Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Forgotten Atrocities

Ever since the founding of the kingdom in 1932, the West has allied itself with the Saudi Arabian government that beheads non-violent dissidents, forces women to live under the dictates of male guardians, treats foreign workers like indentured servants, spreads the intolerant Wahhabi version of Islam around the world, funds terrorist groups, crushes democratic uprisings in neighboring countries like Bahrain and now wages a catastrophic war in one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, Yemen.

How much is the life of a Yemeni worth? Not much, according to the Saudi regime that has been bombing and starving the people of Yemen for since March 2015, or to the Saudi’s western backers, particularly the US and UK, which have been supplying the Saudi regime with weapons, military training, logistical support and diplomatic cover for its dirty interventionist war. A bombing of a packed funeral hall in Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa killed more than 140 people and injured about 600 more.

Reuters revealed that the Obama administration approved a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings that it could implicate the U.S. in war crimes. Officials also had doubts that the Saudi military would actually be able to target Houthi militants without hurting civilians or destroying infrastructure. The U.S. Department of State had already warned the government that "the United States could be implicated in war crimes" for aiding the campaign. However, government lawyers stopped just short of concluding that U.S. support for the campaign would implicate the country in war crimes—which could have opened up the U.S. military to accountability. American officials were actually well aware that airstrikes in Yemen were killing scores of civilians.

The Obama administration issued a statement that US support for Saudis is not a “blank check” and that the US was “prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values and interests.” These “principles, values and interests” of the Western powers, however, has been to make record profits by selling massive quantities of weapons to one of the most repressive countries in the world.

Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut said the Saudi attack on funeral party follows months of attacks on schools, homes, and hospitals. "If the U.S. is serious when it says our support for Saudi Arabia isn't a blank check, then it's time to prove it—because it's clear the Saudi-led coalition isn't listening.

If the Western nations want to show that they value the lives of Yemenis over the profits of their weapons industries, they must immediately stop providing the bombs, the bombers, the armored tanks, the Apache helicopters, the missiles, the howitzers, the training, the refueling, and all other military support to the Saudi criminals.  If Western values do not prioritize making blood money for General Dynamics, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and the other companies that profit from war, let’s prove it. The United States and Britain have no stake in the well-being of Yemeni civilians. This is clearly shown in the fact that the people that the U.S. and the U.K. is supporting are guilty of the same crimes that the U.S. accuses Russia and Syria of conducting: indiscriminate attacks, targeting of civilians, destruction of schools, hospitals, etc. Saudi Arabia as well has no concern for Syrian civilians, as it has ruthlessly besieged and bombed Yemen, with the support and help of the United States, for two years without any concern for civilian lives. The Saudi assault has led to a humanitarian crisis, leaving at least 19 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The major media is shown to be completely subservient to state power, drumming up support for another aggressive war based on falsities and half-truths in the exact same way that led to the continuing catastrophes in Libya and Iraq.

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