Calling Saudi Arabia to account on Yemen killings

 

Sir, – Your Editorial calling for Saudi Arabia to be held to account for the horrific mass killing of schoolchildren on a tour bus in Saada in Yemen is welcomed (August 13th).

What is striking, however, about the atrocity is the general low level of media coverage and analysis it received in the western media along with the silence of western political leaders.

Can you imagine if Assad or Putin had been responsible for such an atrocity in Syria? The story, along with calls from western political leaders for all kinds of sanctions, would be prime news on our screens, airwaves and front pages for days – and quite rightly so.

But no such outcry arose for these slaughtered Yemeni children. As soon as the UN announces an independent inquiry into the atrocity, Theresa May announces that her government will refuse to co-operate with it. This stands to reason as the inquiry might just reveal that the children were killed with missiles fired from planes sold by BAE Systems. Despite some internal criticism, the UK sells arms to its biggest customer Saudi Arabia in clear violation of its own guidelines on arms sales as well as European and international law.

The Irish Government is also not neutral in this atrocity. Our Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs are silent while US planes are facilitated at Shannon Airport.

According to Shannonwatch a cargo plane on contract to the US military landed at Shannon on July 10th before travelling on to several bases in the Middle East including Djibouti and then returning to refuel at Shannon on July 12th. The US military airbase in Djibouti, Camp Limmonier, just across the Red Sea is the launching pad for many US military airstrikes against targets in Yemen.

One has to question then why there is such deference towards Saudi Arabia by western political leaders and media outlets. The answer is quite simple. In crude terms – they’re our killers.

Saudi Arabia is acting as much at the behest of western leaders as on their own in yet another western-fuelled, proxy war to ensure the flow of oil and lucrative arms deals. How many more dozens of slaughtered Yemeni children will it take before western, including Irish, political leaders will dare to speak out and sanction this rogue despotic regime? – Yours, etc,

JIM ROCHE,

PRO Irish Anti-War

Movement, Dublin 1.