Above Photo: The Prison In The Houthi Rebel Stronghold Of Saada. (Agence France-Presse / Getty Images)
The Saudi Coalition Has Massacred Civilians From The Air Many Times In The Last Seven Years, But They Have Never Faced A Single Sanction For Their Crimes.
A Saudi coalition airstrike on a prison killed at least 60 people and wounded at least 100 more in northern Yemen as part of the coalition’s reprisal attacks after the Houthis claimed drone and missile attacks that hit targets in Abu Dhabi earlier this week:
At least three children are among the dozens of people killed Friday, the humanitarian organization Save the Children said in a statement on Twitter. It noted that “the true number is feared to be higher.”
This follows coalition airstrikes in Sanaa that killed at least 20 civilians. The coalition response to the Abu Dhabi attacks has been consistent with the way they have waged the war from the beginning: reckless and indiscriminate bombing that slaughters civilians. The AP reports on the aftermath of the bombing:
“The initial casualties report from Saada is horrifying,” said Gillian Moyes, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen. “Migrants seeking better lives for themselves and their families, Yemeni civilians injured by the dozens, is a picture we never hoped to wake up to in Yemen.”
Of course, this is a picture that we keep waking up to over and over because the coalition governments are never held accountable and pay no penalty for their outrages. They still receive U.S. support and weapons, and they evidently have no need to worry that relations with the U.S. will worsen if they keep pummeling Yemen with U.S.-made weapons. Once again, the people of Yemen are made to suffer as the coalition lashes out blindly. There were also reports yesterday and today that a coalition airstrike in Hodeidah had knocked out Internet service throughout the country, which has cut off Yemenis outside the country from contact with their friends and relatives.
Last year, the Saudi government lobbied to kill off the independent U.N. monitoring group that had been established to track the war crimes committed by all parties. The Saudi coalition always opposed the creation of this group because they did not want their crimes to be exposed, and in the months since the group ceased to exist coalition airstrikes have significantly increased in frequency. The Yemen Data Project has been tracking coalition airstrikes since the war began, and they reported this week on the increase:
Yemen Data Project recorded a surge in air raids* and civilian casualties in the Saudi-led air war in Yemen following the UN Human Rights Council vote in October 2021 that brought to an end the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) on Yemen.
The Biden administration was quick to condemn that attacks in Abu Dhabi, which killed three civilians. Regrettably, they have had little or nothing to say about the many far worse attacks on civilians by the coalition over the last year, including the most recent bombings in the last week. The Saudi coalition has massacred civilians from the air many times in the last seven years, but they have never faced a single sanction for their crimes against Yemenis and they rarely face consequences of any kind from their weapons suppliers.
As I wrote in my column today, the UAE is calling for the Houthis to be re-designated as terrorists by the United States, and Biden says that he is considering it. Doing that would be a horrible mistake, and it would condemn many more innocent Yemenis to death from starvation and disease. It is bad enough that the Biden administration has gone back to business as usual with these despotic regimes, but it would be inexcusable to cater to their wishes and condemn Yemen to a deeper famine.