The Saudi and United Arab Emirates war on little Yemen, which was launched by Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman in March of 2015, has flown under the radar among the US public until recently.
Then on August 9, the Saudi-led air coalition struck Saadeh, the stronghold of the Helpers of God (Houthi) movement in north Yemen, killing over 51 people, including 40 children. They sent an enormous bomb down on a school bus setting out on a class field trip.
There are only a few possibilities for explaining this atrocity. One is that the Saudis and the Emiratis hate the Helpers of God movement so much and despise its homeland Saadeh so much, that they are targeting civilians there as part of a determination to wipe it out or cow it into submission. If so, the strike was a war crime, and resembles the current Israeli sniping policy against unarmed civilian protesters in Gaza.
Another possibility is that the strategic planners for the Saudi and UAE air forces are not very good at their jobs, or are deliberately disregarding the guidance of international law on avoiding civilians when targeting the enemy. In that case, they are pursuing the sort of policy in north Yemen that the Israeli air force pursues in its major Gaza actions a simple disregard for the high possibility of killing civilians.
Id like to stand against any attempt to blame all this on religious culture. The UAE leadership is secular-minded but technically Maliki Sunni. The Saudi royal family is Wahhabi, but probably only 40% of the Saudi population is, and Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman has moved to put the Wahhabi clerics and morals police in their place. Theyve hosted Shiite leaders like Muqatada al-Sadr of Iraq. They hate the Zaydi Shiite Helpers of God not primarily because they are Shiite but because they are populists who despise the Saudi royal family and have vowed to overthrow it in favor of a republic.
The forty dead children have turned out to be highly inconvenient for the Saudis and the Emiratis. They did their best to copy Israeli propaganda by charging that the Helpers of God are using children as human shields or even had conscripted the children as child soldiers (it was a civilian school field trip).
Elizabeth Warren and others in Congress brought sharply into question the US militarys aid to the Saadeh strike. The Pentagon has sold billions of high-powered weapons to the Saudis and the UAE, and Trump has sold them things that Obama would not. The Pentagon advises the Saudis on strategic targeting, sharing US satellite and other intelligence. The Pentagon refuels Saudi and Emi...