Friday, November 18, 2016
Saudi War Crimes in Yemen May Be America's Too
Legal Experts Warn US Involvement in War Could Be Criminal
Noting that Saudi Arabia is deliberately targeting civilians in Yemen, killing huge amounts of innocent civilians, bombing economic infrastructure and committing myriad war crimes is no longer particularly controversial, some 20 months into an extremely ugly invasion.
Legal experts, including Columbia University professor Gabor Rona, are pointing out something that the Obama Administration has desperately tried to avoid, however, which is that by virtue of heavy US backing for the Saudi war, and indeed US involvement in the war, those Saudi war crimes may well also be crimes by US personnel.
The US has been backing the Saudi war since it began, providing ships to participate in the naval blockade of Yemen, and also providing substantial in-air refueling support, allowing the US-made Saudi planes to remain in the air longer, dropping more US-made Saudi bombs on Yemen’s civilians.
More than a few administration lawyers have made the exact same warnings in the past, and while the administration is trying to shrug off the concerns by claiming they don’t have any specific role in deciding on targets. Whether this is true or not, and the Saudis have certainly claimed the US and Britain are both helping them with targeting, isn’t necessarily relevant to legal culpability in supporting the attacks.