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Global Solidarity needed against merchants of death in Yemen

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They say the Trump administration has a duty to stop supporting the unconscionable support and weapon sales to the Saudis, as called for by the European Parliament and implemented by several EU countries. They have even come up with a new bipartisan bill in the Senate attempting to force an end to the US involvement in the Saudi invasion, because they say the war was never authorized by Congress.

Introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee, the bill makes use of the 1973 War Powers Act, which gives legislators the ability to force an end to any unauthorized US military conflict. This is the first time the Senate will have ever attempted to do so.

The problem is, the War Party’s merchants of death are not sitting on their hands, as there are multiple unauthorized wars going on in the Middle East. Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White has taken a crack at justifying the Yemen war. She claims Saudi Arabia has been “attacked from Yemen by Iranian backed Houthis.” This is rubbish, as the Houthi missile strikes on Saudi Arabia happened deep into the three-year war – long after US involvement began.

Despite international outrage over the illegality of the unnecessary conflict and the unsubstantiated claims of Iranian involvement, other US officials also claim the legal pretext for the war is that the US has sold Saudi Arabia all the warplanes and promised to “service” those planes, which in and of itself means refueling the planes during combat operations and airstrikes against civilian objects, including residential areas, hospitals and schools, factories, UNESCO World heritage sights, orphanages and wedding parties.

In all, there is no authorization for the war, not even a United Nations mandate, which clearly makes the US government, due to a host of reliable data and official statements, complicit in Saudi war crimes and crimes committed against humanity in the poorest country in the Arab world:

1) Western governments approving the export of arms to Saudi Arabia have received many detailed and credible reports from the UN and other reputable bodies over the past months pointing to a pattern of horrific human rights abuses and war crimes committed throughout Yemen by the Saudi forces and allies. According to Amnesty International, “In the face of unbearable suffering of civilians and mounting casualties those governments are carrying on business as usual, even escalating arms transfers. This is a clear breach of the golden rules in the Arms Trade Treaty.”

2) In the face of unbearable suffering of civilians and mounting casualties, Western governments have failed to enact convincing measures to prevent further violations, conduct independent and impartial investigations, or bring the perpetrators to justice. According to many human rights groups and international aid organizations, including the UN Human Rights Watch and OXFAM, Western governments, instead, are carrying on business as usual, and in some cases even escalating arms transfers.

3) This is a clear breach of the golden rules in the Arms Trade Treaty, International Law, International Humanitarian law, and the UN Charter. Under the same laws and treaties, all Western governments, including the US, must immediately halt their deadly arms transfers and military support to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that are capable of being used to commit or facilitate further serious violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Yemen.

4) Washington and its NATO allies know full well that it’s because they have turned a blind eye that Saudi Arabia continues to bomb Yemen daily with the goal of returning its puppet, President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, to office. They also know full well that no proxy warfare is being played out between Tehran and Riyadh for influence there.

5) All this means there is an American-Saudi imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen. They are deliberately using disease and starvation and the withdrawal of humanitarian support as a tactic. While Saudi Arabia is dropping the bombs on the impoverished country and its people, the US is supplying the weaponry, refueling their bombers in the air, and providing other support for the war. President Trump has even authorized $110 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia, including cluster bombs!

There seems to be a new mood in Congress, where some lawmakers and senators say they want peace in Yemen. But are they enough to pass the bill into a law? History shows us that even if such attempts prove to be serious and honest in nature, the number of supporters of such bills is always too low. Still, if there is any hope pinned on the current move, the United Nations needs to get on board as well to voice its support, to forge global solidarity and to exert pressure on the Trump administration and other Western governments to stop providing the Saudis with arms, military, and diplomatic support.

Under its own Charter, the world body has a duty to exert pressure on Riyadh and Washington to end this horror, to lift their illegal blockade of Yemen, which continues to exacerbate a humanitarian crisis that aid groups are calling the most severe in decades.

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