Thugs and Lambs: the war in Yemen

A withering United Nations report on Yemen’s civil war provides fresh evidence about the extent to which Saudi Arabia and Iran have intervened in the conflict, pursuing their regional proxy war even as Yemen disintegrated into “warring statelets” that would be difficult to reunite. The U.N. panel said there were “strong indications of the supply of arms-related material manufactured in, or emanating from, the Islamic Republic of Iran,” in violation of a U.N. embargo on Yemen.

The U.N. experts were particularly critical of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. The U.N. previously had said that the majority of the more than 5,000 civilian deaths in the conflict are a result of the airstrikes, which are carried out by a handful of coalition countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, often using U.S.-supplied munitions.  The report, which has not yet been made public, was obtained by The Washington Post…

Eight million people, or a third of the Yemen’s population, are facing famine. A cholera outbreak that has affected roughly a million people is one of the largest ever recorded. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the war began…

At least four attacks on Saudi Arabia were carried out with missiles capable of a range “beyond that normally expected of the known missiles” in the Houthi arsenal, the panel said. The U.N. panel examined the remnants of two of the missiles – fired July 22 and Nov. 4, 2017 – and found they were consistent with the design of an Iranian missile and “almost certainly produced by the same manufacturer.”  While the report criticized Iran for failing to halt the transfer of weapons, the panel could not say with certainty how they were transported to the Houthis or who the supplier was.

In reviewing the conduct of Saudi-led military activity, the U.N. panel examined 10 airstrikes last year that killed 157 people, including 85 children, and found that “measures taken by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its targeting process to minimize child casualties, if any, remain largely ineffective.” And a coalition committee tasked with investigating the airstrikes had in some cases denied that strikes had taken place despite “clear evidence” to the contrary, the report said… The panel had corroborated media reports that the United Arab Emirates – part of the Saudi-led military coalition – had tortured prisoners under its control. The Saudi-led coalition, which enforced a blockade on Yemen, was using the “threat of starvation as a bargaining tool and an instrument of war.”The Houthis had carried out extrajudicial executions and mass detentions, fueling a cycle of revenge that “may last for years.”…“Political decision makers on all sides are not bearing the brunt of the war,” the report added. “Yemeni civilians are.”

Excerpts from KAREEM FAHIM A United Nations probe has detailed the fallout of the proxy war in Yemen between the Saudi coalition and Iran,  Washington Post, Jan 12, 2018

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