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Washington's Farcical "Certifications" Enable the War Crimes of Allies

September 23, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s certification that the Saudi-led military
coalition in the Yemen war was taking adequate steps to avoid
inflicting civilian casualties may have achieved a new low in U.S.
foreign-policy ethics. There is abundant evidence of multiple atrocities that Riyadh and its United
Arab Emirates (UAE) junior partner have committed and continue to
commit. The coalition’s war strategy has created a famine as well as a cholera epidemic. Attacks on civilian targets
are far too numerous to list. An especially appalling incident
occurred in August when coalition aircraft attacked a school bus, killing forty
children.

Pompeo’s certification was necessary to meet the requirements of
a congressional statute. Otherwise, the U.S. military would have
had to curtail its refueling of coalition aircraft involved in
Yemen military operations. As part of its obsession with countering
Iranian influence in the Middle East, Washington has backed the
Saudis in their campaign to destroy Yemen’s nominally pro-Iranian
Houthi faction. The latest certification preserves the pretense
that Saudi and UAE forces are not committing war crimes and that
the United States is not a willing accomplice in those war crimes.

The certification requirement for U.S. aid, especially military
assistance, is, and usually has been, a cynical farce to neutralize
or (at least dampen) potential public outrage at assisting odious
regimes. For decades, U.S. administrations have certified
compliance with human-rights standards by aid recipients when those
recipients have not come even close to meeting that standard.

Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo’s certification that the Saudi-led military coalition in the
Yemen war was taking adequate steps to avoid inflicting civilian
casualties may have achieved a new low in U.S. foreign-policy
ethics.

Just days before his action regarding Saudi Arabia and Yemen,
Pompeo issued a certification allowing the release of $1.2 billion in U.S. military assistance to
Egypt, despite human-rights concerns that had held up previous
funding. As in the case of Saudi Arabia, the dictatorship of Abdel
Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt has amassed an atrocious human-rights record. Since taking
power in a 2013 military coup, Sisi has executed hundreds of
political prisoners and jailed thousands more. Yet except for a
brief pause, U.S. military aid, including the sale of F-16 jet fighters and Apache attack helicopters, has continued under
both the Obama and Trump administrations.

Brazen executive branch contempt for congressional efforts to
restrict U.S. aid to allied regimes guilty of human-rights abuses
is not confined to the Middle East. Nor is it a recent phenomenon.
In July 2003, for …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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