RNA - Further demonstrating the willingness of the US to reward and perpetuate the war crimes of its allies, the Trump administration is reportedly moving ahead with a multi-billion-dollar sale of so-called "smart bombs" to Saudi Arabia just weeks after the US-backed Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen, killing more than 20 people.
The precise details of the deal - which also includes weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates - are not entirely unclear as it is in the preliminary stages, but it is said to include tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon, the company that helped produce weaponry used in the deadly wedding airstrike last month.
The sale in question is a direct commercial transaction between Raytheon and the Persian Gulf Arab states. The reported weapons deal comes as many human rights groups are increasingly calling attention to US complicity in Saudi Arabia's war crimes and vicious, years-long assault on Yemen, which has been a humanitarian disaster.
According to the United Nations, "April was the deadliest month for civilians in Yemen so far this year, with a sharp increase in casualties." At least 236 civilians were killed and 238 injured in Yemen in April - a total of 474 civilian casualties, well over double the 180 civilian casualties documented in March this year. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted in a press briefing on Friday that “between 26 March 2015 and 10 May 2018, our office has documented a total of 16,432 civilian casualties - 6,385 dead and 10,047 injured. The vast majority of these - 10,185 civilian casualties - were as a result of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.”
Sadly, Yemen is now experiencing dubious accolades such as the world’s worst-ever humanitarian crisis and the largest-ever cholera outbreak in the world. More than 17 million people face starvation and 2,000 people have died of cholera so far, with over 600,000 suspected cases.
Last year, too much time was spent on petty, bureaucratic issues at the Arms Trade Treaty Conference. But time is running out for people in Yemen where the death toll is rapidly rising and a child dies every 10 minutes of hunger or disease. The treaty has the potential to save millions of lives and reduce suffering around the world – but it can only do that if states actually adhere to it. It’s time for that to happen.
According to Fars News Agancy, there is extensive evidence that irresponsible Western arms flows to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have resulted in enormous harm to Yemeni civilians. According to Amnesty International, “This has not deterred the US, the UK and other states, including France, Spain and Italy, from continuing transfers of billions of dollars’ worth of such arms.” As well as devastating civilian lives, this makes a mockery of the global Arms Trade Treaty.
In Yemen everything is transparent, and there is no place to hide a dark heart. It is time for international rights group to walk the walk and act in a way that agrees with the things they say. The rights groups should take legal action against Saudi Arabia and its partners in crime for not loosening of the blockade on Yemeni ports. That's because the Saudis continue to impose restrictions on aid and commercial imports of essential goods.
Most times, it is in starting with the first step that other steps become clearer. It is time for the UN Human Rights Council to dare to wake up and take legal action against the Western governments as well, unless they halt sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates. By their own account, there is an urgent need to end this foolish war.