FROM THE START of the hideous Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen 18 months ago, two countries have played active, vital roles in enabling the carnage: the U.S. and U.K. The atrocities committed by the Saudis would have been impossible without their steadfast, aggressive support.
The Obama administration “has offered to sell $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia over its eight years in office, more than any previous U.S. administration,” as The Guardian reported this week, and also provides extensive surveillance technology. As The Intercept documented in April, “In his first five years as president, Obama sold $30 billion more in weapons than President Bush did during his entire eight years as commander in chief.”
Most important, according to the Saudi foreign minister, although it is the Saudis who have ultimate authority to choose targets, “British and American military officials are in the command and control center for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen” and “have access to lists of targets.” In sum, while this bombing campaign is invariably described in Western media outlets as “Saudi-led,” the U.S. and U.K. are both central, indispensable participants. As the New York Times editorial page put it in August: “The United States is complicit in this carnage,” while The Guardian editorialized that “Britain bears much responsibility for this suffering.”
From the start, the U.S.- and U.K.-backed Saudis have indiscriminately and at times deliberately bombed civilians, killing thousands of innocent people. From Yemen, Iona Craig and Alex Potter have reported extensively for The Intercept on the widespread civilian deaths caused by this bombing campaign. As the Saudis continued to recklessly and intentionally bomb civilians, the American and British weapons kept pouring into Riyadh, ensuring that the civilian massacres continued. Every once and awhile, when a particularly gruesome mass killing made its way into the news, Obama and various British officials would issue cursory, obligatory statements expressing“concern,” then go right back to fueling the attacks.
This weekend, as American attention was devoted almost exclusively to Donald Trump, one of the most revolting massacres took place. On Saturday, warplanes attacked a funeral gathering in Sana, repeatedly bombing the hall where it took place, killing over 100 people and wounding more than 500 (see photo above). Video shows just some of the destruction and carnage: