Kevin Martin of Peace Action writes in a recent dispatch:
In Yemen, a Saudi Arabi-led coalition backed by the U.S. has been waging a war since March 2015. In that time, the United Nations estimates that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed, and almost twice that number have been injured. The U.N. human rights office reports that the Saudi-led coalition has been responsible for nearly 75% of the civilian casualties.
In just the last few days, 34 people have been killed—including 14 children—in strikes on a school, a hospital and a potato chip factory. Just today Doctors Without Borders evacuated its staff in northern Yemen following an airstrike on one of its hospitals. The months-long bombing of Yemen by Saudi Arabia, using U.S. made F-15s and munitions, has led to a humanitarian crisis the U.N. calls a “catastrophe.”
The U.S. has been the arms dealer of choice for Saudi Arabia, selling them nearly $110 billion in weapons over the last 8 years. Just recently, the U.S. State Department approved a new $1.15 billion weapons sale to the Saudis, including tanks and high-powered munitions. The Yemeni people shouldn’t be subjected to Saudi Arabia reloading with U.S. weapons. Congress can, and must, act to stop this sale.
U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (CA-33) recently stated, “I have tried numerous times to work with the administration to stop the United States from assisting Saudi Arabia in their indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen. But when Saudi Arabia continues to kill civilians, and in this case children, enough is enough. Having served on active duty, one of my responsibilities was to teach the Law of War. I am also a graduate of Air War College. The indiscriminate civilian killings by Saudi Arabia look like war crimes to me. In this case, children as young as 8 were killed by Saudi Arabian air strikes. By assisting Saudi Arabia, the United States is aiding and abetting what appears to be war crimes in Yemen. The administration must stop enabling this madness now.”
Congress can block the sale of these weapons, but has only 25 days left to act! Making matters worse, Congress is currently in the middle of a month-long recess, so it will have to take up legislation blocking the sale immediately after returning from recess after Labor Day. We need to put maximum pressure on every member of Congress NOW if we’re going to succeed.
Thank you in advance for acting on this urgent issue.
Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund
P.S. Human rights groups and U.N. agencies say that more than 9,000 people have been killed since the Yemen war escalated with the Saudi-led coalition.