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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another MSF hospital in Yemen hit in Saudi-led bombing in Yemen

A hospital being run by Doctors Without Borders — also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF) — in Taiz, Yemen was bombed, injuring at least nine people including two staff members.

Two people have life-threatening injuries. The clinic had treated almost 480 patients over the two days before the attack. The injured were transferred to two other hospitals run by MSF.
MSF Director in Yemen, Jerome Alin, insisted there was no way the Saudis could not know the facility was a hospital as they were given the coordinates of their sites on a regular basis, the last time on November 29. Alin emphasized that the bombing of civilians and hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing and also stressed that "medical facilities and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law." The UN called for an immediate impartial investigation.
In the case of earlier incidents the Saudis have simply denied accusations that they hit areas and facilities that do not contain military targets. However, this time Saudia Arabia says it will investigate the allegations. What is needed is an independent investigation, such as the MSF has recommended in the case of the U.S. bombing in Kunduz. The U.S. was instrumental in helping to block a previously proposed UN investigation into Saudi bombings. The U.S. is also a supplier of bombs to the Saudis with a recent $1.29 billion sale of smart bombs. The US and Afghanistan have so far refused to grant an independent investigation into the Kunduz bombing that killed thirty people even though the military report on the incident is packed with problems and ignores much evidence that the bombing was deliberate.
On October 26, there was another attack by the Saudi-led coalition on an MSF hospital in the northern Sa'ad Governorate. Even though both the UN and the MSF confirmed the airstrikes were carried out by the coalition "beyond doubt," the Saudi authorities simply denied responsibility. The coordinates of the facility had been shared with the Saudis. The area bombed is controlled by the Houthi rebels. No doubt the Saudis do not like the idea of their enemies getting medical treatment. The hospital was attacked for two hours. There was a clearly visible MSF logo on the roof of the facility. As well as hospitals, the Saudi-led coalition is accused of bombing a wedding, an Oxfam aid warehouse, and residential neighborhoods. It has also used cluster bombs that are banned, except that neither the U.S. nor Saudi Arabia have signed on to the ban.
Amnesty International estimates two-thirds of civilian deaths and property destruction in the conflict has been caused by the bombing campaign, which began last March. As of the end of October, the World Health Organization(WHO) reported more than 5,700 people killed with at least 2,615 being civilians and 573 children. Another approximately 27,000 persons have been injured. MSF has treated more than 16,000 patients and operates in 21 different Yemen governorates. MSF provides free health services in more than 70 countries. More and more it appears to be targeted, since one side, almost always the "good guys" such as the US, Afghans, and Saudis resent their enemies receiving treatment. The one exception is an attack by "bad guy" Assad on an MSF hospital in rebel held territory in Syria.
The Saudi-led and U.S.-supported mission in Yemen has devastated the country, with the UN warning that the "health and education systems in the country are on the brink of collapse." Almost 80 percent of Yemen's people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, claimed in a visit to Saudi Arabia late in November that the bombing and ground invasion is helping "accomplish significant progress in Yemen." The coalition has recaptured the southern port of Aden and surrounding areas and is now fighting for control of the key central city of Taiz but at enormous cost. So far attempts to agree to a ceasefire and peace have fallen through. The coalition is sending many more troops including mercenaries from as far away as Colombia. It appears that the coalition believes it will soon defeat the Houthis. The war has been a huge bonus for jihadist groups particularly Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAM) who have extended their area of control including to Mukalla east of Aden. The Islamic State also is beginning to exhibit its presence with violent attacks.

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