Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Forgotten War

While the media express shock horror and take a hypocritical editorial stance at Russia launching air attacks against various jihadist terrorist groups in Syria, the US government decides in another war it is best for the main suspect in a bombing of a wedding which killed 131 people should conduct its own investigation into it. It is deemed fit and proper that Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi religious extremist state and the sponsors of  Al-Nusra in the Syria civil war, to decide if it has committed a war crime.

The Netherlands submitted a draft resolution to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) shortly after the bombing, which among other things called for UN experts to be sent to Yemen to investigate allegations of crimes committed by all parties involved. Saudia Arabia proposed an alternative resolution that doesn't provide for an independent international inquiry and instead calls on the UN to support a probe led by the Yemeni Hadi government, its ally who it is supporting with both air cover and ground support, along with other Gulf states. The US and UK  kept mostly silent on the debate, and didn’t voice support for the Dutch proposal.

"It was terrible, the US was silent for a very long time," Nicolas Agostini, Geneva representative for the International Federation For Human Rights, told Vice News. “The Dutch should have had public support from key partners including the US throughout the process. “By the second week of negotiations, it became clear they wouldn't get that kind of support. [America's] very late public expression of support for the Dutch text, and emphasis on the need to reach consensus, de facto benefited the Saudis."

Amnesty International has accused Saudi Arabia of targeting and killing civilians by using US-made weapons. The AI report says that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition has launched air strikes against civilian objects, such as homes, schools, markets and mosques, even though no fighters or military targets were located nearby. These attacks may amount to war crimes. In Sa’da in the north of the country Amnesty International has also found evidence that the coalition forces used cluster munitions, lethal explosive weapons banned under international law. When launched cluster bombs release dozens of small “bomblets”, which often lie unexploded and can cause horrific injuries long after the initial attack.

Human Rights Watch condemned the UN HRC's failure to create an independent Yemen inquiry, saying the Yemenis would suffer because of it.
“Such a mechanism would have been crucial to confront continued impunity for crimes committed in the country... The increasingly desperate Yemeni population should not be ignored by the world’s preeminent human rights body,” the rights group said in a statement.
 "It's all been about Saudi Arabia protecting itself from an international probe, really," commented Philippe Dam, HRW deputy director in Geneva.

Nearly two million people are at risk of malnutrition, some six months into the Saudi regime’s military campaign against the impoverished nation, Christophe Boulierac, spokesman for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said. The UN official also warned of the dire humanitarian situation in the country, which has deteriorated since Riyadh started its military aggression in Yemen, with the aim of undermining the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restoring power to its ally, the country’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

 2,300 civilians have been killed. Four out of five Yemenis today rely on humanitarian assistance in order to survive. There is no access to essential services including clean water and electricity, and food prices have soared creating a desperate situation for millions of people. Damage to key logistical infrastructure, including bridges, airports and seaports, has also severely hampered the movement of crucial humanitarian supplies. Access to health care is also restricted with medical centres shut down, frequent attacks on medical staff and dwindling supplies of electricity, fuel, medication and surgical equipment.

The think-tank Atlantic Council's Nabeel Khoury, a former U.S. diplomat who served in Yemen, says "Saudi Arabia is the richest country in the Arab world and it is bombing the hell out of the poorest country in the Arab world,"

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