Updated in: 13 November 2018 - 16:10
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Saudi Arabia has become emboldened by the silence of the US government, as well as the contradiction in the Western countries’ foreign policy that are selling weapons to Riyadh and at the same time condemning its war crimes, a US human right activist said.
News ID: 71761
Publish Date: 14August 2018 - 11:11

S.Arabia emboldened by US silence, West mixed policy: American ActivistTEHRAN (Defapress)_on the latest Saudi-led coalition’s war crime in Yemen, Medea Benjamin, the US political and human rights activist said, “The crown prince feels like he does not have to apologize for anything, in the same way that Saudis have responded to the Canadian government criticism about the jailing of women rights activists.”

An air strike by Saudi-led coalition forces targeted a school bus travelling through a busy market area in the northern province of Saada on August 9.

Some 50 civilians, most of whom children under 13, were killed and more than 70 others were injured.

“The Saudis have taken the most revengeful response that is on one level ridiculous and on another level just trying to flex the Saudi muscles and make it clear that they won’t tolerate any interference from the outsiders,” she said adding that “With this bombing they are sending the message ‘Don’t criticize us! and Don’t get involved, and we won’t listen to outsiders’.”

“The Saudis know that most governments respond to financial pressure and so they have been using financial pressure all the time. When they were criticized at the united nations and put on the countries that abused children during conflicts, they flex their financial muscle and said we will withdraw many millions of dollars from UN programs for children and then secretary general was forced to back down and take Saudi Arabia’s name off the list,” she reminded the Saudis’ record in forcing critiques withdrawing from their positions.

“And when the Swedish foreign minister criticized Swedish weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and the Swedish business community forced the government to become silent,” she added on the weakness of governments in face of financial issues.

So this is nothing new the Saudis use their financial clout to get away with war crimes and internal repression, Benjamin said.

The activist who is a co-founder of the human right NGO Code Pink said, “[President] Trump has said that he doesn’t care about human rights and he is not interested in trying to make human rights a part of his foreign policy. And the Saudis are very happy with that since they can get away with these crackdowns without the Trump administration saying anything and you can see how the US government refused to support Canada.”

Explaining the contradiction between the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s action defending the multibillion arms deal with Riyadh and now standing up for human rights in Saudi Arabia, the activist said, “Business interests put pressure on the governments, whether it is Canada, the US or Western Europe; all these countries that preach democracy turn a blind eye on when it comes to making money on weapon sales.”

She believed that in near future the Canadian government, too, must be under intense pressure from the business community to back down.

Commenting on public opinion in the US and their reaction to what is going on in Yemen, she said, “There has been little coverage of Yemen; however the latest attack was covered and it is going to be an important turning point to make Americans aware of how Yemeni children are being approached and perhaps it will be enough to pressure the US government to finally take some measures.”

According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), since the beginning of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen in 2015, about 2,400 children have been killed and 3,600 maimed in Yemen.

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