They’re working hand-in-glove with the State Department.
By Alex Kane
In These Times (5/20/19)
PRIYANKA MOTAPARTHY, A RESEARCHER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, arrived at a market in the Yemeni village of Mastaba on March 28, 2016, to find large craters, destroyed buildings, debris, shredded bits of clothing and small pieces of human bodies. Two weeks earlier, a warplane had bombed the market with two guided missiles. A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says the missiles hit around noon on March 15, killing 97 civilians, including 25 children.
“When the first strike came, the world was full of blood,” Mohammed Yehia Muzayid, a market cleaner, told HRW. “People were all in pieces; their limbs were everywhere. People went flying.” As Muzayid rushed in, he was hit in the face by shrapnel from the second bomb. “There wasn’t more than five minutes between the first and second strike,” he said. “People were taking the injured out, and it hit the wounded and killed them. A plane was circling overhead.”
Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s richest countries, has been bombing Yemen, the fifth-poorest nation in the world, since 2015—with support from the United States. Their mission is to topple the Houthis, an armed political movement that overthrew Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a Saudi ally, in February 2015. Saudi Arabia (a Sunni monarchy with an oppressed Shiite minority) feared that the Houthi movement in Yemen (who are Zaydis, a Shiite sect) was acting as an arm of its regional foe, Iran, in an effort to take power right across its southern border. While the Houthis have never been controlled by Iran, Iran delivers arms to the movement.
Humanitarian disaster that threatens the lives of millions
Under President Barack Obama’s administration and, now, President Donald Trump’s, the United States has put its military might behind the Saudi-led coalition, waging a war without congressional authorization. That war has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, destroyed or damaged more than half of Yemen’s health facilities, killed more than 8,350 civilians, injured another 9,500 civilians, displaced 3.3 million people, and created a humanitarian disaster that threatens the lives of millions as cholera and famine spread through the country.
U.S. arms merchants, however, have grown rich. Fragments of the bombs were documented by journalists and HRW with help from Mastaba villagers. An HRW munitions expert determined the bombs were 2,000-pound MK-84s, manufactured by General Dynamics. Based in Falls Church, Va., General Dynamics is the world’s sixth most profitable arms manufacturer. One of the bombs used a satellite guidance kit from Chicago-based Boeing, the world’s second-most profitable weapons company. The other bomb had a Paveway guidance system, made by either Raytheon of Waltham, Mass., the third-largest arms company in the world, or Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., the world’s top weapons contractor. An In These Times analysis found that in the past decade, the State Department has approved at least $30.1 billion in Saudi military contracts for these four companies.
The war in Yemen has been particularly lucrative for General Dynamics, Boeing and Raytheon, which have received hundreds of millions of dollars in Saudi weapons deals. All three corporations have highlighted business with Saudi Arabia in their reports to shareholders. Since the war began in March 2015, General Dynamics’ stock price has risen from about $135 to $169 per share, Raytheon’s from about $108 to more than $180, and Boeing’s from about $150 to $360. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )