Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

The market in Yemen that was destroyed by U.S.-made bombs on March 15. (Photo: Amal al-Yarisi/Human Rights Watch)

American Bombs Killing Civilians in Yemen, Report Finds

"One of the deadliest strikes against civilians in Yemen's year-long war involved U.S.-supplied weapons"

Nika Knight Beauchamp

The year-long campaign of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen reached a new low last month with a deliberate attack on a marketplace full of civilians that killed over 100, including 25 children, and a new report has found that the bombs that did the killing came from the United States.

"The U.S. and others should pull the plug on arms to the Saudis or further share responsibility for civilian lives lost."
—Priyanka Motaparthy,
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch released the report on Thursday. Its findings detailed how the March 15 airstrike on a civilian target was made with U.S.-supplied weaponry, and renewed calls for an embargo on weapons to Saudi Arabia.

"One of the deadliest strikes against civilians in Yemen’s year-long war involved US-supplied weapons, illustrating tragically why countries should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia," said Priyanka Motaparthy, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The U.S. and other coalition allies should send a clear message to Saudi Arabia that they want no part in unlawful killings of civilians."

The rights group spoke to the airstrike's victims and witnesses and showed footage of what it identified as U.S.-made bomb fragments:

The group "conducted on-site investigations on March 28, and found remnants at the market of a GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb, which consists of a US-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, also US-supplied," Human Rights Watch wrote. "A team of journalists from ITV, a British news channel, visited the site on March 26, and found remnants of an MK-84 bomb paired with a Paveway laser guidance kit."

"If confirmed, the use of 2,000-pound bombs would reflect a decision by the Saudi-led coalition that carried substantial risks for civilians," the New York Times writes.

"The 2,000-pound general-purpose bomb, of the American standard Mark 80 series, is the largest of its class. American warplanes typically carry smaller bombs, often in the 500-pound class, in part to reduce property damage and dangers to noncombatants," the newspaper points out.

There have been outraged calls for an embargo on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in response to its bombing campaign in Yemen, most notably from the E.U. and the Netherlands, but the U.S. has remained silent and continued to sell weapons to the Saudis.

In fact, the U.S. is deeply intertwined with Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign in Yemen, including "specific military operations, such as providing advice on targeting decisions and aerial refueling during bombing raids," Human Rights Watch says.

Despite that involvement, the U.S. continually argues that it is not responsible for the atrocities committed in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition carrying out the airstrikes.

Indeed, a spokesperson for the United States Central Command, or Centcom, told the Times on Thursday that the "decisions on the conduct of operations to include selection and final vetting of targets in the campaign are made by the members of the Saudi-led coalition, not the United States."

However, Human Rights Watch argues, the United States' involvement is such that it could be culpable for the Saudis' war crimes. The group writes, "U.S. participation in specific military operations, such as providing advice on targeting decisions and aerial refueling during bombing raids, may make U.S. forces jointly responsible for laws-of-war violations by coalition forces. As a party to the conflict, the U.S. is obligated to investigate allegedly unlawful attacks in which it took part."

"Even after dozens of airstrikes on markets, schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods have killed hundreds of Yemeni civilians, the coalition refuses to provide redress or change its practices," Motaparthy argued. "The U.S. and others should pull the plug on arms to the Saudis or further share responsibility for civilian lives lost."

Critics say the United States' lack of concern for civilian lives lost is par for the course: on Thursday another human rights group, Reprieve, called attention to the U.K.'s involvement in the United States' covert drone program in Yemen and its killing of unknown civilians. An investigation found that "'multiple kills' of named targets are common in the U.S. drone program, with some 1,147 unknown people killed in attempts to target 41 named individuals," the group reports.

"Asked about the issue last weekend," writes Reprieve, "President Obama said that there was 'no doubt' that civilians had been killed by U.S. drones."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo