US Guilty of 'Basically Unconditional Support' for Saudi War Crimes in Yemen
"Every day, we are seeing the devastating impact of the sale of arms and ammunition for use on civilians in Yemen."
The United States and other governments that continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia are guilty of "the worst kind of hypocrisy," an international watchdog charged on Monday, as the arms trade continues despite mounting evidence of civilian causalities, war crimes, and other atrocities being committed by the kingdom in Yemen.
"It is extremely concerning that many transfers are still continuing, in particular the governments of the United States, the U.K., and France have authorized and are continuing to export very large quantities of weapons, including explosive weapons, bombs which are being used daily against civilians in Yemen," said Anna Macdonald, director of Control Arms Coalition.
The statement was made as governments convened in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Trade Organization's second conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which stipulates that signatories block any arms deal if there is evidence that the weapons will be used against civilians.
"At the heart of the ATT is the obligation on countries that have joined it to make an assessment of how the weapons they want to transfer will be used," states the Control Arms website. "They must determine if the arms would commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and serious human rights violations."
Both France and the U.K. have ratified the agreement. While the U.S. has signed on, Congress has failed to approve it.
"The ATT has been in force for nearly two years but some States Parties are violating it with impunity," Macdonald continued. "Every day, we are seeing the devastating impact of the sale of arms and ammunition for use on civilians in Yemen."
Scores of Yemeni civilians have been killed in the past two weeks alone, as the Saudi-led military coalition bombed a potato chip factory, a school, and a Doctors Without Borders facility—forcing the aid group to withdraw its much-needed medical staff from six hospitals in the region.
This ongoing assault is also responsible for the displacement of more than three million Yemeni civilians, according to a new report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
And despite growing outcry, the U.S. "remains defiant in its support for the Saudi campaign in Yemen," as Common Dreams reported this weekend.
As journalist Andrew Cockburn explained on Democracy Now! Monday, the United States' "basically unconditional" support—through diplomatic means as well as military aid—has essentially given Saudi Arabia "carte blanche to continue this mindless carpet bombing...effectively destroying Yemen."
"We are part of that," Cockburn said, "this is our war, it is shameful."
What's more, as Cockburn points out, in contrast to the wide media attention given to the crisis in Syria, there is virtually no reporting on the countless deaths and atrocities being committed with U.S. aid in Yemen.
Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling this week to meet with Saudi leaders. Peace group CodePink is circulating a petition calling on Kerry to "make clear that the U.S. will not continue to support Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen and demand that the ceasefire is resumed."
Watch Democracy Now!'s conversation with Cockburn and report on U.S. complicity in Yemen: