Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:35AM
Smoke billows behind a building following an air strike by the Saudi fighter jets in the Yemeni capital Sana'a on January 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Smoke billows behind a building following an air strike by the Saudi fighter jets in the Yemeni capital Sana'a on January 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A United Nations panel of experts has concluded that most Saudi airstrikes on Yemen over the past two years have not actually targeted legitimate military positions. In a report sent to the Security Council, the UN monitors said Riyadh’s failure to meet international humanitarian law requirements of proportionality and precautions could amount to war crimes. The panel further described the Saudi war on its impoverished southern neighbor as devastating to both infrastructure and civilians. We have spoken to Anthony Hall, the editor-in-chief of American Herald Tribune, about the reasons why Saudi Arabia is targeting Yemen’s civilian population.

Hall is of the opinion that the real objective behind the Saudi military aggression against Yemen is to destroy the civilian infrastructure in order to punish ordinary people who support Houthi Ansarullah fighters rather than to target military facilities. 

“This UN panel, which was created in 2014, has been doing important work exposing in a detailed way that this assault is not targeting the military population. It is to pulverize infrastructure to punish the Houthi people collectively, including the civilian population and the general population of Yemen. Eight [out] of ten strikes that we looked at were not targeting military installations. They were targeting infrastructure,” Hall underscored.

The analyst said the report by the UN panel is important because it shows that crimes against humanity are being committed in Yemen.

He further blamed Western powers for the atrocities Riyadh is committing in Yemen, and explained that the ultimate aim of Western states is to establish an obedient government in Yemen with the help of Saudi Arabia to secure their own strategic interests.

“Saudi Arabia is at the point wedge of this assault while many countries including the United States, Britain and France are part of this coalition. [They] obviously need to see the Arabian Peninsula with a government in Yemen that is in favor of their position. These are largely puppet regimes, like the Bahrain regime, kept in place by supply of Western weapons and intelligence. So, there is a huge coalition of interest behind this assault on the Yemeni civilian population and so the responsibility for this humanitarian devastation is very broad.”

Saudi Arabia has been engaged in the deadly offensive against Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to bring back to power former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and undermine the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Saudi war has so far claimed the lives of at least 11,400 Yemenis, and taken a heavy toll on Yemen's facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.