Friday, January 15, 2016

British Assist Saudis in Killing Yemen Civilians

British said effort is to comply with international humanitarian law and ensure “best practices”

The Saudi foreign minister has confirmed British military advisers are helping the Saudis coordinate bombing raids in Yemen that have killed thousands of civilians.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, told The Telegraph British officers are in Saudi operation control rooms. “We asked a number of allied countries to come and be part of the control center,” he said. “I know they are aware of the target lists.”
The British are not selecting targets or punching in codes for “smart bomb,” the British Minister of Defense explained. “We support Saudi forces through long-standing, pre-existing arrangements,” a spokesman said.
Remarkably the British said the effort is to comply with international humanitarian law and to ensure “best practices.”
The organization Human Rights Watch reports the Saudis “have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians” during its invasion of Yemen. The NGO says the Saudis have bombed residential areas of Sana’a, the country’s capital.
“Coalition members and the United States, as a party to the conflict, are required under the laws of war to investigate such attacks, but they have not,” Human Rights Watch said in December.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports the conflict continues to take a “terrible toll on civilians,” including more than 5,300 men, women and children in little over nine months.
In November the US State Department “signed off on the sale of $1.29 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, including tens of thousands of bombs that will restock a Saudi arms stockpile depleted by the country’s air campaign in Yemen, which has been linked to civilian deaths,” Samuel Oakford writes.
The sale includes F-15SA fighter jets, a configuration of the American-made F-15E Strike Eagle. A deal in 2010 included 36 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, 72 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 36 AH-6i light-attack helicopters, and 12 MD-530F light-turbine helicopters, which represented a windfall for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky Aircraft, MD Helicopters, General Electric and Longbow.

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