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Saudi Arabia

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  • The U.S. is also rapidly expanding military operations in Yemen. The U.S. has reportedly launched more than 49 strikes across the country this month—according to The New York Times, that’s more strikes than the U.S. has ever carried out in a single year in Yemen. While the U.S. airstrikes have been targeting suspected al-Qaeda operations in Yemen, The Wall Street Journal is reporting the U.S. is now offering even more logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi-led war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are accused of being linked to Iran. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began two years ago this month. Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting today that the Trump administration has approved the resumption of sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. President Obama froze some of these weapons sales last year due to concern about civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia’s expanding war in Yemen. We speak to Iona Craig, a journalist who was based in Sana’a from 2010 to 2015 as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London.

  • On Thursday, a U.S. Reaper drone struck a gathering in a rebel-held village in Aleppo province, killing as many as 49 people. Monitoring groups say most of the dead were civilians who had gathered at a mosque to pray, while the Pentagon claims the gathering was a meeting of al-Qaeda members. The next day, 42 Somali refugees were gunned down by a helicopter gunship near the Yemen coast. Somalia accused Saudi Arabia of carrying out the strike. Eyewitness accounts suggest a U.S.-made Apache helicopter was used to carry out the deadly strike. For more, we speak with Samuel Oakford, investigative reporter for the journalistic project Airwars, who reports that the number of civilian casualties in U.S. airstrikes has been escalating since Donald Trump took office two months ago.

  • The United Nations has warned that the world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War. Nearly 20 million people are at risk of starvation in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Last month, the U.N. declared a famine in parts of South Sudan. Earlier this week, aid officials said they’re in a race against time to prevent a famine brought on by a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war and blockade. Almost 19 million people in Yemen, two-thirds of the total population, are in need of assistance, and more than 7 million are facing starvation. For more, we speak with Joel Charny, director of the Norwegian Refugee Council USA.

  • Documents obtained by Reuters show the U.S. government is concerned it could be implicated in potential war crimes in Yemen because of its support for a Saudi-led coalition air campaign. The Obama administration has continued to authorize weapons sales to Saudi Arabia despite warnings last year from government lawyers that it might be considered a co-belligerent under international law. This comes as a Saudi airstrike on a funeral hall in Sana’a on Saturday killed at least 140 mourners and wounded more than 500 others. Survivors spoke of back-to-back bombings during a funeral service for the father of an official with the rebel Houthi government, which controls Sana’a. We speak to Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division.

  • On Sunday, thousands of Yemenis gathered at the United Nations building in Sana’a calling for an international investigation into the U.S-backed Saudi assault on a funeral. The attack was carried out with warplanes and munitions sold to the Saudi-led coalition by the United States. The U.S. Air Force continues to provide midair refueling to Saudi warplanes. According to the U.N., more than 4,000 civilians have been killed and over 7,000 injured since the Saudi-led coalition bombing began last year. Airstrikes have reportedly caused about 60 percent of the deaths. We go to Sana’a to speak with Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee and Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

  • "Finally, we have an example of the U.S. Congress putting U.S. citizens above the relationship with the Saudi government," says CodePink’s Medea Benjamin in response to the vote by Congress to allow Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks, overriding President Obama’s veto of the bill. The legislation would allow courts to waive claim of foreign sovereign immunity after an act of terrorism occurs within U.S. borders. "If innocent families [of drone attacks] were able to take the U.S. to court instead of seeing joining ISIS or al-Qaeda as their only resort, that would be a very positive thing." Benjamin is author of the book "Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection."

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