Amnesty International Investigation: US Manufactured Bombs Used In Airstrikes On Civilian Populations In Yemen

Days ahead of a historic US Senate vote to approve the shipment of $1.15 billion dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International is calling for a “comprehensive embargo on all weapons that could be used by any of the warring parties in Yemen.” The announcement come in conclusion to a recent investigation which found that the same bombs used to target hospitals throughout Yemen, delivered by Saudi Arabia’s air-force, were produced inside the United States.

© amnesty.org

This is the second investigation in 6 months which has found that US manufactured weapons are primarily responsible for the destruction of civilian targets in Yemen. Last April, an investigation by Human Rights Watch concluded that there were “119 coalition sorties relating to violations of the laws of Warin Yemen to date.

The report continued, “the panel documented that the [us led] coalition had conducted airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law, including camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sana’a, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes.

Last November the White House approved 1.29 billion dollars in aid/weapons to assist Saudi forces in Yemen, but officials are quick to point out that this is where it ends. In defense against the allegations made by Human Rights Watch in April, leaders at U.S. Central Command definitively stated how “selection and final vetting of targets in the campaign are made by the Saudi-led coalition, not the United States.” – distancing themselves from any War crimes which may or may not have been committed.

Earlier this year in an interview with PBS News Hour, retired Army Intelligence Officer Derek Harvey went on to explain that the reason so many civilian targets have been inadvertently hit is due to the inexperience of the Saudi air-force in carrying out missions. Harvey tried to explain that strikes on civilian markets, for example, are not malicious attacks against innocent civilians, rather a result of a young and inexperienced military.

On 9/14/2016, an investigation by The Guardian found that nearly 1/3 of the +8,000 air strikes carried out by Saudi led forces over the last 18 months have targeted civilian areas. Whether this is inexperience, as the US military would like to have us believe, this figure is unacceptable nonetheless and the US is not without its fair share of blame.

As reported by Russia Today, “Since coming to office seven years ago, the Obama administration has made over $115 billion worth of arms sales to the Saudis – more than any other US presidential administration.

The result of this the article continues, “over 3,700 civilians have been killed and some 2.8 million displaced by the ongoing war in Yemen, now in its second year, according to the latest estimates by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In light of the obvious controversy surrounding the sale of more weapons/bombs to Saudi Arabia , 64 members of the US Senate singed an open letter calling for a complete halt to the sale of more weapons to Saudi Arabia. As there are only 100 members of the Senate, it is likely the sale will be defeated.

In an official press release, Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International had an important message for the US government ahead of their vote.

He went on to say that “Any attack on a medical facility in a war zone is an affront to humanity, yet this bombing is sadly just the latest in a grim series of attacks on hospitals and clinics by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

Deliberate attacks on hospitals and medical facilities are serious violations of the laws of war and can never be justified. Hospitals, which have special protection under international humanitarian law, should be safe places of treatment and recovery.

It is outrageous that states have continued to supply the Saudi Arabia-led coalition with weapons, including guided and general purpose aerial bombs and combat aircraft, despite stark evidence that those arms are being used to attack hospitals and other civilian objects and in other serious violations of international humanitarian law.


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