Largely off the radar in the United States, Saudi Arabia has continued its “coalition” air war against rebels in Yemen, killing more than a thousand civilians with the help of American weapons.
In addition to providing cluster bombs and other deadly ordinance, the U.S. has given the Saudis “military intelligence and logistical assistance” in attacking the Houthis, the rebel group that toppled the Yemeni government, according to The New York Times.
“The loss of civilian life in Hajja shows why most countries have made a commitment never to use cluster munitions,” said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher for Human Rights Watch. “These weapons not only kill or injure people at the time of attack, but the unexploded submunitions go on killing long afterward.”
The Obama administration also is going through with a deal to sell Saudi Arabia more weapons and missiles, even though the airstrikes have “become so broad and vicious that critics accuse the coalition of collectively punishing people living in areas under Houthi control,” Kareem Fahim wrote at the Times.
Saudi military leaders have refused to acknowledge the killing of non-combatants. “Why would we acknowledge something that doesn’t exist?” Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, the coalition’s spokesman, said according to the Times.
The single worst attack occurred in July when the coalition bombed a residential compound for workers in Mokha, killing at least 63 people.
“Errant coalition strikes have ripped through markets, apartment buildings and refugee camps,” Fahim wrote. “Other bombs have fallen so far from any military target that human rights groups say such airstrikes amount to war crimes.”