[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).
dan h
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
      * [123]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 [129]Syria, and supports
    Saudi-led bombing in [130]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 [131]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 [138]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 [139]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
    much higher.

     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
    coalition partners.Ó

    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 [141]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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