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US: We may reduce support for Saudi if civilian deaths rise in Yemen

Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman's gung-ho attitude towards the war in Yemen has drawn the ire of the US. The heavy handed attitude of the young prince known also as MBS has forced the American's into actions against their long-time ally following the outcry over civilian casualties in the war in Yemen.

US double standards in the Middle East – Cartoon [Cartoon Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

According to CNN the Pentagon issued a warning to Saudi Arabia that it is prepared to reduce military and intelligence support if the Saudis fail to demonstrate that they are attempting to limit civilian deaths in airstrikes.

Their concerns were raised following a strike on a school bus that killed 40 children earlier this month. Experts have said the bomb used in the attack was sold to Saudi as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal. Two officials told CNN that frustration within the senior ranks is rising over the Kingdom's operations in Yemen, which were launched by MBS in 2015 when he was the country's defence minister.

READ: Saudi-led Coalition must be punished for war crimes in Yemen, insists Human Rights Watch

Defence Secretary James Mattis and General Joseph Votel, head of US military operations in the Middle East, are said to be particularly concerned that the US is supporting a Saudi-led campaign of air strikes that have killed large numbers of civilians.

Until now the US had paid little attention to the concerns raised by human rights groups over Saudi air-strikes in Yemen. But it seems a series of recent strikes in which large numbers of civilians were killed, had been the last straw. The Pentagon, as well as the State Department, has now delivered direct messages to the Saudis about limiting civilian casualties. "At what point is enough enough?" one official remarked to CNN.

Bin Salman's indifference towards reports of civilian deaths in Yemen was met with outrage. He is reported to have said that he "wants to leave a huge impact on the consciousness of coming generations of Yemenis," adding:

We want their children and women, indeed, their men, to shiver every time Saudi Arabia is mentioned.

The young prince made those remarks while ordering Saudi officials to ignore international criticism, an attitude that may alarm his western allies.

Following MBS's latest assault on Yemen, the UN called for an "independent and impartial investigation" into attacks that target civilians. Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, said: "What is happening in Yemen is unimaginable. The time has come for everyone to wake up to the terrible reality of the war and its human cost, and the need to work together to end the hostilities."

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Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUSYemen
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