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Congressman: “Stop the Madness” of Saudi Bombing in Yemen


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#1 cade

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 01:29 AM

A Congressman Campaigns to “Stop the Madness” of U.S. Support for Saudi Bombing in Yemen


excerpts:

FOR MONTHS, A CALIFORNIA congressman has been trying to get Obama administration officials to reconsider U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And for months, he has been given the runaround.

Ted Lieu, a Democrat representing Los Angeles County, served in the Air Force and is a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. The brutal bombing of civilian areas with U.S.-supplied planes and weapons has led him to act when most of his colleagues have stayed silent.

“I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,” he told The Intercept. “You can’t kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients — those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians,” he said. “So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.”

<...>

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented a slew of war crimes committed by the coalition. Both released reports on incidents in which the coalition bombed civilian areas with cluster bombs that were manufactured in the U.S., U.K., and Brazil. Those munitions are banned by an international treaty signed by 119 countries. (The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not signatories.)

A report released by a U.N. panel of experts in February offered a more detailed glimpse into the sheer horror. It documented “that the coalition had conducted air strikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law, including camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sana’a, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes.”

In June, Lieu, who serves on the House’s oversight and budget committee, joined Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., in introducing H.J. Res. 90, a bill that would bar the transfer of air-to-ground munitions from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia. Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., have also been critical of U.S. support for the bombing, and introduced the Senate companion to the legislation, S.J. Res. 32.

Both of the bills were referred to their respective chambers’ foreign affairs committees, where they still sit.
On Aug. 8, the U.S. State Department announced to Congress that it had approved a $1.15 billion sale of up to 153 tanks, hundreds of machine guns and more to the kingdom – on top of the approximately $110 billion in arms deals the Obama administration has done in the past. Lieu applauded Paul for pressuring fellow lawmakers to vote against the deal.

Lieu plans “to continue working with a bipartisan group of members to raise the alarm in light of continued Saudi airstrikes on civilians and the newly announced U.S. arms sales,” he said. “We should not be selling Saudi Arabia even more weapons as a result of the carnage that is happening in Yemen.”

“The fact that the administration is even proposing another arms sale suggests to me that the administration is, at best, callously indifferent to the mass amount of civilians dying as a result of the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing.”

<...>

Lieu warned the U.S. support could backfire. “By aiding a coalition that is killing civilians, the U.S. is going to create another generation of people who hate the U.S. and who are going to want to do very bad things to us,” he said.

Indeed, if anyone has benefitted from Yemen being pounded to rubble, it has been extremist groups. Secretary of Defense Carter and other U.S. government officials warned as early as April 2015 that, in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had “seized the opportunity of the disorder there and the collapse of the central government.”

A year later, Reuters released a detailed report showing “How Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen has made al-Qaeda stronger — and richer.” The Pentagon even sent a small number of U.S. ground troops into Yemen in April and May, it says to help fight AQAP.

ISIS has also exploited the chaos in Yemen (as it has in Libya, in the wake of the 2011 NATO regime change). Extreme violence, grinding poverty and increasing desperation has pushed Yemenis into the arms of extremists.

Lieu said he worries that the adverse effects of this conflict could be felt for years to come. “It’s actually creating more terrorists by killing all these civilians,” he said.

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Northern Yemen: MSF evacuates staff following indiscriminate bombings, unreliable assurances by Saudi-led coalition

Following the August 15 aerial bombing of Abs Hospital in Yemen’s Hajjah Governorate, which killed 19 people and injured 24, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has decided to evacuate its staff from the hospitals it supports in Saada and Hajjah governorates in Northern Yemen, concretely Haydan, Razeh, Al Gamouri, Yasnim hospitals in Saada and Abs and Al Gamouri hospitals in Hajjah. The attack on the Abs hospital is the fourth and deadliest on any MSF-supported facility during this war and here have been countless attacks on other health facilities and services all over Yemen.

Since the suspension of the peace talks between the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) and the Houthi forces in Kuwait 11 days ago, the SLC has resumed an intensified campaign in Northern Yemen.

Over the last 8 months, MSF has met with high ranking SLC officials on two occasions in Riyadh to secure humanitarian and medical assistance for Yeminis, as well as to seek assurances that attacks on hospitals would end. Aerial bombings have however continued, despite the fact that MSF has systematically shared the GPS coordinates of hospitals in which we work with the parties involved in the conflict. Coalition officials repeatedly state that they honor international humanitarian law, yet this attack shows a failure to control the use of force and to avoid attacks on hospitals full of patients. MSF is neither satisfied nor reassured by the Saudi-led coalition's statement that this attack was a mistake.

