872 civilians had been killed and 10,768 wounded, the majority by Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

‘The actual civilian casualties are likely much higher. Thousands more have been displaced by the fighting and millions suffer from shortages of food and medical care.’

The rights group added: ‘Across the country, civilians suffer from a lack of basic services, a spiralling economic crisis, and broken governance, health, education, and judicial systems.

‘Parties to the conflict have exacerbated what the UN has called the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe, including by unlawfully impeding delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid.

‘The armed conflict has taken a terrible toll on the civilian population. The coalition has conducted scores of indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes killing thousands of civilians and hitting civilian objects in violation of the laws of war, using munitions sold by the United States, United Kingdom, and others, including widely banned cluster munitions. . . .

‘Since 2015, Human Rights Watch has documented about 90 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes, which have hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques. Some of these attacks may amount to war crimes. In 2018, the coalition bombed a wedding, killing 22 people, including eight children, and in another strike bombed a bus filled with children, killing at least 26 children.

Human Rights Watch has identified remnants of US-origin munitions at the site of more than two dozen attacks, including the 2018 attacks on the wedding and the bus.

‘The Saudi-led coalition has used at least six types of widely banned cluster munitions produced in Brazil, the US, and the UK. Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and other Saudi-led coalition states are not party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.’

Human Rights Watch further noted: ‘Coalition member countries have sought to avoid international legal liability by refusing to provide information on their forces’ role in unlawful attacks.

‘By early 2018, meetings of the coalition included representatives from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco, as well as Pakistan, Djibouti, Senegal, Malaysia, and Yemen, according to the Saudi state news agency itself.

The United States has been a party to the conflict and may be complicit in unlawful coalition attacks in which it took part. The US has provided in-air refuelling and other tactical support to coalition forces, but has not provided detailed information on the extent and scope of its engagement. In November, the US said it was ending in-air refuelling to the coalition.

‘The UK has provided training and weaponry to members of the coalition.

‘The US, UK, France, and others have continued to sell munitions and other arms to Saudi Arabia and other coalition states, despite the coalition’s frequent unlawful attacks. A number of US and UK lawmakers have challenged their governments’ continuation of these sales. UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia face ongoing litigation.’