Workers World’s editorial last Oct. 18 began: “U.S. warplanes bombed and destroyed a hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3.” That attack killed 14 MSF personnel, 24 patients and four caretakers, and wounded many others.
This Aug. 15, Saudi Arabian warplanes bombed and destroyed Abs Hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders in Northern Yemen. This attack killed at least 19 people, including one MSF staff member, and wounded 24 others, including patients.
In both cases, as MSF spokespeople made clear, the hospitals had provided their GPS locations to the military forces carrying out the bombings. They provide these locations so warplanes will avoid targeting the hospitals. To target a hospital is a war crime under international law.
This is not the only similarity in the attacks. Both were carried out by U.S.-manufactured and -supplied warplanes. The pilots in both cases were trained by the Pentagon war machine. Both were following instructions from U.S. guidance systems, which the U.S. Air Force makes available to its Saudi ally.
If anyone thinks this is an exaggeration, consider the following statement from the Congressional Search Report, released April 16 to inform a discussion in Congress about U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia: “The United States has provided logistical and intelligence support to the [Saudi] Yemen operation, and U.S.-origin weaponry features prominently in Saudi military operations.”
The truth is the U.S. military supplies the planes and bombs, trains the Saudi pilots and provides the intelligence for the attacks.
MSF statements condemned the Saudi attack this year — just as they condemned the U.S. attack last year — and pulled out their staff members from six hospitals in Northern Yemen.
Saudi Arabia, with full collaboration of U.S. imperialism, has been bombing Yemen since March 2015. This intervention has killed 6,500 people, half of them civilians, and added another 2 million refugees to suffering humanity. In the weeks before the attack on the hospital, Saudi planes bombed two schools, killing 12 children in one of them.
The Saudi monarchy, a U.S. ally since 1933, has supported the most reactionary political faction in Yemen’s war, one that has no-to-little support across the impoverished country located in the southeast corner of the Arabian peninsula.
Just this Aug. 21, some 100,000 people rallied in Sana’a, the capital, in support of the provisional government there made up of a coalition of the Ansar Allah (Houthi) organization and the General People’s Congress party of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Western countries continue to recognize the reactionary grouping headed by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled Yemen and lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi planes again bombed in Sana’a, this time near the crowd.
The Saudi war on Yemen is thus another criminal and anti-popular adventure for which U.S. imperialism shares the guilt.
U.S., Saudi Arabia, out of Yemen!