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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi-led coalition’

U.S. Complicit in War Crimes in Yemen: Human Rights Watch

Posted by feww on March 16, 2016

U.S. should cease selling bombs to Saudi Arabia or risk complicity in civilian deaths: HRW

United States should stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, or they could be held accountable for war crimes committed in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said.

In a letter to New York Times, Human Rights Watch’s legal and policy director said:

American support for the Saudi-led coalition, including by providing targeting assistance and air refueling of coalition warplanes, makes the United States a party to the conflict in Yemen under international law. This obligates Washington to investigate coalition airstrikes that may be war crimes for which American forces may be liable.

He added:

Given the coalition’s repeated unlawful attacks in Yemen over the last year, which Human Rights Watch and others have documented, the United States should cease selling bombs to Saudi Arabia or risk complicity in civilian deaths.

The US government is spending $255 billion annually to defend Saudi Arabia and other tyrannical monarchies in the Persian Gulf region, says a Saudi scholar in Washington.

“The United States has been spending $255 billion a year since the 1970s, an average of $255 billion a year to protect the [Persian] Gulf monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain,” said Ali al-Ahmed, a critic of the Saudi monarchy.

“This amount of money makes up 40 percent of the annual American defense budget and it’s greater than the combined budgets of the states of California and Florida,” said al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs, an independent think tank in Washington, DC.

“I think it’s really a way for America and the American people to stand against their government policy of supporting the tyrannical and absolute monarchies in the [Persian] Gulf countries,” he added

Under the Obama administration, the United States has entered a record $50 billion in new arms sales agreements with the Saudis.

US weapons sold to Saudi Arabia in 2015

  • $7.8 billion   between May and September
  • $11.25 billion  in October
  • $1.29 billion in November  [Source: HRW]

Yemen Causalities

About 8,200 civilians, including 1,500 children, have been killed or injured [2,800 killed and  5,400 wounded] since violence escalated in March 2015 according to the UN, with many of the deaths caused by explosive weapons including missiles, large aerial bombs, artillery shells, rockets, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“we are a killer nation, at home and abroad”

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Genocide in Yemen

Posted by feww on February 15, 2016

Saudi-led coalition exposing Yemeni population to a ‘deadly combination of violence, disease and deprivation’

The following statement is attributable to the UNICEF Representative in Yemen

 “With no end in sight to the deadly conflict in Yemen, nearly 10 million children inside the country are now facing a new year of pain and suffering.

“Continuous bombardment and street fighting are exposing children and their families to a deadly combination of violence, disease and deprivation.

“The direct impact of the conflict on children is hard to measure. The statistics confirmed by the UN (747 children killed and another 1,108 injured since March last year; 724 children pressed into some form of military activity) tell only part of the story. But they are shocking enough in themselves.

“The broader effects of the violence on innocent civilians extend much further. Children make up at least half of the 2.3 million people estimated to have been displaced from their homes, and of the more than 19 million people struggling to get water on a daily basis; 1.3 million children under five face the risk of acute malnutrition and acute respiratory tract infections. And at least 2 million children cannot go to school.

“Public services like health, water and sanitation have been decimated and cannot meet the ever-increasing needs of a desperate population. Few of the 7.4 million children requiring protection (including psycho-social support to help deal with the effects of their exposure to violence) will actually receive it.

“The longer-term consequences of all this for Yemen — which was already the Middle East’s poorest nation even before the conflict — can only be guessed at.

Record Afghan casualties exceeded 11,000 in 2015

Violence in Afghanistan left more than 11,000 dead or wounded last year, making 2015 a record year for  civilian casualties, reported the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The casualties (3,545 killed and 7,457 wounded) included an unprecedented number of children, with one in four casualties being a child, UNAMA reported Sunday.

“This report records yet another rise in the number of civilians hurt or killed. The harm done to civilians is totally unacceptable,” said a senior UN official.

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Saudi-led Forces Indiscriminately Airdrop Cluster Bombs on Yemen’s Capital, Sanaa

Posted by feww on January 7, 2016

Deliberate or reckless use of cluster bombs in populated areas is a war crime: HRW

Saudi-led coalition forces airdropped cluster bombs on residential neighborhoods in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, early on January 6, 2016, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“It is not yet clear whether the attacks caused civilian casualties, but the inherently indiscriminate nature of cluster munitions makes such attacks serious violations of the laws of war. The deliberate or reckless use of cluster munitions in populated areas amounts to a war crime.”

“The coalition’s repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch. “These outrageous attacks show that the coalition seems less concerned than ever about sparing civilians from war’s horrors.”

Description of the aerial attacks provided by the residents of two Sanaa neighborhoods are consistent with cluster munition use, said HRW.

HRW has identified several types of the munitions including US-made BLU-63 antipersonnel/anti-materiel submunitions and components of a CBU-58 cluster bomb, manufactured in 1978 at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in the state of Tennessee, CBU-58 cluster bombs, which contains 650 submunitions  (U.S. transferred 1,000 CBU-58 bombs to Saudi Arabia sometime between 1970 and 1995).

The CBU-58 cluster bomb and BLU-63 submunition were developed by the US during the Vietnam War and are designed to attack personnel and lightly protected materiel. The submunitions also contain 5-gram titanium pellets that produce an incendiary effect on flammable targets.

Five different types of cluster munitions have been used in Yemen, four of them by the Saudis, and one by as yet an unknown source, according to HRW and Amnesty International.

The US is a party to the armed conflict in Yemen, playing a direct role in coordinating military operations, and as such, is obligated to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war in which its forces took part.

A US Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity,  told U.S. News and World Report in August that “the U.S. is aware that Saudi Arabia has used cluster munitions in Yemen.”

