Yemen Civil War: Pompeo Backed Continuing Support for Saudi War
Secretary of State chose to continue backing Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen against the advice of the vast majority of his diplomatic staff, who voiced concerns about the war’s mounting civilian death toll.
Acording to Wall Street Journal, In making the decision, Mike Pompeo disregarded the concerns of his regional specialists and military advisers, who counseled him against certifying U.S. aerial-refueling support and munitions sales to aid Saudi Arabia as its war against Yemen’s Houthi rages on.
Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen. Those who objected included specialists in the region and in military affairs. He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a classified State Department memo and people familiar with the debate.
The airstrike prompted strong criticism from human rights activists and organizations across the world, with many countries, including Iran, condemning the killing.
CNN reported that the weapon used to kill the Yemeni children was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by the American Lockheed Martin.
Saudi Arabia had used a similar weapon to target a funeral ceremony in Yemen in 2016 that left 155 people killed and hundreds more wounded.
According to UNICEF, since the beginning of the intervention led by Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen in 2015, about 2,400 children have been killed and 3,600 maimed in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has been using the precision-guided weapons provided by Washington to strike the civilian targets in Yemen.
Former US President Barack Obama banned the sale of military technology to Saudi Arabia over 'human rights concerns.'The ban, however, was overturned by the Trump administration in 2017.The criticism by the 56-year-old comedian, who has 17.8 million followers on Twitter, has received more than 95,000 likes and was retweeted by over 44,000 users.
U.S. support for the Saudi war has received mounting bipartisan criticism in Congress as a series of high-profile mass-casualty-bombing incidents involving U.S. munitions have been reported.
The United Nations estimates civilian casualties in the years-long conflict have exceeded 16,700, making it the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Most of Pompeo’s military and regional-specialist advisers objected to the move “due to a lack of progress on mitigating civilian casualties,” according to the Journal‘s report, which cites internal State Department memos. Certification of continued military aid would “provide no incentive for Saudi leadership to take our diplomatic messaging seriously,” and “damage the Department’s credibility with Congress,” those advisers argued in the memos, which were described to the Journal.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall the former Saudi-backed Hadi regime and crush the Houthi movement.
The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured until then. The war and an accompanying blockade have also caused famine across Yemen.