The US Must Stop Enabling Saudi Coalition War Crimes in Yemen

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The Norwegian Refugee Council condemned yesterday’s airstrike on civilians fleeing Hodeidah:

We are appalled by conflict that appears entirely ungoverned by the laws of war and astounded at the silence of the many governments enabling it. We cannot comprehend any possible moral justification for killing civilians fleeing to safety as their towns become battlegrounds.

The coalition’s Hodeidah offensive is forcing residents to flee by the hundreds of thousands. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over half of the city’s population of 600,000 has been uprooted and forced to flee. Yesterday more than 30 of those people were blown up in another senseless, illegal coalition attack. Hodeidah’s residents are caught in a nightmarish situation: if they stay, they risk bombings, starvation, and disease, and if they flee they risk all of the same things. The coalition’s blatant disregard for civilian lives puts innocent Yemenis at risk of being killed no matter where they go.

The Saudis and their allies carry out one massacre of civilians after another with impunity because they believe there is nothing they can do that will jeopardize U.S. and other Western governments’ support for their war. So far, our government has done nothing to make them doubt that assumption. It is up to members of Congress to prove them wrong.

CNN reported on the latest massacre in a new story today:

“Four people were killed in the strike before, that’s why they fled. They wanted to save their lives, their children’s lives. Is nowhere safe for us?” one survivor said.

Both sources did not want to be named out of fear for their safety.

Thursday’s airstrikes hit al-Duraihmi district, some 20 kilometers from the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, the latest flashpoint in Yemen’s ongoing war. The International Rescue Committee said airstrikes in al-Duraihmi city on Wednesday killed 13 people.

“Anything that moves dies,” [bold mine-DL] one resident of al-Duraihmi who didn’t want to be named for security reasons told CNN.

Unless it is halted now, the coalition’s Hodeidah offensive will lead to many more attacks on civilians like this one and the attacks on the city’s fish market and main hospital that we saw earlier in the month. All attacks on civilians are abhorrent and completely unjustifiable. The US must end all support for the Saudi coalition because of its long record of war crimes against Yemeni civilians.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.