American-Backed Saudi Coalition Responsible for a Majority of Child Casualties in Yemen Conflict

If there wasn't enough reason to stop selling arms to the Saudis, a new report found that they were responsible for most of the child casualties in Yemen.


Xinhua/Sipa USA/Newscom

A new United Nations report shows that the American-backed Saudi coalition in Yemen is responsible for a majority of child casualties in the region. Maybe it's time Congress paid attention to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the few Republicans who has consistently opposed American intervention in this conflict.

According to the Children and Armed Conflict report, obtained by Al Jazeera, the Saudi-led coalition killed 370 out of the 552 child casualties recorded and also injured 300 more in 2017 in the brutal Yemeni civil war. The report also said that both sides of the conflict utilized child soldiers in battle, documenting 842 cases. Despite being such a destructive war, the strife in Yemen has not garnered much congressional attention outside of a few determined senators committed to restoring the authority to declare war back to the Senate, as ordained by the Constitution.

At a recent talk sponsored by the Fund for American Studies, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) described the American involvement as "an unconstitutional war." They faulted the U.S. government for "providing significant military assistance to Saudi Arabia."

Just last year, Paul distinguished himself from his colleagues by his marked opposition to President Donald Trump's intention to sell $110 billion of weapons to the Saudi government. While he was unsuccessful in his crusade, it sparked much-needed debate on the future of American policy on supplying arms to violent regimes.

Even more recently, Sen. Lee teamed up with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in February to push President Trump to end American involvement in the Yemeni conflict. The senators tried to take advantage of the War Powers Act to force a vote on S.J. Res 54, which would have withdrawn American forces from the country, despite stringent opposition from the Pentagon and the Department of Defense. The Senate, however, tabled the resolution with a 55-44 vote.

Notwithstanding these efforts, in the midst of the ethical quagmire that is the Yemeni civil war, the United States continues to help Saudi Arabia furnish its military to fuel the conflict.

In spite of its checkered human rights record, Saudi Arabia has shared a powerful alliance with the United States for over seven decades, held strong by the bonds of oil and bombs, which steadily flow between the governments. This alliance sometimes manifests itself in the form of arms deals and acts of military assistance in Middle Eastern battlefields that are the source of tragically little discourse on the floor of Congress.

In addition to making us at least somewhat complicit in Saudi Arabia's actions, supplying arms to the Arabian monarchy will make Americans less safe. The blowback effects from crippling an already destitute country with festering Islamic radicalism will haunt America well after the Houthis have been defeated with American weaponry.

"The Saudis have dropped 64,000 bombs. Sometimes they bomb people with uniforms and guns, sometimes they bomb civilians," Sen. Paul elaborated. "And then we ask ourselves, how are terrorists created?" Combine this with the presence of American troops in Yemen to fight terrorism, and our image in the region suffers greatly.

It's important to note that America's Saudi Arabia policy is not unique. It's part of a broader (and ineffective) policy of attempting to use arms sales to coerce other countries into falling in line with our government's foreign policy agenda. In a recent paper for the Cato Institute, A. Trevor Thrall, professor at George Mason University, and Caroline Dorminey, policy analyst at the Cato Institute, argue, "arms sales lack a compelling strategic justification, amplify risks, and generate a host of unintended negative consequences." A new approach to foreign policy is certainly more than warranted.

There is no excuse for congressional complacency while our tax dollars are being used to fund authoritarian regimes that kill and recruit children, especially when it compromises our own national security.

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  1. ” Child Casualties”

    Enemy Combatants.

  2. “arms sales lack a compelling strategic justification, amplify risks, and generate a host of unintended negative consequences.”
    Other than all the ‘merican jobs it creates

    “There is no excuse for congressional complacency while our tax dollars are being used to fund authoritarian regimes that kill and recruit children, especially when it compromises our own national security.”
    something something Saudi oil something something

    1. “Other than all the ‘merican jobs it creates”

      Wolf Blitzer made this unbelievably bad point to Rand Paul a few weeks back:

  3. “And then we ask ourselves, how are terrorists created?”

    Terrists are created whenever someone doubts ‘Merica, Rand.

  4. “Maybe it’s time Congress paid attention to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the few Republicans who has consistently opposed American intervention in this conflict.”

    ….one of the few “senators” who has consistently opposed American intervention (period)

    1. Are you gonna give props to Reason for reporting on this story?

      1. I always appreciate stories that focus on the most heinous act of government: state sanctioned murder.

      2. I do not know what you want to give props for, this piece takes a pretty complicated subject and decides to frame it in “Oh no dead kids.” Dumb.

  5. Neo-cons separating kids from parents now too?

    First it was socialists separating kids from their parents by killing all of them in Nazi death camps.

    Then it was law enforcement separating kids from their parent following an arrest.

    The courts separated some kids from some parents following divorce or custody battles.

    Now this?

  6. We should stop propping up Saudi Arabia — and do the same with every other country in that region, from Israel to Egypt.

  7. The Yemen rebels exist because Iran armed them. They (Iran) want to eventually take over Saudi Arabia (via Yemen), giving them control of key religious sites.

    1. Iran may want that, but I do not think anyone in power realistically expects that. More like they are hoping to keep rivals off balance by creating instability in their backyard. This has been the modus operandi for Iran since 1979. If they see a crack they are happy to rush in with weapons and advice to exploit it.

  8. Hey I got a suggestion uninformed writer. Instead of trying to virtue signal by decrying something you clearly do not understand or choose not to understand with your “look at the dead kids” argument, just say America should not get involved because it is not our problem, ok?

    I, nor anyone else, should give a single shit the Saudis are lighting up these fuckface Houthis. They are explicitly backed by Iran and their Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force, which are a bunch of jackasses, and have fired a number of missiles into Saudi Arabia and fired missiles at ships traversing the Bab al-Mandeb (the straight between Africa and Yemen, I know, crazy name). One of the ships fired upon by these fuckfaces includes an American destroyer, the USS MASON.

    As far as I am concerned, I give zero fucks what is going on in this Saudi-Iran power struggle and supplying weapons to the Saudis to fuck up these terrorists concerns me little.

    1. You should care because the U.S. is supplying a shitty state (Remember 9/11?) with assistance that results in innocents dying and weapons falling into the wrong hands. (The latter of which will probably bite us in the butt at some later time.) But instead, you accuse of the writer of being uninformed when you yourself are not only ignorant but immoral, and thus you have no ethos. So stop being a faggot.

      1. Saudi Arabia a failing state? Good to know mate.

        Here let me lay some reality on your face.

        The Iranians want to destabilize wherever they can. For better or worse, we help stabilize pretty much the entire globe. American interests are in keeping waterways open (to include the Bab al-Mandeb) and free from jackasses mining them and shooting missiles at ships going by. The Houthis not only threaten Saudi Arabia, but they threaten the waterways and chokepoints on which global commerce rests. The Houthis have already shot at numerous vessels with missiles (acquired from the Iranians) and have also acquired mines from the Iranians. The same Iranians who have threatened to shut down the Strait Of Hormuz with mines and missiles. Now let me ask you, do you want to hand over control of two of the most important waterways, the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb, to jackasses who will use them to disrupt world commerce if they felt they needed to or do you want to let the Saudis keep killing jackasses who threaten their southern border, their commerce, and political stability?

        You want simple, bloodless solutions to a non-simple world? It is not going to happen. And yes, the writer is either uninformed or intentionally misrepresenting what is essentially a proxy war with little American involvement. You want to reduce American involvement to selling of weapons? Cool. You want to pretend the Saudis are the bad guys and so are we by proxy? Dumb.

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