Saudi-led forces have deliberately targeted civilians since the wars early days and US officials have done little to stop it
Since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemens civil war in March 2015, the United States gave its full support to a relentless air campaign where Saudi warplanes and bombs hit thousands of targets, including civilian sites and infrastructure, with impunity. From the beginning, US officials insisted that American weapons, training and intelligence assistance would help the Saudis avoid causing even more civilian casualties.
But this was a lie meant to obscure one of the least understood aspects of US support for Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen: its not that Saudi-led forces dont know how to use American-made weapons or need help in choosing targets. They have deliberately targeted civilians and Yemens infrastructure since the wars early days and US officials have recognized this since at least 2016 and done little to stop it.
A team of United Nations investigators, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, presented a devastating report in Geneva in early September detailing how the US, along with Britain and France, are likely complicit in war crimes in Yemen because of continued weapons sales and intelligence support to the Saudis and their allies, especially the United Arab Emirates.
Despite pressure from Saudi Arabia, the Human Rights Council voted last Thursday to extend its investigation.
If the council pursues an aggressive investigation based on the 274-page report, the world might finally see some accountability for war crimes committed in Yemen over the past five years. The reports authors submitted a secret list of individuals who may be responsible for war crimes to the UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, but its unclear if that list includes any western officials. The report said third states that have influence on Yemens warring parties including the US, Britain, France and Iran may be held responsible for providing aid or assistance for the commission of international law violations.
American complicity in the Yemen war goes beyond providing training and intelligence support, and selling billions of dollars in weapons to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which has become Washingtons largest weapons buyer. The US is looking the other way while its allies commit war crimes and avoid responsibility for instigating the worlds worst humanitarian crisis.