[pjw] US spokesperson struggles with difference between bombs in Syria and Yemen (Ind't 10/11)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sat Nov 5 18:25:15 EDT 2016
Just rounding up information for the Nov. 14 Iraq Affinity Group meeting,
I came across this very telling article from the Independent which shows
the utter hypocrisy of the US supporting Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen
but condeming Russia's in Syria. It's too bad, though, that the reporter
didn't also press the US on its own human rights violations such as
bombing the hospital in Afghanistan, use of drones for assassinations,
putting special forces into countries uninvited (Yemen, Libya, Somalia,
Syria... though the Iraqis don't want full brigades it's possible they are
OK with the special ops there).
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
US spokesperson struggles with questions about the difference between
bombings in Syria and Yemen
US State Department official asked repeatedly about why the US supports
Saudi-led air strikes which have killed civilians in Sanaa, but has cut
off talks with Russia over continued shelling of Syrian rebels in
* Bethan McKernan Beirut
* Wednesday 12 October 2016 10:11 BST
A US government spokesperson has struggled to answer questions put to
him on why the US condemns Russian bombing in Syria, and supports
Saudi-led bombing in Yemen, both of which have killed thousands of
During a media briefing in Washington DC on Tuesday, State Department
spokesperson John Kirby was asked repeatedly about whether Saudi
coalition bombing of Houthi rebels in Sanaa - facilitated by US arms
sales to the Gulf state - deliberately targets civilian infrastructure.
On Saturday, an air strike in the Yemeni capital killed 140 people
at a funeral hall, in one of the worst single incidents of violence in
the 18-month-old civil war between the exiled Yemeni government and
Houthi rebels who are in control of the capital. Saudi Arabia has
opened an investigation into the incident but denied culpability.
ÒOver the weekend there was this air strike on a funeral by the
Saudi-led coalition,Ó Matt Lee of the Associated Press asked. ÒI was
just wondering: does the administration see any difference between this
kind of thing, and what you accuse the Russians, Syrians and the
Iranians of doing in Syria, and particularly Aleppo?Ó
Mr Kirby struggled to answer the question, pointing out that the
Kingdom has launched an investigation into how the funeral hall was
hit, whereas nothing of the sort has been carried out by the Syrian or
Russian governments, which he accused of deliberately causing harm to
Russia did call for an investigation into the bombing of an aid
convoy near Aleppo on September 19th, which contributed to the
suspension of talks on Syria between Washington and Moscow
Scores dead in blasts at funeral in Yemeni capital
ÒWhat weÕre seeing in Aleppo is nothing but a concerted effort in
recent days toÉ subdue that city by force,Ó he said.
Rebel-held east Aleppo has been targeted by unprecedented air
strikes since the collapse of a US and Russian brokered ceasefire last
month. At least 330 people have died in the renewed assault, the World
Health Organisation says, and activists on the ground put the figure
Both the Syrian and Russian governments maintain that strikes are
targeted at terrorists who use civilians as human shields.
Mr Lee, the APÕs diplomatic correspondent, continued to hold Mr KirbyÕs
feet to the fire on the Yemeni issue, pressing him for an answer on how
Òan increasing number of Yemeni civilians are at risk and being killed
by weapons that the United States has furnished to the Saudis and their
ÒYou donÕt find any kind of issue with this? Because a lot of people
do, including on [Capitol] Hill,Ó he added.
Mr Kirby said that the situation was very different in Syria and Yemen,
pointing out that Iranian-supplied Houthi rockets have killed Saudi
citizens in recent months.
ÒThe Saudi-led coalition were invited in by the Yemeni government - now
I know what youÕre going to say, the Russians were invited by [Syrian
President] AssadÉ but [the Saudis] are under real threat on their side
of the border in that war,Ó he said.
Earlier this week, an investigation by Reuters revealed that State
Department officials and lawyers in Barack ObamaÕs administration did
not come to a conclusion on whether the US could be legally defined as
a Ôco-belligerentÕ in YemenÕs war before selling Saudi Arabia armaments
worth $1.3 billion last year.
Several officials said worries were also expressed before the deal that
the Saudi military did not have sophisticated enough weapons systems to
target militants without causing unnecessary loss of civilian life.
More than 10,000 people have died in the Yemeni civil war, the UN says,
and three million have been displaced from their homes.
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