Bombing of Yemen falls on deaf ears

It is time to challenge Saudi Arabia and stop the violence against the Yemenis.

Justin Yun, Writer

An estimated 6,200 Yemenis have been killed by the current Yemeni civil war often referred to as the “forgotten war.” Western governments including the United States need to stop providing weapons and logistical support to Saudi Arabia who has been actively engaged in the war since 2015. Saudi Arabia’s reckless bombing campaign has killed thousands and the naval blockade on Yemen has displaced millions who are in dire need of food and medical aid.

an unacceptable situation

Civil war broke out when rebels from the Shia-led religious-political group called the Houthis ousted Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi from the country on January 22, 2015. A Saudi-led coalition comprised of mainly Gulf monarchies continues to carry out airstrikes with fighter jets and bombs purchased from the U.S. and the U.K. in an attempt to drive out the rebels who have received support from Iran.

The intervention has been described as a humanitarian disaster and civilian casualties continue to increase as the U.S. provides logistical support and intelligence to the coalition. This is unacceptable. Western governments should stop providing weapons such as cluster bombs to countries like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia would not be able to continue their brutal bombing campaign if their supply of weapons is cut. An independent investigation by the United Nations also needs to be established to record atrocities carried out by all parties involved in the war.

violating the laws of war

Saudi warplanes continue to indiscriminately bomb the Yemeni civilian population in an attempt to drive out Houthi rebels who have overthrown a Saudi-backed regime. The casualties have been devastating. On January 10, 2016 the Shiara Hospital in northern Yemen was struck by a projectile that killed five people. The hospital was supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders and was the third medical facility supported by the organization to be struck by airstrikes since the war’s inception. Just last month, airstrikes by the Gulf states killed 97 people including 25 children when bombs was dropped on a crowded marketplace.

The Saudi airstrikes violation the laws of war since they target the civilian population. A report by the Human Rights Watch has criticized Saudi Arabia for using 2,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs provided by the U.S. to attack civilians. A U.K. based NGO called the Campaign Against Arms Trade has also criticized the Cameron administration for approving arms export licenses to companies selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. Saudi suppliers include Textron — one of four companies in the world that still manufacture the controversial cluster bomb that has been outlawed by 119 nations because of the indiscriminate harm it can bring to civilians during war.

challenging the war profiteers

Anyone familiar with middle-eastern politics knows the American war industry made an immense fortune selling weapons to the Gulf monarchy since the late 1970s. It does not matter to U.S. geopolitical interests if the royal family calls for public executions or exports extreme forms of Islam such as Wahhabism to surrounding neighbors. After all, this is a country the U.S. teamed up with to fund the Afghan Mujahideen and Osama Bin Laden’s allies during the 1970s.

Stopping the war means dismantling the military-industrial complex and relinquishing Saudi Arabia as a Western protectorate. It is to challenge the war profiteers who benefit off the suffering of others.

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