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March 31, 2015 11:33 am

Human Right Watch Deferential Towards Saudi Airstrikes That Kill Civilians

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Here is how Human Rights Watch reported on the beginning of Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza last summer:

Israel/Palestine: Unlawful Israeli Airstrikes Kill Civilians
Bombings of Civilian Structures Suggest Illegal Policy

Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israel should end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian propertyDeliberate or reckless attacks violating the laws of war are war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

Prosecutor, judge and jury. Without any relevant information as to what Israel’s targets were, HRW flatly said that Israel was violating international law and said that Israel was targeting homes simply to kill Gazan civilians, apparently for kicks.

Now compare that with how HRW reports on Saudi airstrikes in urban areas that are killing scores of civilians:

Yemen: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Take Civilian Toll

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab countries that conducted airstrikes in Yemen on March 26 and 27, 2015, killed at least 11 and possibly as many as 34 civilians during the first day of bombings in Sanaa, the capital, Human Rights Watch said today. The 11 dead included 2 children and 2 women. Saudi and other warplanes also carried out strikes on apparent targets in the cities of Saada, Hodaida, Taiz, and Aden.

The airstrikes targeted Ansar Allah, the armed wing of the Zaidi Shia group known as the Houthis, that has controlled much of northern Yemen since September 2014.

…”Both the Saudi-led forces and the Houthis need to do everything they can to protect civilians from attack,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “Reports of air strikes and anti-aircraft weapons in heavily populated areas raise serious concerns that not enough is being done to ensure their safety.”

Human Rights Watch has not been able to determine whether specific attacks complied with the laws of war, which apply to the armed conflict in Yemen. The laws of war prohibit attacks that target civilians or civilian property, or that do not or cannot discriminate between civilians and fighters.

Look at that! The mind-reading skills that HRW “researchers” have in Gaza are suddenly malfunctioning in Yemen! They know that Saudi Arabia is targeting terrorists, and they are simply not sure if the bombs that killed 34 civilians were simple mistakes, or maybe there was a legitimate target there.

All that certainty that HRW has in declaring Israel to be criminal is nowhere to be found when Saudis are dropping their bombs on houses and children.

I can’t wait to see how HRW reports on yesterday’s news:

An air strike killed dozens of people at a camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen on Monday, aid workers said, as Arab warplanes bombard rebels around the country.

The International Organization for Migration said at least 40 people had been killed and 200 wounded at the Al-Mazrak camp in Hajja province where it has staff on the ground, revising an initial toll of 45 dead.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said 25 of the wounded were in severe condition.

“It was an air strike,” said Pablo Marco of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has a presence at the hospital.

Another thing: I haven’t yet found a scorecard showing how many Yemenis have been killed compared with how many Saudis.The score is probably about 250-0 at this point, which in other contexts would be considered by ignorant pundits as proof of “disporportionate force.”

Scorecards are particular to cases when the winning side’s name begins with ISR and ends in AEL.

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