The US Defense Department announced in November that “the State Department had approved a sale of US$1.29 billion worth of air-to-ground munitions, such as laser-guided bombs and ‘general purpose’ bombs with guidance systems – none of which are cluster munitions. The US should not sell aerial bombs to Saudi Arabia in the absence of serious investigations into alleged laws-of-war violations in Yemen,” HRW said.

HRW has called on the UN Human Rights Council to create an independent, international inquiry into alleged war crimes in Yemen by “all sides.”

“It may have been 20 years since the US last provided cluster munitions to the Saudis, but they are being used to kill civilians now,” Goose said. “The US, as a party to the conflict, should be demanding that the coalition immediately stop using these weapons or risk becoming complicit in their use.”

Read more…

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‘Damning evidence of war crimes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’

Posted by feww on October 7, 2015

US and UK arms transfers risk fueling further war crimes in northern Yemen: Amnesty

“Damning evidence of war crimes” committed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which is armed by the US and UK among others, urgently calls for an “independent, effective investigation of violations in Yemen” as well as “the suspension of transfers of certain arms,” said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

‘Bombs fall from the sky day and night’: Civilians under fire in northern Yemen examines 13 deadly airstrikes by the coalition in Sa’da, north-eastern Yemen, which killed some 100 civilians, including 59 children. It also documents the use of internationally banned cluster bombs

“This report uncovers yet more evidence of unlawful airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, some of which amount to war crimes. It demonstrates in harrowing detail how crucial it is to stop arms being used to commit serious violations of this kind,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser who headed the organization’s fact-finding mission to Yemen.

“The designation of large, heavily populated areas as military targets and the repeated targeting of civilian homes are telling examples revealing the coalition forces’ flagrant failure to take sufficient precautions to avoid civilian loss of life as required by international humanitarian law,” added Rovera.

At least 59 children were killed in the 13 airstrikes that have been documented by Amnesty International in the Sa’da region between May and July 2015, said the report.

“The world’s indifference to the suffering of Yemeni civilians in this conflict is shocking. The failure of the UN Human Rights Council last week to establish an international investigation into violations committed by all sides is the latest in a series of failures by the international community to address total impunity for perpetrators of serious violations in Yemen.”

The report is post on line: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/10/yemen-call-for-suspension-of-arms-transfers-to-coalition-and-accountability-for-war-crimes/

Thousands Killed in Yemen

The death toll from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and fighting on the ground has now exceeded 5,000 people, including about 2,500 civilians,  since March 26, when Houthi fighters and allied army units forced Yemen’s “corrupt” president to flee the country.

9 in 10 deaths and injuries from explosive weapons in Yemen are civilian: UNOCHA

About 86 percent of the people killed or injured by explosive weapons are civilians, according to a report: “State of crisis: explosive weapons in Yemen,” issued this week by OCHA and NGO Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

This number rises to 95 per cent when explosive weapons are used in populated areas.

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Saudi-led Coalition Using Same Cluster Munition in Yemen as ISIS Fired in Syria

Posted by feww on May 31, 2015

Saudi Arabia first used cluster bombs on Houthis in 2009: HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released new evidence contending the Saudi-led coalition has been dropping  internationally-banned cluster bombs on Yemenis population.

Four civilians, including a young boy, were wounded on April 29 in Baqim, a village near the Saudi border, when unexploded submunitions detonated after local residents picked them up. HRW identified the weapon as a type of ground-fired cluster munition containing “ZP-39” submunitions, which has a distinctive red ribbon.

  • The cluster munition dropped by Saudi-led coalition aircraft  near al-Amar was the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon.
  • In addition, photographs and information from local residents indicate that Saudi-led coalition aircraft dropped a third type of cluster munition, bombs containing BLU-97 submunitions, in at least two attacks in Saada governorate on May 23.

“Human Rights Watch … has documented that Islamic State forces (also known as ISIS) fired the same weapon, whose submunition was marked ‘ZP-39,’ in northern Syria in September 2014,” said the report.

The HRW report is posted online, here.

Yemen: Deteriorating Humanitarian Crisis Situation Report No. 9 (as of 29 May 2015)

Highlights of UN OCHA Report

  • The humanitarian situation in the SW governorates of Aden, Lahj, Taizz, and Al Dhale’e continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate, as violence increases and basic services grind to a halt.
  • The northern governorates of Sa’ada, Hajjah and Amran face increasing levels of displacement due to airstrikes. Insecurity has limited access and the provision of assistance.
  • The death toll reached 1,976; 27 May was the deadliest day so far with reports of at least 80 people killed and 300 injured. The conflict is now entering its third month.
  • People in need: 15.9m
  • Internally displaced: 545,719
  • Registered deaths resulting from conflict: 1,976
  • Registered injuries resulting from conflict: 8,034
  • People who have become food insecure since escalation of conflict: 1.4m [UN OCHA]

Terrorists Fed by Saudi Royals’ Hatred for Shia Muslims

Meantime, the Saudi division of the Islamic State terrorists group has called on all jihadist to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of Shia Muslims in an audio recording, said a US-based ISIS monitoring group, SITE.

A representative of Najd Province, a division of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/DAESH) has called on Sunni Saudi youths to join the group, fend off the “Shia threat” and “purify the land” of the “disbelievers and apostates,” said the report.

The terrorist group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the May-22 suicide bombing of a Shi’ite mosque in the town of al-Qadeeh, Qatif province, which killed at least 21 people and wounded more than 50 other worshipers.

The local ISIS terrorists have also claimed responsibility for bombing another Shi’ite mosque in the Saudi port city of Dammam on Friday, May 29, 2015.

A suicide bomber, reportedly disguised as a woman, blew himself up in the parking lot of the mosque during Friday prayers, killing at least four people.

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