WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On Thursday, Human Rights Watch published fresh reports of Saudi Arabia using cluster munitions in residential areas in Yemen, where the country is at war with Houthi rebels. Human Rights Watch tracked the origins of the munitions components, reporting they were made in the United States.
“We should be culpable for the crime of killing civilians as well, as we produce and sell the weapons when we know the use they will be put to.” retired US Army Major Todd Pierce, an author and expert on military law and civil liberties, told Sputnik on Friday.
Washington has been providing Riyadh with a stockpile of cluster munitions worth $1.2 billion since November 2015.
The United States is one of the main producers and users of cluster bombs, which have been banned by 117 nations in 2008 due to the indiscriminate nature of such devices. However, neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia signed on to that treaty.
“How many civilians have the United States and Israel killed with US-produced cluster bombs?” Pierce asked. “Any objection the United States has to their use would only be if a ‘non-ally’ used them. Otherwise our objections must be seen as feigned.”
“Our indivisibility with our ‘allies’ inculpates us in their crimes, leading to us being targeted, Pierce warned.
Barnard College Assistant Professor of Religion Najam Haider at Columbia University told Sputnik US policymakers could not have been taken by surprise by the latest documentation of the use of cluster bombs.
“This has been the consistent US policy in Yemen,” Haider, a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, stated. “The Saudis have been systematically targeting civilian populations and hospitals. They are also primarily responsible for the breaking of the ceasefire a few days ago.”
The cluster munitions had been provided by the United States to the Saudis within the past two months, Haider pointed out.
“It’s hard to avoid cynicism given the fact that just last November the US government agreed to sell the Saudis $1.2 billion in bombs. These aren’t being used against al-Qaeda or Daesh affiliates at all. This is a humanitarian crisis that is ravaging the civilian population with the tacit support of the US.”
The United Nations estimates that as many as 2,795 civilians have been killed since the conflict in Yemen began nine months ago.
Another 5,324 have been wounded, and the Saudi naval blockade has left approximately 1 million people internally displaced, with as many as 20 million people in desperate need of food, water, and medical supplies.