Since March, a Saudi led coalition has been bombing rebels in Yemen, in support of that country’s sitting government. Unfortunately, most of the people who have been killed in these attacks seem to be civilians, more than 2,300 of them. The United States, and following a further $1.29 billion sale of more than 10,000 munitions sold many of those bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia, the Human Rights Watch has called on the U.S. to stop selling weapons to the Saudis.
They are also calling for the Saudis to investigate the attacks to determine why they’ve had such a huge toll on civilians in Yemen. Those attacks, as well as rebel actions, have resulted in 1.5 million Yemeni citizens being displaced and, if the conflict continues, it could result in a crisis approaching that of Syria, refugees from which are caught in the midst of Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
Human Rights Watch maintains that the Saudis may be responsible for war crimes in the death of the Yemeni civilians, as they have repeatedly targeted sites that are off limits according to the Geneva conventions and other laws of war. They caution that, as the United States has not only sold those weapons to the Saudis, but is providing logistical support to coordinate the attacks, they U.S. might be culpable in those crimes as well.
Meanwhile, civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen continue to suffer. Schools, hospitals, and religious buildings have been destroyed, and many people are close to famine. According to one Red Cross observer, “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.” If things keep up like this, Yemen is going to become a source of refugees just as Syria has, as millions flee their homes for safety across the borders.