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Both Saudi Arabia and the United States Are Probably Guilty of War Crimes in Yemen

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On August 9 of last year, warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition bombed a school bus near a market in the northern Yemeni town of Dahyan, killing 54 people, 44 of them children. After interviewing more than a dozen witnesses and survivors, Human Rights Watch called the attack an “apparent war crime” because “there was no evident military target in the market at the time.” The munition used by the Saudis was supplied by the United States—a 500-pound laser-guided bomb made by Lockheed Martin.

As it has done repeatedly when its air strikes kill civilians, the Saudi coalition at first insisted that it had attacked a legitimate military target. On August 11, Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the United Nations claimed that the strike had “targeted Houthi leaders who were responsible for recruiting and training young children, and then sending them to battlefields.” It did not provide evidence to support these claims. Finally, after growing international condemnation, on September 1, the Saudis acknowledged that the attack was unjustified and vowed to “hold those who committed mistakes” accountable.

In an interview with Axios in November, President Donald Trump said the Saudis and their allies did not know how to use American weapons properly. Asked if he was bothered that the Saudis had blown up a school bus with a US-made bomb, Trump responded: “Bother’s not strong enough. That was basically people that didn’t know how to use the weapon, which is horrible.” He called the bus attack a “horror show” and promised to take up the matter with Saudi leaders. “I’ll be talking about a lot of things with the Saudis,” Trump added, “but certainly I wouldn’t be having people that don’t know how to use the weapons shooting at buses with children.”

Trump’s muddled answer reflected a narrative that has been gaining traction for years among US officials and in sectors of the Western media: that the Saudis and their allies in the Yemen war, especially the United Arab Emirates, are killing civilians and destroying infrastructure by mistake. But this is not true. The Saudi coalition has targeted civilians and the country’s infrastructure by design since it intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015. It’s not that the Saudis and their allies don’t know how to use American-made weapons or need help in choosing targets—they’re using them as intended. And American officials have known this for years.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !