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ACTION ALERT: Growing Calls to Stop US Military Aid to Murderous Saudi Regime


October 13, 2016
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Warren Strobel / Reuters & United States Senator Chris Murphy

Rep. Ted Lieu, a former US Air Force lawyer, has urged the Obama Administration to suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to suspend cooperation in the war in Yemen, saying that the growing civilian death toll "appears to be the result of war crimes." US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), has called for a halt to aid noting: "Saudi airstrikes, with support from the US, have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. ‎Yesterday's attack on large funeral party follows months of attacks on schools, homes, and hospitals."

http://news.antiwar.com/2016/10/12/us-lawmaker-urges-halt-to-arms-sales-to-saudis-citing-yemen-war-crimes/

US Lawmaker Urges Halt to
Arms Sales to Saudis, Citing Yemen War Crimes

Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(October 12, 2016) -- Rep. Ted Lieu (D - CA), a former lawyer in the US Air Force, today urged the Obama Administration to suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to suspend cooperation with them on the war in Yemen, saying that the growing civilian death toll in the country "appears to be the result of war crimes."

Rep. Lieu said that the toll gives the appearance the Saudis are either intentionally targeting civilians or they are not distinguishing between civilians and military targets, noting that either one would amount to a war crime.

Lieu cited the White House promise that it is "reviewing support" to the Saudi coalition in the Yemen War, and urged them to halt all arms sales at least until that review in completed. Such promised reviews, of course, very rarely "complete," or produce any public statement from the administration that they ever actually happened.

The State Department responded to Lieu's letter by insisting aid is "always under review and subject to modification," and that they are also "gravely concerned" by the Yemeni death toll. They did not, however, indicate that such a halt was seriously considered.



US Lawmaker Urges Saudi Arms Sales Halt,
Cites Possible Yemen 'War Crimes'

Warren Strobel / Reuters

(October 12, 2016) -- A US lawmaker urged the Obama administration to suspend cooperation with a Saudi-led coalition conducting airstrikes in Yemen, saying in a letter released on Wednesday that civilian casualties from the strikes "appear to be the result of war crimes."

Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, saying the coalition had conducted more than 70 "unlawful airstrikes" in Yemen.

"It appears that either the Saudi coalition is intentionally targeting civilians or they are not distinguishing between civilians and military targets. Both would be war crimes," wrote Lieu, who had taught classes on the law of war when he was a lawyer in the US Air Force.

His letter increases pressure on the White House over Yemen after the administration announced Saturday it was reviewing support to the Saudi-led coalition after an air strike killed 140 mourners at a funeral.

US arms sales to Riyadh and other support to the coalition should be halted until the White House review is completed, Lieu wrote.

Lieu also cited a Reuters article published on Monday, which reported that the Obama administration went ahead with arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite some officials' fears that Washington could be implicated in war crimes for supporting the Saudi-led air campaign.

The Saudi-led coalition has said it takes its responsibilities under international humanitarian law seriously, and is committed to the protection of civilians in Yemen.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday: "We have received the letter, and are aware of congressional concerns regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia. We, too, remain gravely concerned by the high toll of the conflict, including civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure caused by all sides of the conflict."

"Aid and assistance for any country are always under review and subject to modification. We are going to review our position and continue to have further policy discussions," Kirby said.

Several recent efforts in the US Congress to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia have failed. But the White House on Saturday announced it was initiating an "immediate review" of US support to the Saudi-led coalition after the apparent coalition air strike on the funeral.

Saudi Arabia has said it will investigate the circumstances of that strike.


US Must End Support for Disastrous
Saudi Bombing Campaign in Yemen

United States Senator Chris Murphy / Official Press Release

"If the US is serious when it says our support for Saudi Arabia isn't a blank check, then it's time to prove it"

WASHINGTON (October 9, 2016) – US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, released the following statement on Saturday after the White House announced an "immediate review" of US support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen.

"Saudi airstrikes, with support from the United States, have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. ‎Yesterday's attack on large funeral party follows months of attacks on schools, homes, and hospitals. I know the administration is just as horrified as I am by the Saudis' seemingly willful neglect for civilian life, but we are past the point of strongly worded statements," said Murphy.

"If the US is serious when it says our support for Saudi Arabia isn't a blank check, then it's time to prove it -- because it's clear the Saudi-led coalition isn't listening. The administration should pull US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen because it's harming America's national security, enabling terrorist groups to thrive, and killing innocent civilians."

In September, Murphy joined Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in introducing a joint resolution of disapproval, S.J.Res 39, to block the $1.15 billion US sale of Abrams tanks and associated major defense articles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In April, Murphy and Paul introduced a joint resolution to increase Congressional oversight of military sales to Saudi Arabia by requiring the President of the United States to formally certify that the Government of Saudi Arabia is demonstrating an ongoing effort to target terrorist groups, minimize harm to civilians, and facilitate humanitarian assistance before Congress can consider the sale or transfer of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia.

"It appears that either the Saudi coalition is intentionally targeting civilians or they are not distinguishing between civilians and military targets. Both would be war crimes," wrote Lieu, who had taught classes on the law of war when he was a lawyer in the US Air Force.

His letter increases pressure on the White House over Yemen after the administration announced Saturday it was reviewing support to the Saudi-led coalition after an air strike killed 140 mourners at a funeral.

US arms sales to Riyadh and other support to the coalition should be halted until the White House review is completed, Lieu wrote.

Lieu also cited a Reuters article published on Monday, which reported that the Obama administration went ahead with arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite some officials' fears that Washington could be implicated in war crimes for supporting the Saudi-led air campaign.

The Saudi-led coalition has said it takes its responsibilities under international humanitarian law seriously, and is committed to the protection of civilians in Yemen.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday: "We have received the letter, and are aware of congressional concerns regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia. We, too, remain gravely concerned by the high toll of the conflict, including civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure caused by all sides of the conflict."

"Aid and assistance for any country are always under review and subject to modification. We are going to review our position and continue to have further policy discussions," Kirby said.

Several recent efforts in the US Congress to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia have failed. But the White House on Saturday announced it was initiating an "immediate review" of US support to the Saudi-led coalition after the apparent coalition air strike on the funeral.

Saudi Arabia has said it will investigate the circumstances of that strike.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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