Yemeni children

Yemen kids massacred amid world’s silence on Saudi crimes

Alwaght – The Saudi war machine is unceasingly committing crimes in Yemen while the world is watching idly. In the middle of the shameful international silence, the help-seeking voice of the Yemenis remains unheard.

While the Saudi-led Arab military coalition was expected to halt its airstrikes on Yemen to prevent more pressure from the pro-rights groups and global public opinion after its August 9 airstrike on a school bus in Sadda province that killed 40, to everyone’s surprise it launched a new missile attack in western Yemen on Thursday killing 22 children and 4 women. According to Mohammed Abdelsalam, the spokesman to Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, the coalition’s fighter jets hit the victims while they were in their vehicle escaping the air assaults in the Ad Durayhimi District in Hudaydah province.

Saudi Arabia and some of its allies launched a brutal war, code-named Operation Decisive Storm, against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is a significant aid to the Yemeni army in defending the country against the invading forces.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression.

Is the coalition’s investigation credible?

Following the Thursday attack, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock disparaged the Saudi-led attack on the Yemeni civilians and reiterated the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s demand for an independent investigation into the incident.

Lowcock referred to a 90-page report issued by the Human Rights Watch that rejected a so-called probe into the killing by the Arab alliance, arguing that the result did not name the arms suppliers as accomplices to the Saudi crime. The HRW added that logistical support to the coalition could mount to complicity in the crime. The report continued that the Saudi and UAE leaders could be recognized as war criminals in Yemen conflict, now in its fourth year.

The HRW report called on the UN Security Council to consider imposing targeted sanctions on senior Coalition commanders who share the greatest responsibility for repeated grave violations.

Moreover, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund Henrietta Fore has issued a statement, disparaging the attack and calling for the international action.

“I had hoped that the outrage that followed the Saada attack in Yemen two weeks ago would be a turning point in the conflict. Yesterday’s reported attacks in Ad-Durayhimi, killing 26 children, indicate that it was not,” she said, adding “I – once again – call for the warring parties, those who have influence over them, the UN Security Council and the international community to take action and end this conflict once and for all.” “The lives of thousands of vulnerable children across Yemen must be a priority for all,” she continued.

The pressures for an independent investigation into the Arab coalition’s crimes come while in over three years of the anti-Yemeni war, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are comprehensively backed by the West, have escaped any independent probe or only promised to do the job without issuing any findings. During a UNSC session held a day after Sadda attack, the international body only called for “credible” investigation into the August 9 bus attack without asking for it to be independent. The meeting was under the influence of the three Western powers with veto leverage, the US, Britain, and France, three of which blatantly support Riyadh with arms and logistics in the devastating war.

Responding to Ansarullah counterattacks, a desperate retaliation

Following the attacks, the coalition insisted that it did not target the civilians on purpose. But the rights group dismissed these comments, saying during the campaign the markets, schools, hospitals, and residential areas have been fixed targets for the alliance’s bombings. After the Thursday attack, the alliance stated that the attack was carried out by the Ansarullah forces. A short time later, it announced it took responsibility, saying that the assault was in response to the Yemeni movement’s missiles fired into the Saudi territories.

More than three years of war have proven that when Riyadh and Abu Dhabi reach an impasse on the ground or are defeated in an operation, they conduct air assaults on the civilians to influence the battlefronts. The Thursday attack came as, according to the Ansarullah-run Al-Massira news channel, the Yemeni army and popular forces had attacked the coalition forces and their mercenaries in Al-Tahayta district in western coast and inflicted heavy casualties on them. A day before, a Yemeni operation in Al-Faza and Al-Jabaliya regions in the same coastal area had seen killing a number of the mercenaries. Moreover, over the past week, the Yemeni snipers managed to target a number of Saudi forces in the Saudi Asir province on the border with Yemen.

Will Congress vote to end involvement in war?

Over the years of conflict, Washington has been a key backer of the Saudi aggression against neighboring nation. The help even surged under President Donald Trump who showed he does not respect the international laws. The US signed new weapons contracts worth billions of dollars with the Arab allies under Trump. On the heels of Thursday strike, the CNN reported the bombed that Saudi regime used to hit Yemeni school bus was a 500-kg MK-82 supplied to Riyadh by the American arms producer Lockheed Martin.

Following the report, a number of Democrats of Congress launched an attempt for the third time this year to end the US support for the Arab coalition’s campaign. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut presented an amended version of the 2019 defense bill in which he called for curbing the US funding for “slaughter of the Yemeni kids.”

The fact is that a majority of the Americans are not even aware that their country is involved in the Yemen war. Giving the Saudi crimes further publicity can build pressures on the White House to press Riyadh for ending the aimless Yemen war. To that time, the Yemeni children will remain paying the highest price of the international community’s inaction.