By Daniel Larison
This is just the latest wedding massacre carried out by Saudi coalition forces. The coalition has illegally treated all of Saada as a military target for three years, and it has routinely struck civilian targets ever since. U.S. military assistance to the coalition enables attacks like this one, and it has not made coalition attacks any less likely to hit civilian targets. On the contrary, by providing the coalition with unconditional backing for its campaign and refusing to criticize them for their war crimes the U.S. makes attacks on civilians a certainty. There is no excuse for providing weapons and fuel to governments that slaughter people in their homes, schools, markets, and during their wedding celebrations. That support must end, and it is long past time that Congress voted to end it.
The coalition has consistently shown flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians in Yemen. A similar wedding massacre in a small village in Hajjah in April of this year killed 23 people, including the bride. Alex Potter visited the site and reported on the condition of the survivors earlier this month:
The missile had struck around 11 p.m., killing 23 of the revelers, and wounding over 60, according to villagers who spoke with The Intercept. Most of the dead were in pieces.
“It took us over a week to find all the body parts,” Saleh Yahya said in an interview in Al-Raqah on May 6, two weeks after the strike.
Al-Raqah isn’t on most maps; it’s no more than a blip on a hillside two and a half hours from the city of Hajjah, and over an hour from any paved road. To get to Al-Raqah, one follows a rocky and nearly dry river bed, and the directions offered by locals. There are few vehicles around, other than the occasional motorcycle; anything more would break down on the rough path. This is a place for farmers, not fighters.
The Trump administration frequently complains about Yemeni missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, but no one from this administration ever says anything about the numerous documented war crimes committed by the Saudis and Emiratis against innocent civilians in Yemen. The U.S. simply ignores the evidence of coalition war crimes in order to continue providing military assistance to them, and the result is that hundreds and thousands of Yemeni civilians are killed with our help.