America’s constant if confused role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

Iona Craig writes: Along with a coalition of regional nations, Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since March 2015 in an effort to push back Houthi rebels, whose political alignment to Iran has been cited as the pretext for the campaign. And from the get-go, the U.S. has helped.

In the first year of the bombing campaign, the U.S. government authorized the sale of 2,800 guided bombs to Saudi Arabia that were equipped with the MAU-169L/B computer control group, according to the Defence Security Cooperation Agency. That transaction was a mere fraction of more than $100 billion in arms sold to the Kingdom under then-President Barack Obama. Those sales were suspended in December, 2016, due to growing concerns over civilian casualties, but that stand didn’t last long under President Donald Trump, who signed a deal during his visit to Riyadh in May, pledging nearly $110 billion in future weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Yet it’s not just weapons sales that tie the U.S. to Yemen’s war: The U.S. continues to provide political and logistical support to Saudi Arabia’s campaign, most notably the refueling of Saudi coalition fighter jets used in daily bombing runs.

For Yemenis, the results have been disastrous: Coalition airstrikes have punished Yemen’s civilians, and its children specifically, destroying hospitals, schools and vital infrastructure. In total, Saudi-led airstrikes are responsible for over 60 percent of civilian deaths in Yemen’s war, according to the United Nations, leading many human rights organizations to accuse the U.S. of taking part in potential war crimes. [Continue reading…]

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