pindo arms for yemen genocide

Report charges Pindo-Saudi arms sale ignored civilian casualties
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Aug 13 2020

Toad airstrike in Yemen (Photo: Saba)

In its invoking of a phony state of emergency to ram through an $8.1b weapons deal that included precision-guided missiles for the Toads in May of last year, the Pindo State Dept “did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer of PGMs,” a report released Tuesday by the Dept’s Inspector General charged. The emergency was declared by Pompeo on May 24 2019 as a means of circumventing congressional opposition to arms sales to the Toads and the UAE. Pompeo claimed at the time that the weapons were needed urgently to “deter Iranian aggression.” The report, requested by the Demagog-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee, came amid fresh reports from Yemen of atrocities caused by Pindo-supplied Toad warplanes and munitions. At least nine children were among 20 killed in an Aug 6 Toad airstrike against a four-vehicle civilian convoy in northern Yemen. A local health worker said that the majority of the dead were women and children, as were seven others who were critically wounded. The UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, said the attack came “as the victims were traveling by road.” She added:

Like all senseless acts of violence against civilians, this is shocking and completely, totally unacceptable.

The British charity Save the Children also confirmed the civilian casualties. Xavier Joubert, the charity’s director in Yemen, said:

In less than a month at least 17 children have lost their lives as a result of indiscriminate attacks in Yemen.

On Jul 14, the UN reported another airstrike in Yemen’s Hajjah province that killed seven children, some as young as two years old. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), the Pindo-backed Toad/UAE war against Yemen has killed over 100k people since it began in 2015. The Saudi bombing campaign would be impossible without Pindo weapons and logistical support, which has included targeting intelligence as well as aerial refueling for Saudi warplanes. The devastating impact of the estimated 257k Toad airstrikes has been compounded by a naval blockade mounted by the UAE with Pindo naval support for the express purpose of starving the Yemeni population into submission. Many thousands more Yemenis, including at least 75k children under the age of five, have died of starvation, while the worst cholera epidemic on record has infected 1.2m. Fully half of Yemen’s 28m people are living on the brink of starvation. The State Dept held a press briefing the day before the OIG’s report was released, claiming that the “big takeaway” was that the report confirmed that the State Dept and Pompeo acted in “complete accordance of the law and found no wrongdoing in the administration’s exercise of the emergency authorities.” This claim was echoed by Pompeo at a press conference in Prague Wednesday, where he said:

We did everything by the book. I am proud of the work that my team did. We got a really good outcome. We prevented the loss of lives.

He failed to specify which “lives” he had in mind. Clearly they were not those of the thousands killed by Pindo munitions in Yemen. The OIG report does not exonerate Pompeo. It states at the outset:

OIG did not make any assessment of the policy decisions underlying the arms transfers and the associated emergency.

It notes that the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) of 1976 merely requires that the executive branch declare that “an emergency exists,” which requires that the sale be made immediately “in the natsec interests of Pindostan” in order to override Congress. The publicly released report was heavily redacted, with the acting IG Diana Shaw invoking in a cover letter “executive branch confidentiality interests, including executive privilege.” In addition to its indictment of the State Dept for failing to concern itself with the civilian casualties caused by the weapons being fast-tracked to the Toads, an unredacted copy of the OIG’s report leaked to the media also provides a timeline that makes clear the claim of an “emergency” was entirely fraudulent. It establishes that discussion on the use of the AECA emergency clause began nearly two months before it was actually invoked, and that when the report’s findings were issued to the State Dept, just $20m of the billions of dollars in arms sales involved had been implemented. Far from Faschingstein having to rush weapons to a beleaguered ally, the emergency declaration was made for the dual purposes of fueling the Pindo war build-up against Iran and safeguarding the billions of dollars in profits from Toad arms sales accruing to Raytheon and other major Pindo weapons manufacturers.

Congressional opposition to arms sales to the Toad monarchical regime increased in the wake of the Oct 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist and former regime insider, who was killed and dismembered at the Toad embassy in Istanbul, Turkey. The Demagogs’ profession of concern over the Toad atrocities carried out with Pindo weaponry in Yemen was belated, to say the least. Pindo arms sales to Riyadh soared under Obama, providing the Toad military with cluster bombs, fighter jets, white phosphorus, targeting lists, mid-air refueling and around-the-clock maintenance, without which the slaughter of Yemenis would have been impossible. In any case, for Faschingstein and both capitalist parties, Yemen and its Pindo-backed war crimes are merely a sideshow in the greater game of struggle for hegemony over the energy-rich Middle East. The drive to war against Iran has not been blunted by the exponential spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the US and internationally. On the contrary, the crisis which it has unleashed has only intensified Pindo militarism, which provides a means of directing uncontrollable domestic tension outward. Faschingstein’s determination to effect regime change in Iran has only escalated in the face of Beijing’s cementing last month a far-reaching agreement with Tehran, providing $400b of investments in Iran’s oil, gas and transport sectors, in exchange for cheap oil supplies. In addition to Chinese investments in other sectors, it will allow China to deploy up to 5k troops to protect its interests in Iran. The danger of a Pindo war against Iran, made plain with Faschingstein’s drone assassination at Baghdad’s international airport on Jan 3 of Gen Qassem Suleimani is bound up with Pindo preparations for war against China and Russia and the threat of a nuclear holocaust. This threat can be answered only through the political mobilization of the international working class in struggle against war and its source, the capitalist profit system.

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