A new report from the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana and the University Network for Human Rights details the use of U.S. and U.K.-made weapons in Saudi coalition attacks on civilian targets over the course of the war on Yemen:
In 25 of the assaults, investigators determined that U.S.-made munitions, including banned cluster bombs, were likely to have been used. In five of the strikes, British-made weaponry appears to have been deployed, the report said.
There were 16 airstrikes on civilian gatherings or homes, five on educational and health facilities, five on civilian businesses and one on a government cultural center.
“Our findings reinforce prior evidence demonstrating that the Saudi/UAE-led Coalition is failing to fulfill its obligations under the laws of war and repeatedly using US weapons in apparently disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks that have resulted in widespread civilian casualties and other civilian harm in Yemen,” the report said.
This report covers only 27 airstrikes from a war in which there have been more than 19,000 as of the end of January of this year, and of those the Yemen Data Project has documented that roughly a third of all airstrikes have struck civilian targets. The Mwatana/UNHR report provides important additional evidence that U.S. and U.K. weapons have been routinely used in indiscriminate attacks on Yemeni civilians, but the cases they are documenting make up the tiniest fraction of the damage that the Saudi coalition has done to Yemen’s civilian population through its bombing campaign.
The U.S. should not be providing any members of the Saudi coalition with weapons that we know will be used to commit war crimes and kill civilians, and it is imperative that Congress moves quickly to vote for an end to all U.S. support for the coalition war effort. Despite the cynical delaying tactics of House and Senate Republicans, there are enough votes in both chambers to pass a “clean” war powers resolution, and that is what needs to happen.
Christopher Preble reminded us earlier this week of the dire humanitarian crisis that has continued to worsen as the war drags on:
Meanwhile, famine has reached catastrophic levels, leading to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. An estimated 24 million of Yemen’s 28 million people need some form of assistance. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the United States have all pledged to help, but some aid workers say what they offered was too little, too late. Mohamed Abdi, director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said, “While billions are spent on bombs and weapons bringing death and destruction, much less is made available to save lives of Yemeni civilians.”
Meanwhile, Trump administration officials, including Matthew Tueller, the current ambassador to Yemen, engage in the most shameless whitewashing of Saudi, Emirati, and U.S. responsibility for creating and intensifying the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. If the U.S. is going to have any success in reining in the coalition and alleviating the horrific conditions in Yemen, members of Congress have to keep up pressure on the administration and the Saudi and Emirati governments. Yemen has been enduring almost four years of U.S.-backed war and humanitarian catastrophe, and each day that U.S. support for the war continues is another day that we are responsible for enabling countless war crimes and the crime of mass starvation.