By Khury Petersen-Smith
By now, the images are infamous: stunned, bloodied Yemeni children arriving at the hospital after their summer camp bus was bombed by Saudi aircraft. The United States is deeply implicated in that August 9 attack, which killed 54 people — most of them children
Fragments from the bomb bear the labels of U.S. weapons manufacturers. The indefensible nature of the bombing — there were no combatants anywhere in sight — has garnered headlines and even attention on Capitol Hill, opening a new conversation about U.S. involvement in the years-long siege of Yemen by a coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The coalition frames its war as an intervention on behalf of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the man they recognize as the legitimate president of Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the UAE claim to be targeting the Houthis, the opposition group on the other side of Yemen’s civil war that controls the country’s capital, and that has alleged ties with Iran. The images from the school bus attack, however, reveal the actual targets of the coalition’s air power.
While both the Houthis and the coalition take actions with destructive consequences for Yemen’s population, the overwhelming blame for the devastation and the humanitarian crisis lies with the United States, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The United States is supplying the aircraft to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the precision munitions they’re dropping, intelligence and mid-air refueling of the coalition warplanes. The United States also continues to carry out military operations in Yemen directly, with its own special forces and air strikes. But even when American personnel are not personally dropping the bombs, they seem to be involved in all of the other steps of the coalition’s operations.
On the same day of the attack on the school bus, and not far away, U.S. personnel were finishing up another, quieter activity that has received far less attention.
From August 5 through 9, a unit of the Wisconsin National Guard that was assigned to U.S. Army Central conducted a week-long training with members of the Royal Army of Oman’s Border Guard Brigade in Haima, Oman. The exercises were part of Oman’s militarization of its border with Yemen — with funding and other assistance from the United States.
In other words, not only is the United States. helping the coalition bomb Yemeni civilians. It’s helping trap the refugees fleeing that bombing.
You can read the full opinion article at Institute for Policy Studies here.