Saturday, October 8

"US Reviews Support to Saudi Coalition after Funeral Massacre Kills 200+ in Yemen" (UPDATED 11:00 AM EDT)

The death toll has been downgraded to anywhere between 80+ (a Houthi source) and 145, according to CNBC and other Western sources, while FARS is reporting 213 dead. From all reports I've seen, the wounded toll is at more than 500. 

Just about every major publication in the U.S. and abroad has by now done an in-depth report on the incident, which is having widespread ramifications. Here is the link to CNBC's report on the massacre. But I do want to include these passages from the FARS report that if accurate would call into question any Saudi attempt to portray the bombing of the civilian gathering as a mistake. (emphasis mine):
The airstrikes targeted a hall where people were paying their last respects to the father of Yemen's Interior Minister Jalal Al-Rouyshan who is also the chief of staff of former President Ali Abdullah Salih.
A second strike hit exactly the same region as people rushed to aid those injured in the first round of air assault. 
Also, the Saudi warplanes staged massive airstrikes on a ceremony on the house of Sheikh Abu Shwareb, inflicting tens of casualties on the civilians who had gathered for a ceremony at his residence.
The airstrikes killed at least 213 people, and wounded 534.
And CNBC notes:
Yemeni officials said the dead and wounded included military and security officials from the ranks of the Shiite Houthi rebels fighting the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and their allies, loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Looks to me as if the Saudis couldn't resist such a target-rich gathering no matter how many civilians were present.   
Review? Review? No first what you do is recall your ambassador and expel theirs. Then you start the review. And what does the White House think? That just telling Al Saud that U.S. security cooperation "isn't a blank check" is going to persuade them Washington is serious?  

And while we're at, why don't we also review our support for the United Kingdom? Also, France. And Belgium. What about U.A.E.? Why not also Qatar and Turkey? I'm not suggesting that removing American support for all those governments would solve the Islamist terrorist problem. But it would go a long way, eh? 

What a bunch of fiends we're involved with, but then fiends of a feather flock together. That includes my own government. [shivering] It's like living inside a horror movie. 
October 9, 2016

Saudi airstrikes targeting a funeral of opposition rebels horrified the world leaving over 200 dead forcing the United States to reconsider their position regarding aid and support to the coalition which has already been blasted by the United Nations for targeting hospitals, civilian infrastructure and children.

The United States has issued an "immediate review" of all aid to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen after an airstrike killed over 200 people attending a funeral in Yemen. The Saudi coalition has come under fire in the past year even being included temporarily on the United Nation's "child killer" list for their indiscriminate bombing of hospitals, schools, and other civilian infrastructure that has led to mass loss of life among non-combatants. 

The White House called for an immediate ceasefire between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in the wake of the attack with US officials describing the incident as "deeply disturbing" despite a string of similar incidents in recent months that have shocked the conscience of the international community. 

Among the similar-natured attacks was an airstrike on a peaceful protest of hundreds of thousands in the downtown square of the capital of Sanaa roughly one month earlier although that incident led to less loss of life with the bombs mostly careening just outside the protesters. 

The Obama administration has also pushed forward an unprecedented round of arm sales not only to Saudi Arabia, the single largest buyer of US advanced weaponry, but also to a number of other Gulf States include Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates — sales that have been met by scorn from some lawmakers and the international community with concerns that these weapons would be turned against civilians and even domestic populations. 

"In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition and are preapred to adjust our support so as to better align with US principles, values, and interest said US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price. 

The National Security Council spokesman went further in admonishing Riyadh saying that "US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check."


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