US/Saudi Wars Crimes Prompt Missile Attack on US Destroyer: Do Yemeni Lives Matter?

October 13th, 2016 - by admin

NBC Evening News & Medea Benjamin / & Jason Ditz / – 2016-10-13 00:33:31

Do Western Nations Care About Yemeni Lives or Saudi Blood Money?

(October 12, 2016) — “One possible motive for the targeting of American ships — US support for Saudi Arabia, which has been bombing the Iranian-backed rebels since last year. 140 people were killed after this airstrike on a funeral on Sunday. Hours later, the USS Mason was attacked. . . . Tonight, the urgent question: How will the US respond to an attack that was potentially directed by Iran?”
— Hans Nichols, NBC Evening News.

Do Western Nations Care About
Yemeni Lives or Saudi Blood Money?

Medea Benjamin /

(October 13, 2016) — How much is the life of a Yemeni worth? Not much, according to the Saudi regime that has been bombing and starving the people of Yemen for since March 2015, or to the Saudi’s western backers, particularly the US and UK, which have been supplying the Saudi regime with weapons, military training, logistical support and diplomatic cover for its dirty interventionist war.

The latest outrage is the October 8 bombing of a packed funeral hall in Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa. This horrendous attack killed more than 140 people and injured about 600 more.

On the heels of this attack comes a blistering report by Reuters [“As Saudis Bombed Yemen, US Worried about Legal Blowback”] showing, through Freedom of Information Act documents, that the Obama administration went ahead with a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings from US officials that the United States could be implicated in war crimes for supporting a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians.

What has been the US and UK governments’ response to the funeral bombing? The British government announced UK arms sales to the Saudis is “under careful and continual review”, while the Obama administration issued a statement that US support for Saudis is not a “blank check” and that the US was “prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values and interests.”

The “principles, values and interests” of the Western powers, however, have been to buy cheap Saudi oil and make record profits by selling massive quantities of weapons to one of the most repressive countries in the world.

Ever since the founding of the kingdom in 1932, the West has allied itself with a government that beheads nonviolent dissidents, forces women to live under the dictates of male guardians, treats foreign workers like indentured servants, spreads the intolerant Wahhabi version of Islam around the world, funds terrorist groups, crushes democratic uprisings in neighboring countries like Bahrain and now wages a catastrophic war in one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, Yemen.

Yemenis are furious about the latest Saudi massacre, as well as Western complicity and the lack of action on the part of the international community. Thousands marched on the UN headquarters demanding a UN investigation. Others are amassing at the Saudi border, calling for revenge and perhaps sparking an even wider conflict.

In the US, Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut is one of the few representatives expressing outrage. He said the Saudi attack on funeral party follows months of attacks on schools, homes, and hospitals. “If the US is serious when it says our support for Saudi Arabia isn’t a blank check, then it’s time to prove it — because it’s clear the Saudi-led coalition isn’t listening.

“The administration should pull US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen because it’s harming America’s national security, enabling terrorist groups to thrive, and killing innocent civilians.”

ACTION: What You Can Do
Join us in demanding that our government stop arming the Saudi regime.

Support the courageous human rights defenders inside Saudi Arabia who are trying to reform their government through nonviolent means, such as Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, also known as ACPRA, whose eleven members — all prominent human rights defenders — are suffering lengthy prison sentences.

Call on the United Nations to form an independent international commission to investigate war crimes in Yemen.

The time for review and mild statements of condemnation is over. The blood of the Yemeni people is on our hands. If the Western nations want to show that they value the lives of Yemenis over the profits of their weapons industries, they must immediately stop providing the bombs, the bombers, the armored tanks, the Apache helicopters, the missiles, the howitzers, the training, the refueling, and all other military support to the Saudi criminals.

If Western values do not prioritize making blood money for General Dynamics, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and the other companies that profit from war, let’s prove it.

Medea Benjamin is the founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange and the author of nine books, including the recently released Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection.

US Fires Cruise Missiles at
Yemen Coast, Destroying Radar Sites

Jason Ditz /

(October 12, 2016) — The USS Nitze, a guided missile destroyer, has fired a series of cruise missiles at the Yemeni coast today, targeting and destroying three radar stations along the Red Sea under the control of the Shi’ite Houthi movement.

The attacks come after two separate reports in recent days of missiles fired from Yemen coming close to another destroyer, the USS Mason. The ship was not hit in either case, and while the Houthis denied involvement, the Pentagon claimed “evidence” of their involvement, and claimed the Mason may have been target painted by Houthi radar.

The Navy’s statement on tonight’s cruise missile attacks insisted that the destruction of the radar sites would prevent the Houthis from being able to track or target ships off their coast. The Pentagon added that there was “little risk of civilian casualties” in the attacks.

While the Houthis have attacked warships participating in the Saudi-led naval blockade of Yemen, it is unknown why they would attack the USS Mason in the first place, with the ship apparently just passing through the area into the Red Sea. At the same time, it is unclear why the USS Mason is still hanging out off the coast of Yemen days later if it indeed was meant to be just passing by.

The Houthis have suggested the reports blaming them are an attempt to distract from a weekend incident in which a Saudi warplane attacked a funeral home in the Yemeni capital, killing 155 people.

The reports indeed have been successful at that, and AP reports that the missiles fired sort of near the USS Mason were sort of similar to Iranian missiles has added another layer of intrigue to the story, rendering the Saudi war crimes all but forgotten on the front page.

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