Following Saturday’s airstrike which claimed 140 lives and injured over 500 mourners at a Sana’a, Yemen, funeral, the U.S. is re-assessing its backing of a Saudi-led coalition carrying out the aerial campaign to dislodge Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from power in the Arab nation.
At issue is American material and diplomatic support for the Saudi government. With U.S.-Saudi relations at ebb over alleged Saudi complicity in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and Congress’ passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), it is unlikely the Washington-Riyadh bond will be able to sustain further strain after the Oct. 8 missile attack.
“U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check. 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,” said National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price.
As mourners assembled in a Sana’a hall to pay tribute to Ali al-Rawishan, father of Houthi Interior Minister Galal al-Rawishan, witnesses say a missile struck and destroyed the building.
Initially denying involvement, Riyadh reversed its position and announced it would invite the U.S. government to collaborate in an investigation into the strike.
Although the United Nations has not assigned blame with the Saudi kingdom, the Shia Houthi group indicted Riyadh for the missile strike.
Intervening in March 2015 on the side of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the internationally-recognized president of Yemen, Saudi Arabia has led a military alliance aimed at ousting the Houthis, which also includes Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
Since the outset of its aerial campaign, the Saudis have oftentimes faced accusations it has blatantly defied international law and orchestrated a careless bombing campaign, often fixing on targets with a high concentration of the civilian population.
It is estimated one in three targets of the Saudi airstrikes have hit civilian structures, including schools, public markets, hospitals and economic infrastructure.
A UN evaluation of the toll states 10,000 have been killed since the conflict began and an astonishing 60 percent of the 3,800 civilians killed have died as a result of the Saudi-led bombing raids.
[Reuters] [The Guardian] [Photo courtesy AP/Osamah Abdulrhman via Daily Mail]