Saturday, August 20, 2016

New York Times; "Saudi Arabia Kills Civilians, the U.S. Looks the Other Way"

"In the span of four days earlier this month, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen bombed a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital, killing 19 people; a school, where 10 children, some as young as 8, died; and a vital bridge over which United Nations food supplies traveled [along with military hardware one would suppose], punishing millions.

[Sherman's] forces destroyed military targets
as well as industry, infrastructure, and civilian property
and disrupted the Confederacy's economy and its transportation networks.

He and the Union Army's commander, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, 
believed that the Civil War would come to an end 
only if the Confederacy's strategic, economic, and psychological capacity for warfare
were decisively broken.

Sherman's bold move of operating deep within enemy territory and without supply lines
is considered to be revolutionary in the annals of war.

...An Obama administration official told me on the condition of anonymity that the United States included the bridge on a no-strike list of vital infrastructure, explicitly informing the Saudis that it was “critical to responding to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.” And yet the Saudi-led coalition obliterated the structure, either intentionally disregarding humanitarian considerations and the wishes of the United States, or out of sheer incompetence.

War doesn't work very well 
if the enemy and 'his' supply routes are not knocked out

See Sherman, but it's not our war

...The American assistance for Saudi Arabia that Mr. Obama authorized last March includes aerial refueling for coalition jets, intelligence and targeting assistance. American tankers offload fuel to any coalition jet, no matter its target. This support comes on top of more than $100 billion in arms deals with Saudi Arabia between 2010 and 2015, and recent deals made explicitly to “replenish” stockpiles spent in Yemen.

'We' are killing people

...In June, Saudi Arabia threatened to cut its funding to the United Nations after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon included the coalition on a list of violators of children’s rights. While criticizing the Saudis for their bullying, Mr. Ban’s office has also been accommodating out of a belief that it can’t afford to lose Saudi money.

...A scorched earth policy is a military strategy
that targets anything that might be useful to the enemy 
while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. 

Specifically, all of the assets that are used or can be used by the enemy are targeted,
such as food sources, transportation, communications, industrial resources, 
and even the people in the area.

...On the night of Aug. 11, coalition warplanes bombed the main bridge on the road from Hodeidah, along the Red Sea coast, to Sana, the capital. When it didn’t fully collapse, they returned the next day to destroy the bridge.

...Many in Washington see support for the Saudi-led coalition as necessary for maintaining American-Saudi relations after the nuclear deal with Iran last year. Saudi Arabia has used this leeway to carry out its Yemen campaign with abandon. Each fatal strike and subsequent implausible Saudi denial should test the limits of the Obama administration’s support.

Instead, a spokesman for United States Central Command, which oversees American operations in the Middle East including support for the coalition, told me last week that the United States is not conducting a single investigation into civilian casualties in Yemen. American tankers wait to refuel American-made fighter jets, loaded with American-made bombs destined for Yemen, the White House evidently doesn’t realize that it is waging a war."

Samuel Oakford (@samueloakford) is a journalist based at the United Nations, where he was previously a correspondent for Vice News.