LAST Saturday saw what was one of the worst atrocities committed in the Yemen since Saudi Arabia, along with its Gulf allies, launched an all-out war to destroy the country and overthrow the Houthi regime.
A mass funeral gathering in the Yemeni city of Sa’ana was targeted by an air strike not once but twice with the second strike clearly aimed at hitting survivors and rescuers who has rushed to the scene – a double tap as it is called by the military.
Initial reports indicate that 140 people were killed and over 500 injured in the attack.
At first, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition denied any responsibility blaming ‘other causes’ despite the fact that their aircraft are the only ones operating over Yemen.
Later, this reactionary coalition, which has been bombing Yemen since March 2015 killing tens of thousands of civilians, backtracked saying this outrage was ‘regrettable and painful’ and has now promised an investigation into the atrocity.
In fact, this latest bombing of innocent civilians follows the established procedure for this murderous war to oust the popular Houthi regime; a campaign of indiscriminate bombings targeting innocent Yemeni civilians to literally bomb them into submission, a campaign that has proved completely unsuccessful and has cost the Saudi government a fortune that it can ill-afford.
President Obama was quick to offer criticism of its closest ally with a White House spokesman condemning what he called ‘the troubling series of attacks striking Yemeni civilians’ before delivering what must be the mildest threat on record saying: ‘US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank cheque.’
This feigned disapproval of Saudi war crimes, which Obama would have us believe has come as news to his administration, was shot down by a report in Reuters on the same day of the bombing that emails and government documents uncovered by them prove that government officials had warned the administration that the US was implicated in war crimes for its support of the Saudi-led campaign.
This support involves supplying the Saudi monarchs with more than $22.2 billion worth of weapons to enable them to carry out their war crimes. In Britain the Tories were even more circumspect than Obama in criticising the Saudis, with the minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, merely saying that he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the bombings and that he would be ‘raising my concerns with the Saudi Ambassador.’
A government official said that the strike was ‘shocking’ but that it didn’t mean Britain would ‘review our relations with Saudi Arabia’ or stop supporting them in this illegal war. Just the week before the Sa’ana attack, the British arms manufacturer BAE systems publicly announced that, supported by the government, they were negotiating the sale of 48 jets to the Saudis; this follows a £1.7 billion deal earlier this year for sales of the typhoon jet.
Not only are American and British imperialism arming the Saudis to the teeth, allowing them to carry out illegal bombings in open defiance of the Geneva Convention, but they are providing direct military aid to them. The US Defence Department has admitted that it is providing ‘targeting assistance’ to the Saudi air-force while the Tories have admitted to giving ‘military training’.
In January the Saudi foreign minister boasted that Britain and the US have military advisors in the Saudi command centres which choose the targets for the bombers.
While these imperialist war criminals shout from the rooftops about human rights violations and war crimes in Syria they stand revealed as the biggest war criminals in the world.
The British government, having carried out war crimes across the Middle East from Iraq to Libya, is now up to its neck in these latest war crimes committed by its firm ally Saudi Arabia.
The Labour Party and the trade unions must take action to stop this murderous campaign against the Yemeni people by demanding that the Tories stop all support for the Saudi-led coalition, and withdraw all British troops from the Middle East and North Africa, or face a political campaign and industrial strikes to kick them out.