Saudi airstrike kills 33 at wedding in northern Yemen

By Niles Niemuth
24 April 2018

An airstrike by Saudi-led coalition jet fighters on a wedding in northern Yemen killed at least 33 people and wounded 55 others Sunday night.

The bombs, supplied by the United States, rained down on a tent in the northwestern province of Hajjah where women and children had gathered, killing dozens, including the bride. Most of those injured in the attack were children, many of whom were sent to hospital with grievous shrapnel wounds and severed limbs.

Abdel-Hakim al-Kahlan, a Health Ministry spokesman, reported that ambulances were delayed from reaching the injured and dying out of fear of a repeated attack as Saudi jets continued to fly overhead following the attack. Such so-called “double tap” strikes have been used repeatedly in Yemen by the Saudi coalition.

Video from the scene depict scattered limbs and a young boy clinging to a man’s corpse as he is removed from the rubble.

The bloody attack was one of three Saudi airstrikes over the weekend which claimed mass civilian casualties in Yemen. A separate airstrike Sunday night on a home in Hajjam killed five members of a single family. The previous day 20 civilians were killed outside the city of Taiz when Saudi planes bombed a commuter bus.

Saudi Arabia has been waging an unrelenting war against Yemen for more than three years, with the full support of the United States and its allies.

Utilizing American-made jet fighters armed with US-supplied bombs and refueled by the US Air Force, the Saudis have pushed the poorest country in the Arab world to the brink of famine and sparked the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. The US Navy has provided ships to enforce a blockade of the country, which has cut off critical supplies of food and medicine.

Saudi coalition jets have attacked residential neighborhoods, schools, markets, factories and hospitals, as well as water and electrical systems. No civilian target is apparently off limits for Saudi bombs. Earlier in April Saudi warplanes struck a housing complex for displaced people in port city of Hodeida. Once the attack ended at least 14 had been killed and nine wounded, the victims were predominantly women and children.

More than 13,000 civilians have been killed in the course of the three-year war, with Saudi Arabia responsible for the majority of all casualties.

The UN has recorded more than a million suspected cases of cholera since 2017, and more than 8.5 million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto autocratic ruler who was recently hailed by the political and financial elite in the United States and Europe as a great progressive reformer, launched the near-genocidal war in 2015 with the backing of the Obama administration in an effort to reinstall the US and Saudi-backed puppet government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had been forced to flee the country by a rebellion led by Houthi militants.

Above all, the war has been framed as part of a critical effort to counter the influence of Iran, Saudi Arabia’s chief rival in the region, based on unsubstantiated claims that the Houthis are being funded and armed by Tehran. The mainstream media has pushed this narrative and continues to ignore repeated war crimes carried out by the Washington’s chief Arab ally.

President Donald Trump welcomed bin Salman and his retinue to the White House in March to discuss hundreds of billions of dollars in planned Saudi investments in the US. Trump boasted about the close relationship with leaders of the theocratic autocracy and the hundreds of millions of dollars in advanced weaponry which the kingdom has pledged to purchase from the United States.

“The relationship [with Riyadh] is probably as good as it’s really ever been, and I think will probably only get better,” Trump told reporters in advance of his meeting with the Saudi delegation. “We understand each other. Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world, there’s nobody even close.”

The Saudi Crown Prince, adoringly referred to as “MBS” in the American media, then took his entourage on a grand tour of the United States.

Among those who welcomed the butcher of Yemen with open arms were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and other American-based tech firms are reportedly in talks with the Saudi government to open a major research hub in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to flow from Saudi Arabia to these companies as a result of these deals.

Bin Salman also held tête-à-têtes with former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama; former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton; Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer; and the former billionaire mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.

The Crown Prince, who runs a country where people are beheaded for criticizing government policy, was also granted favorable interviews with Time and Vanity Fair as well as a feature on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.” This was in addition to meeting with the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle.

On top of this he dined with Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, all noted warmongers. Bin Salman’s trip to the US was reportedly capped off with a private visit with billionaire Oprah Winfrey.

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