Photo of the Week: Rockets Explode as Media Spin Escalation of a U.S. War in Yemen
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Mainstream media reported a U.S. attack on rebel-controlled radar facilities in Yemen on Wednesday as though the White House hasn’t supported Saudi Arabia’s war there with fuel, weapons and intelligence for 18 months.
Among the examples of incomplete reporting of the attack highlighted by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting’s Adam Johnson, The New York Times wrote on Wednesday [boldface added]: “The strikes against the Houthi rebels marked the first time the United States has become involved militarily in the civil war between the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran, and the Yemeni government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations.”
A few paragraphs later, the paper acknowledged — “somewhat contradictorily,” Johnson wrote — that the U.S. had been “quietly providing military support to a Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign against the rebels since last year.”
In particular, the U.S. has provided “intelligence and Air Force tankers to refuel the coalition’s jets and bombers. The American military has refueled more than 5,700 aircraft involved in the bombing campaign. … More than 4,000 civilians have been killed since the bombing began, according to the United Nations’ top human rights official.”
At The Guardian, Brooklyn College English professor Moustafa Bayoumi provided more context on the attack.
If we investigated, we would find that the Pentagon justified this attack as retaliation. Last week, missiles were fired on two separate occasions at another navy destroyer off of Yemen’s southern coast. Those missiles fell harmlessly into the water, but they were enough of a provocation that the navy responded with its own bombardment.
But we would also find that immediately prior to those incidents, on Saturday 8 October, a 500lb laser-guided US-made bomb was dropped on a funeral procession by the US-sponsored Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels who, the Saudis say, are backed by Iran. This bomb killed more than 140 people, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 525 people. Human Rights Watch called the incident “an apparent war crime”.
That heinous attack led to a strong rebuke from the US, which has sold the Saudis $110bn worth of arms since President Obama assumed office, and recently approved the sale of $1.15bn more. The US also supplies the Saudis with necessary intelligence and logistics to prosecute its war. According to Reuters, the US government is also deeply concerned that it may be implicated in future war crimes prosecutions as a result of its support for the Saudi-led coalition.
Johnson added that the U.S. has a “long history of drone warfare in Yemen, where the military and CIA have been carrying out long-range assassinations since 2002, killing more than 500 people, including at least 65 civilians.”
And Bayoumi wrote: “… this particular military engagement has the potential to drag the US straight into a protracted and escalating conflict. And, as everyone knows, America has an uncanny ability to enter protracted and escalating military conflicts.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly
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