A US official has called for an investigation into Saudi and UAE air strikes in Yemen.
Ana Escrogima, US deputy chief of Mission in Yemen, called for the speedy and transparent investigation into the air strikes carried out by the Saudi-UAE-led coalition in Yemen, according to Al Jazeera. US concerns were raised following a catastrophic strike on a school bus that killed 40 children earlier this month. Experts have said the bomb used in the strike the bus was sold to Saudi as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal.
Earlier this week the Pentagon warned Saudi Arabia it would reduce military and intelligence support if the Saudis fail to limit civilian casualties in Yemen.
The momentum against the Saudi-UAE-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen began with the UN’s latest report which accusing the alliance of potential war crimes earlier in the week. Previously the UN spoke of violations of the law of armed conflict in Yemen, but directly insinuates that likely crimes have taken place this time round. The report also accused the Houthi group of striking civilian targets, committing torture and recruiting child soldiers.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have said they are investigating the UN report, and will respond after their legal teams “review” the accusations.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies, including the UAE, launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. The group had taken control of the capital, Sanaa, and large swathes of the country forcing the internationally backed government into exile.
US ‘no stranger’ to civilian casualties
The US government is no stranger to civilian casualties. In Yemen, it has executed some 324 confirmed drone strikes, reportedly killing 1,362 Yemenis. The lack of transparency and accountability has led to secrecy over targeting practices in Yemen.
In January last year, US Special Forces conducted a raid in Yemen killing 30 civilians including at least ten women and children. Among the casualties was eight-year-old Nawar Al-Awlaki. Her brother, Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki had been killed in 2011 in a US drone strike.