10 Yemeni Civilians Killed by Saudi Airstrikes in Taiz
Yemen Airstrike Killed 119 with US-Supplied Weapons
HRW: Saudi Army Used US Bomb in Yemen Market Strike
Saudi Arabia used a US- supplied bomb in an airstrike last month on a market that killed at least 119 people, a human rights group said Thursday, further highlighting American involvement in the conflict.
The March 15 bombing targeting the Northwestern town of Mastaba marked the second-deadliest airstrike conducted by the Saudi forces since it began its war in March 2015, Daily Star reported.
Condemned by the United Nations, the strike also wounded at least 47 people and left charred bodies lying next to flour sacks and twisted metal.
Human Rights Watch said its investigators traveled to the town in Yemen’s Hajja province, and found fragments of a GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb.
The group said the bomb, as well as its guidance equipment, was supplied by the US, matching an earlier report by British television channel ITV.
“One of the deadliest strikes against civilians in Yemen’s yearlong war involved US-supplied weapons, illustrating tragically why countries should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia,” Priyanka Motaparthy, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
American officials could not be immediately reached for comment, though US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Bahrain on Thursday.
Saudi officials previously said they were investigating the strike, though they previously insisted most of the casualties were non-civilian.
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By exploiting a legal loophole Britain dodged its human rights obligations and deployed secret soldiers into Yemen’s vicious civil war, investigators claim.
Embedded with British foreign intelligence agency MI6, undercover troops from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) operated in support of the Yemeni regime and US foreign policy goals before the 2014/15 revolution.
Journalists working for Vice News have uncovered how the secret unit helped prepare local troops for raids, arrest operations and drone strikes as well as helping to compile “kill lists.”
The British Foreign Office claims it suspended counter-terrorism “capacity” after the collapse of the old regime, but Ali al-Ahmadi – former head of Yemen’s secret police – told Vice journalists that British intelligence activity is ongoing amid the Saudi-led war.
Dodging the law?
The clandestine operation appears to have exploited a legal loophole to circumvent the military’s human rights obligations after it emerged UK and US Rules of Engagement (ROE) for drones sharply diverge.
VICE says UK Special Forces were seconded to MI6 in Yemen, allowing MoD disingenuously to claim ‘no military support’ to US drone program
— Chris Woods (@chrisjwoods) April 7, 2016
A series of US drone strikes in eastern Yemen – including one that killed a prominent local anti-jihadist preacher and four other men in 2012 – led to British intelligence sharing with the US being halted and then recalibrated.
Soldiers from the unit were relocated from their covert base to the Sheraton Hotel in the capital Sana’a and banned from accompanying Yemeni forces or even carrying weapons.
However, these rules do not apply to MI6 or soldiers seconded to it because the intelligence agency operates under the auspices of the Foreign Office rather than the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
An anonymous British official told Vice: “Once they are seconded, the MoD loses any control over what they get up to.”
This practice, the investigators claim, allows the MoD to maintain its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights while still using British military personnel to continue providing intelligence used in assassinations.
British Army’s ‘disappearing’ hitmen
The original circumstances of UK troop deployment in 2006 are shrouded in mystery but the investigating team suggests that a group of conventional troops – Royal Marines – arrived alongside a special forces counter-terrorism unit tasked with supporting Yemen’s Central Security Forces (CSF) and other controversial internal security units.
The CSF, which had been accused by Human Rights Watch of using child soldiers and of carrying out arbitrary detentions, was run by then-Yemeni President Saleh’s nephew, Colonel Yahya Saleh. He described the UK soldiers as extremely secretive…………..more here…British Army’s ‘disappearing hitmen’ used legal loophole to fight in Yemen
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