Mass Murder of Civilians in Yemen "Made in USA"

September 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bombs—“made in the USA”—are falling on thousands of Yemeni civilians as they herd goats and sheep, farm their fields, shop at city markets, work at factories, attend schools, or simply are asleep in their beds. Hundreds of buildings are being destroyed, with civilians buried in the rubble. Children scream in agony as cluster munitions spread destruction and death. More than 4,500 have been killed since the bombing began on March 26 of this year, more than 1,000 of them civilians, including hundreds of children, and at least 23,500 have been wounded.

Rubble in Yemen from U.S. backed-Saudi Arabian air strike, September 8, 2015. Photo: AP

Yet another form of the horror occurring daily in Yemen are the so-called “double tap” strikes, where bombs are dropped and then, when people come to help those hit, they themselves are bombed. Iona Craig in The Intercept writes of one such attack where a bomb was dropped on a group of more than 100 men who had come to trade animals and goods at a market, with at least 50 of them killed. One witness said: “After 50 it was hard to tell... The rest were all body parts. People cut to pieces. What parts belonged to who? We couldn’t tell. Some were animal parts. Some were human.” Minutes after the bombing, as rescuers and bystanders moved to assist the wounded, another bomb was dropped, killing at least 35 more.

But that still is not all. Add to the terror from the skies a naval blockade of Yemen’s ports in the Gulf of Aden, creating major shortages of food, medical supplies, and fuel. The United Nations World Food Programme estimates that 13 million people, half of Yemen’s total population, are hungry, and six million are on the brink of starvation. Other relief agencies report that 15 million Yemenis lack access to basic health care, and that four out of five—nearly 21 million people—require humanitarian aid. Many are fleeing Yemen, joining the millions of other refugees driven from their Middle East and other homelands that are being crushed or ripped apart.

Mass Murder “Made in USA”

Who is responsible for all of this? There is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which spearheads a coalition of nine Arab states dropping the bombs and carrying out the blockade. The Saudi regime is attempting to re-establish its domination over Yemen, to restore there the dictatorial Saudi-backed president who was overthrown and forced to flee Yemen late last year by tribal Houthi rebels from the north of Yemen bordering Saudi Arabia and who now control large parts of the country, including the capital, and who the Saudis say are politically and militarily supported by Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, Iran.

The Saudis and their coalition partners deny that their bombings are deliberately targeting civilians, even though many of the bombs are falling far from military targets. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch documents a dozen air strikes in a five-week period that killed 59 civilians in the Houthi stronghold of Saada City in northern Yemen, destroying or damaging homes, five markets, a school, and a gas station where people were lining up to get fuel. And there is no evidence at all that these sites were being used for military purposes. These and many other such air strikes constitute collective punishment of Yemenis living in Houthi-controlled areas. Such collective punishment is a violation of international humanitarian law, which states that civilians and civilian structures can never be deliberate targets of attack.

But the question of who is responsible for this collective punishment and the terrorist horrors coming down on the people of Yemen only starts with the role of the Saudi coalition. The U.S. supplies the planes and bombs, provides the “logistics” and “intel” that guide where the bombs are dropped, and has the blood of innocent Yemeni people on its hands. The vast majority of the weapons—the jet planes and the bombs (including internationally banned cluster bombs)—being used to slaughter and maim the Yemeni people were made in and supplied by the U.S. And the Saudi-led naval blockade is supported by seven U.S. warships in the Gulf of Aden, with more than 2,000 U.S. Marines aboard. In short, the slaughter of innocent civilians is fundamentally “made in USA.”

It is unclear how much the slaughter in Yemen was “greenlighted” in advance by the U.S., or whether the Saudis launched this assault without extensive consultation with the rulers of the U.S. based on their own conflict with Iran and other factors. But whatever the case, the U.S. has from the beginning, and increasingly, backed this massacre militarily and diplomatically.

The relationship between the U.S. and their junior partners-in-crime—the viciously oppressive Islamic fundamentalist Saudi rulers—is a key element of U.S. domination of a region that is a hotspot of contention between reactionary global and regional powers. And so the U.S. is sticking by and backing the Saudis militarily and diplomatically, regardless of what new and even worse conflicts and chaos the Saudi/U.S. crimes set in motion.

But the central role of the U.S. in support of the Saudi-led coalition is largely covered up by the mainstream U.S. media which, while reporting on U.S. military support for the Saudi coalition, usually fails to bring out the role of the U.S. when it comes to the deaths of thousands of civilians. For instance, in the New York Times article on September 13, the horrors coming down on Yemeni civilians is described in some detail. At the same time, the U.S. role in this is muted.

On March 4, the king of Saudi Arabia sat down with President Obama in the White House, and when the talks were over, they jointly announced the U.S. will soon finalize a $1 billion arms deal with the Saudis—on top of the more than $90 billion in military aid provided by the U.S. to the Saudi regime between October 2010 and October 2014.

This is blood on the hands of the rulers of the U.S.

STOP wars of empire, armies of occupation, and crimes against humanity!


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