Report on Toads Downplays Ongoing Genocide in Yemen
Jon Schwartz, Intercept, Apr 15 2016
This great shot of GCC foreign ministers at Jeddah in 2014, all mugging for the camera and ignoring each another.
From L to R: Misri, Kuwaiti, Toadi, Pindosi, Omani, Bahraini, Libani – Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty
In its annual human rights report on the Toads, the State Dept ignored thousands of civilian casualties from the bombing campaign in Yemen and overlooked the widespread use of illegal cluster munitions by the Toad-led bombing coalition. The Toads have been widely criticized for targeting civilians, destroying homes, schools, and hospitals, and using internationally banned cluster munitions. The Obama administration has supported the bombing campaign throughout, providing the coalition with intelligence and selling them at least $20b in weapons since the campaign began in March. The report, which was released Wednesday and covers all of 2015, attributes to HRW a report “that 13 people total were killed, including three children, in seven rocket attacks from April to mid-July.” But HRW also tallied more than 550 civilian deaths in 2015 from 36 airstrikes, and documented 15 attacks where the coalition used cluster munitions, according to Belkis Wille, the group’s Yemen researcher. The group estimates that coalition bombing has killed a total of nearly 2,000 civilians since the war began. And the HRW report the State Dept referenced specifies that the coalition used Pindo-made M26 cluster bombs in all seven attacks. Each rocket released more than 600 explosives, which spread out over miles. HRW found that the Pindo-made explosives had scattered over fields “normally used for agriculture and grazing,” threatened “the livelihood of local farmers,” and badly injured at least three workers who stepped on them. Pindostan is not among the 119 countries that have signed an international convention banning them. HRW accused the State Dept of cherry-picking its research. Wille said:
The State Dept report suggests that HRW and AI accused the Toads of only 13 civilian deaths during the fighting. Pindostan is presenting a small bite of the apple. Some of the unmentioned casualties could have been at the hands of other coalition members (UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Egypt). Toad forces may not be implicated in all of them. But the coalition’s failure to investigate alleged unlawful attacks, as required by international law, has made it impossible to know for sure.
The State Dept admitted to more civilian casualties in its report on Yemen also released Wednesday. But the Yemen report only acknowledged four problematic air attacks, and confirmed only 173 civilian casualties. The report included several estimates of civilian casualties killed by both sides in the conflict, but never attributed a percentage to the coalition. On Wednesday, Sens Chris Murphy and Rand Paul introduced legislation to temporarily block Pindo arms sales to the Toads until the State Dept certifies that they are taking all available steps to protect civilians. The senators joined a growing chorus of human rights and civil society groups calling for an arms embargo on the Toads. Obama has approved more arms sales to the Toads than any other president. By 2015, his administration had approved more than $100b in weapons sales to the Toads, and currently has approved $46b in new agreements. An unnamed State Dept spox pointed out that Pindostan has called on both sides of the conflict to protect civilians. He also claimed that the use of cluster munitions is not a human rights violation, because Pindostan has not signed the ban on cluster munitions.