22 More Children Killed Thursday by Saudi Airstrike in Yemen; Its Time for Congress to Rein in the S
The United Nations announced yesterday that a Saudi airstrike was responsible for the deaths of at least 22 children and and other civilians in Yemen as they fled fighting near the Red Sea port city of Al Hudaydah. This follows the deaths of dozens of schoolchildren in another Saudi attack less than two weeks ago.
The United States is facing increasing pressure to reevaluate its open-ended support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.
New York Times: "Humanitarian groups and antiwar activists have also aimed criticism at the United States, a main provider of the Saudi coalition’s weapons, intelligence, warplane refueling and guidance technology for missiles and bombs."
"The Saudis and their partners have said they aim for military targets and go out of their way to avoid civilians. But an Aug. 9 Saudi-led aerial assault that struck a school bus in northern Yemen and killed dozens, including many children, raised new doubts about the targeting."
"Congress has shown increasing concern. A defense policy bill that President Trump signed on Monday included a bipartisan provision that requires Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to certify that Saudi Arabia and a close ally, the United Arab Emirates — the two countries leading the coalition — are taking steps to prevent civilian deaths."
However, this certification process is very unlikely to convince the Trump administration to rein in the Saudi coalition. The Houthis are supported by Iran which the White House views as America's greatest threat in the Middle-east. So far, the administration has given the Saudis a free hand to defeat the rebels despite the toll on civilians.
Daniel Larison, in The American Conservative: The [Saudi] coalition’s Hodeidah offensive is forcing residents to flee by the hundreds of thousands. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over half of the city’s population of 600,000 has been uprooted and forced to flee. ....Hodeidah’s residents are caught in a nightmarish situation: if they stay, they risk bombings, starvation, and disease, and if they flee they risk all of the same things. The coalition’s blatant disregard for civilian lives puts innocent Yemenis at risk of being killed no matter where they go.
The Saudis and their allies carry out one massacre of civilians after another with impunity because they believe there is nothing they can do that will jeopardize U.S. and other Western governments’ support for their war. So far, our government has done nothing to make them doubt that assumption. It is up to members of Congress to prove them wrong.
Photo credit: Ibrahem Qasim, an earlier airstrike in Yemen