Edited by cade, 23 August 2016 - 01:32 AM.


#2 cade

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 02:50 PM

From the conservative National Review:

Trump’s Yemen Policy Is Immoral and Counterproductive

Quote

Slaughter of the Houthis, indiscriminate bombing, famine, cholera — as recompense to the Saudis for the Iran deal?

In his final year in office, President Obama’s foreign policy featured the bombing of seven Islamic countries by the U.S. military. Despite fears (and hopes) that President Trump would withdraw America from the world stage and institute a fortress-America foreign policy, the new guard has put Obama’s foreign policy on autopilot. The most significant adjustment Trump made was to give more discretion to his generals. The rate of bombing has increased in all seven nations.

Nowhere is this policy more craven and disastrous than in Yemen, where the U.S. has backed Saudi Arabia’s crusade to re-install Sunni general Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in power. The Saudis say they cannot abide a Yemen controlled by Houthis, adherents of the Zayd sect of Shia Islam, who rose up to stake their claim in a government that had excluded them from power. It is another civil war, like Syria’s, in which the U.S. seeks to aid the overthrow of a Shia-led government, without also making the local branches of al-Qaeda the main beneficiaries of the subsequent power vacuum. The Saudis are much less discriminating about these things.

For more than two years the U.S. has provided serious logistical support and intelligence to the Saudis. Late in Obama’s term, a small number of special operations forces were put on the ground in Yemen. Trump significantly increased the pace of bombing in March of this year, dropping more payload in one week than the Obama administration had dropped in Yemen in any one year. The Saudi campaign has featured indiscriminate bombing — including of hospitals and food-production facilities — along with the use of U.S.-provided cluster bombs.

...
It’s a conflict whose human cost makes a lie of every moral sentiment deployed to justify American action in the Middle East. Millions of Yemeni are displaced by this war. Saudi blockades have led to the worst famine conditions in the world, and famine conditions have led to the worst cholera outbreak in decades, affecting some 300,000. We are not horrified by the slaughter; we are merely horrified at displeasing our ally Saudi Arabia. This war makes a lie of moralized U.S. foreign-policy rhetoric nearly everywhere. We are supposed to be aghast that the Putin government backs a “butcher” such as Assad, while we help the Saudis bomb hospitals and effect a policy of attrition through starvation in one of the poorest nations on earth? Wars have real moral costs, and those in Yemen are particularly high.

U.S. DOUBLED FUEL SUPPORT FOR SAUDI BOMBING CAMPAIGN IN YEMEN AFTER DEADLY STRIKE ON FUNERAL

Quote

Last October, an airstrike in Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition hit a funeral, killing more than 130 people and drawing global condemnation. Yet in the months following that strike, the United States doubled the amount of fuel it provided to coalition jets, according to figures obtained from the U.S. military. The numbers underline the fact that U.S. support for the campaign has continued and even increased despite growing attention to civilian casualties and alleged war crimes by the coalition.

But the House of Representatives just passed over the chance to vote on legislation that would have tracked the fuel the Pentagon gives to the Saudi coalition and prohibited refueling of coalition aircraft unless the Pentagon could assure Congress that subsequent missions wouldn’t hit civilians or targets contained on no-strike lists.


The 10,000 death toll conservatively estimated by the UN as of January only counted violent deaths from the war (an estimate further constrained by the very limited access of investigators, in part due to Saudi Arabia's blockade). Far more have died from starvation and preventable diseases greatly exacerbated by the war. 50% of Yemen's population is under 16. The UN estimated that 63,000 children died in Yemen in 2016 "of preventable causes often linked to malnutrition." Rates of "severe acute malnutrition among children tripled between 2014 to 2016 to 460,000 children. "The under-5 mortality rate has increased to the point that we estimate that in 2016 at least 10,000 more children died of preventable diseases,"

#3 sierraleone

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:03 PM

:(

I did know about the seemingly indiscriminate attacks, the blockades causing hunger and subsequently disease outbreaks… If Americans wonder why parts of the world think poorly (or worse) of America this, and examples likes this, are why. Even if they are not directly involved in the conflict, supporting regimes like that of Saudi Arabia that carries out these policies and actions….
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


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