In spite of countless demands voiced by the international community to put an end to the continuous slaughter of Yemeni civilians, the so-called Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia carries on the destruction of residential areas in Yemen.
On January 10, Saudi airplanes destroyed a school in a small Yemeni mountain village, located some 30 miles to northeast of Sana’a. The air raid was launched in the afternoon before classes finished, resulting in at least 8 people killed – a teacher and seven minors aged from 8 to 12 years. This was not the first case of Riyadh bombing peaceful Shia villages. Since last year, a total of 12 Yemeni civilians was killed in a similar attack.
It seems that nobody wants to speak about the fact that Saudi Arabia is waging a full-scale war on Yemen, therefore Saudi bombs raining from the sky is a daily occurrence in this poor country. According to the World Health Organization, in just two years of the armed conflict, a total of 7,000 people were killed, on top of a total of nearly 40,000 injured. As a result, the number of refugees fleeing the country has already reached 3 million people.
In the course of the conflict, the Saudi air force subjected to their merciless bombardment two wedding processions, the only center in Yemen assisting the blind and visually impaired and a number of hospitals run by Doctors Without Borders. A number of areas of the Yemeni capital – Sana’a – has been reduced to rubble. But no atrocity is despicable enough for the Al-Saud royal family, with its military forces routinely using phosphorus and cluster bombs, which are prohibited by a number of international treaties.
Since the start of the armed aggression against Yemen, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia claimed the lives of a total of 1,500 children. This has recently been stated by a UNICEF representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano. She stated that UNICEF is aware of at least 2,140 children being seriously injured in the conflict, even though the real figures may be much higher, she added. A total of 2,000 schools can no longer be used for their intended purpose, since they have been badly damaged or destroyed by Saudi airstrikes. Some of them are now used for the housing of displaced families, while others were claimed for military purposes. UNICEF representatives have been urging the Saudi coalition to stop bombing residential areas and civilian infrastructure in Yemen, but to no avail.
At this point it’s safe to say that such atrocities are unable to break the spirit of the local Shia resistant movement – the Houthis from the Ansar Allah movement, the better part of which remain loyal to the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudi coalition claims that is has the right to destroy the lives of common Yemeni citizens, since it’s supporting the ousted president that enjoy no support within the country – Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Saudi armed aggression and the death toll it produced has triggered outrage among a number of international human rights organizations who demand an end to the multiplying war crimes that could have never been committed without the continuous supply of Western weapons to the Saudi regime.
In particular, such demands have repeatedly been voiced by Human Rights Watch, which insist on a need to put a stop to the flow of US weapons to the Persian Gulf. The Obama administration has been supplying billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions to Riyadh, as pointed out by US director of Human Rights Watch, Sarah Margon who is convinced that the atrocities of the Saudi royal family could never happen without this assistance.
Regardless of these protests, as it’s been reported by the German journal Der Spiegel, Saudi Arabia continues receiving the most advanced weaponry from a number of Western countries, including Germany. In particular, at the last meeting between the German Federal Security Council (BSR), which is headed by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, it was decided to supply a total 41,644 units of so-called multi-functional artillery fuses produced by Junghans Microtec to France, which will be installed in artillery munitions to be sold to Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, you will hardly come across an analyst who genuinely believes that the Saudi monarchy is capable of making a single step without consulting its masters in Washignton. It would never be able to get away with sponsoring militant groups across the region and the war crimes that it regularly commits in Yemen without the support of its Western sponsors.
We should not forget that the aggression against Yemen was semi-officially supported by two superpowers – the US and Britain, who have their officers constantly present in the coalition headquarters. Those powers use the Yemeni conflict to increase weapons sales to Gulf countries, which have recently reached a level of tens of billions of dollars which vastly surpasses the level they enjoyed before the crisis, but also to expand their military presence in the strategically important area of the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.
That’s why, when charging the Saudi authorities with war crimes, one should direct these accusations against the authorities of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, as well, for supplying weapons to the Saudi monarchy and actually doing everything they can to ensure the continuation of the bloody conflict in Yemen.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”