US- Saudi Arab Relations Jerked As Saudi Air Strike Kills 140 At Funeral Hall In Yemen


Finally the humanitarian morality of USA has woken up after the Saudi Arabian air strike on a funeral procession gathering in Yemen took place. The Saudi-led coalition forces targeted a building hosting a Houthi funeral ceremony and killed a total of 140 people. It was worst of the anti human act with no logic and no morality. The loss of international morality has been recognized and the realists always proclaim that such morality cannot be applied in the actions of the nation states but this attack even crossed the limits of the disrespect to the moral values in the international affairs.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack in Yemen, saying that any deliberate attack against civilians is utterly unacceptable. According to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, ‘that initial reports from health officials in Sanaa indicate that over 140 people were killed and over 525 injured.’ The attack is the largest one since March 2015 when the Saudi-led alliance attempted to restore the position of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi whose regime was powerfully stressed by Houthis, a group largely supported by Iran, the main opponent of Saudi Arabia in the region. The attack seems to be premeditated as the top Houthi officials were collected at the place for the funeral services of the father of a top official.

A procession for dead with tears in eyes among the companions is turned dry as the tear holders are now dead. A scene which can be constructed only in MENA. The involvement of US ally Saudi Arabia brings no surprise as US never tried to limit the overpowering power of Saudi Arabia in the region. The protection of national interests and the defense of territorial integrity are the terms of modern state system which are proclaimed by the votaries of the nationalist ideas but they must realize that killing the people that too during a funeral gathering cannot be justified on any count.

They must also try to realize that killing in the attacks should be avoided as killing the people do not ensure the win in the war or battle. The war is the ultimate policy decision which should be avoided in all cases but the hawkish elements live in each country and Saudi Arabia is not an exception. The activities of the Saudi Arabia were to be controlled by US instead of supplying the arms to it. US should have promoted the diplomatic channels more intensively in order to avoid such attacks. Equally true is that resistance from Yemen to Saudi Arabia is not a small thing; as the involvement of Iran in more active way cannot be ruled out but associated reality is that this time Saudi Arabia is not fighting for the country but is fighting to save the regime of the Saud family. US knows well all these developments and policy imperatives, still its behavior is quite complex. It first allows the conflict to grow as happened with Saudi Arabia and Yemen as it had the leverage if had cooperated with Russia; and could have ensured a diplomatic solution of the Houthi problems with the Saudi Arabia instead it went on to supply the weapons to it which are likely to have been used in war against Yemen.

When you strengthen a regime for your interests then to talk about humanity appears just rhetoric. In the contemporary politics the nation states speak the lofty words in order to present themselves as the moral crusaders but in reality they support the perpetration which is caused in the world. The US and China are two major nation states which behave in erratic manner with much rhetoric. Chinese behavior and communication on terrorism also falls in the same category. This happens in non democratic countries but why US supports such regimes is very hard to fathom in real sense; as what it gets in the name of protecting the national interests , it can obtain by promoting the democratic and humanitarian ideals and peace in the region.

After the attack though US has realized that this is a wakeup call. The Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Yemen brings this fact explicitly that US has now been forced to rethink its policy towards the Saudi regime though it is initial understanding but realization at least has dawned that everything is not correct with its MENA policy. The statement by NSC Spokesperson reads that ‘We are deeply disturbed by reports of today’s airstrike on a funeral hall in Yemen, which, if confirmed, would continue the troubling series of attacks striking Yemeni civilians. U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check. Even as we assist Saudi Arabia regarding the defense of their territorial integrity, we have and will continue to express our serious concerns about the conflict in Yemen and how it has been waged. In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with U.S. principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen’s tragic conflict. We call upon the Saudi-led Coalition, the Yemeni government, the Houthis and the Saleh-aligned forces to commit publicly to an immediate cessation of hostilities and implement this cessation based on the April 10th terms.’ US has key of peace in the region. It must in real way try to promote the peace in the region. Instead of the violence it must emphasize that by negotiations the resolution of the issue be promoted.. The humanitarian talks are easy to spread but difficult to establish the values which such talks disseminate. US must live to its words about -humanitarian rights, values in the global politics, democracy, gender equality etc. and attempt to prevent reoccurrence of such attacks.

Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava is Vice Chairman CSSP and Consultant CRIEPS, e [email protected]

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