On 9 August, a Saudi Arabian airstrike against targets in Yemen was carried out. That strike was a joint effort by a coalition that included the United Arab Emirates and the United States as well. However the American Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, maintained that the US is not “engaged” in the civil war that is taking place in Yemen.
The Raytheon MK-82 bomb fragments found in the wreckage of a school bus that was hit in the strike say otherwise, and they say it to the tune of the forty children that were in the bus when it was hit. The lost children comprise the majority of the 51 people who lost their lives in the strike, which also injured another 79 people.
CNN International reported further on September 2 that the Saudi-led coalition admitted making a mistake in the deadly attack. However the language was vague, saying there were “mistakes in compliance to the rules of engagement.” CNN gave a brief synopsis of the war:
Yemen’s civil war began in early 2015 when Houthi rebels — a minority Shiite group from the north of the country — drove out the US-backed government and took over the capital, Sanaa. The crisis quickly escalated into a multisided war, with neighboring Saudi Arabia leading a coalition of Gulf states against the Houthis. The coalition is advised and supported by the United States and the UK, among other nations.
The Real News Network (www.therealnews.com) covered this attack and the US denial of involvement.
The MK-82 bomb fragments show at least that the US is supplying weapons to the Saudis for the prosecution of their war against the Yemeni forces. When State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was asked for an independent investigation into this incident, she declined:
HEATHER NAUERT:And we call upon all parties in any kind of situation like this to take appropriate measures to try to mitigate the risk of civilian casualties. DOD and other entities put out reports on this after the fact as they all start to investigate. And so we will look forward to any information on that.
SPEAKER:Right. But my question is, you don’t, you don’t see a need for there to be something other than a coalition investigation. You don’t see a need for an independent-.
HEATHER NAUERT:Matt, I’m not going to get ahead- this is something that is fresh, that just happened, so I’m not going to get ahead of any kind of investigation that may take place.
To be fair, there is not really any better answer Mrs. Nauert could give, according to the rules and regulations of her employer. However, this is also convenient cover to dodge the real issue, that being the US being involved in yet another piece of military action somewhere in the world, largely unknown the public.
Real News’ host Aaron Maté interviewed a Mr. Nasser Arrabyee, who is a journalist and filmmaker and a Yemeni. He gave some “on the ground” facts about the situation, which we quote here (written as transcribed, with emphases added):
AARON MATÉ: … Tell us what you know about the funerals today, and what you know about what happened during the bombing.
NASSER ARRABYEE: Thank you very much for your interest in Yemen, because what Yemen needs is more attention to such war crimes, Saudi, U.S-Saudi war crimes. For the funeral of today, tens of thousands attended this funeral. Funeral of the children who were killed in their bus on August 9. That is the latest U.S.-Saudi war crimes. It is not the first, and maybe not the last, of course. So people who attended to Sa’dah from many provinces, not only from Sa’dah. And it was a funeral with grandeur and pageantry as a sign of defiance, because defiance, when we say defiance we mean Yemenis are defending themselves. Yemenis are not attacking anyone. These crimes are not against only Yemen humans, but against everyone. These crimes threaten everyone in this globe.
This is why Yemenis were interested, and they prepared very well for this funeral. Not just to exploit, as some people say, no. Not to exploit the blood of children, no. But it’s OK to tell people, because we don’t want these children, Yemenis don’t want these children to, to be killed twice, to be killed wrongly and then to be killed by not talking about them, about their – their problem or why they were killed.
So this is why Yemenis were prepared very well for this funeral, just to send a message to the world, too, that U.S. war crimes did not stop for four years, now. It is only one crime of hundreds, and countless U.S. war crimes over the four years, over the last four years.
AARON MATÉ: And Nasser, in terms of, in terms of the bombing, tell us what you know. You circulated on social media. A photograph taken from the scene of the bomb fragments that appear to show that the bombs were MK82, made by Raytheon, sold to Saudi Arabia as part of the critical U.S. support that has been provided for this war. So tell us what you know about the bombing itself, the bombing scene, and the presence of these U.S.-made bombs.
NASSER ARRABYEE: For the U.S.-made bombs are not only in this, are not only found or were not only found in this in this attack. They were found in many, many, many, many, many more. And everybody saw them. But for this in particular, it was very clear that these remnants that we boasted, that everyone boasted in social media, were from that site. There were many people who are independent, who are not Yemenis, reporters of some international media and also some people, some representatives of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. And I mean, there are some representatives here in Yemen. And now they are collecting these things. And if anyone has doubts about this, what these things are and where they came from, they could also make sure.
And what Yemenis want- what Yemenis want, and I am Yemeni and I want also, we want the international community and anyone who is interested in these things just to say, simply- OK to doubt. We don’t want people to believe us, OK. But we want to be able to say why Saudis, why Saudis don’t want the investigation. The Saudis, you know, refused investigations three times now, as the investigation was demanded by the international community, by the U.N. Security by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. And Saudis refused it three times now. So why Saudis refused the investigations? We want investigations. This is a simple thing.
AARON MATÉ: Nasser, finally, let me ask you your response to the head of the Pentagon, Defense Secretary James Mattis. He was asked on Sunday about this bombing where U.S. bombs were found, and this is what he said. He said,”We are not engaged in the civil war. We will help to prevent, you know, the killing of innocent people.”
And then he went on to say that he will dispatch a three star general to Saudi Arabia to help find out what happened. But I was curious to get your thoughts on the head of the U.S. military, James Mattis, saying that theU.S. is not engaged in the civil war in Yemen.
NASSER ARRABYEE: This is very funny. You know, James Mattis is not talking about Saudis because they, you know, they, Trump loves Saudis, and James Mattis loves Saudis, and they love their dirty money. This is OK. But let me tell you something as Yemeni, an observer, as an observer, as a journalist, I would tell you that what engagement would mean if, if they refueled the airplanes in the middle of the sky, and if they, if they do the surveillance and the reconnaissance, and the minesweeping, and selling their weapons. And so what would- I mean, what more James Mattis wants to say we are engaged? He’s doing all this. He’s doing all these things. And we as Yemenis, we, from day one we are sure that Saudis would not have gone to the war at all if there is no, I mean, without the U.S. approval, without the U.S. consent, without the U.S. support and everything.
So this is very funny. I mean, everybody knows that America is doing this, and America is killing Yemen. Unfortunately. You know, I myself, you know, I myself am, you know, as secular- I’m secularist. I’m not Shiite, I’m not Sunni. But what I’m seeing with my eyes and what I’m hearing is something that, that is, you know, violating everything that I know about America, and about the value, American values, and human rights, and democracy, and all these things. So this is something that is, you know, when we see this senior official saying this, it’s very funny. I mean, it’s, it’s destroying the U.S. values, unfortunately.