News Release

Did the U.S. Assist the Disastrous Bombing of a Funeral in Yemen?

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AP reports: “The warring parties in Yemen have agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire that will take effect shortly before midnightWednesday, the U.N. special envoy to Yemen said.’

KEN KLIPPENSTEIN, kenneth.klippenstein[at]gmail.com@kenklippenstein
Klippenstein is a U.S. journalist who recently co-wrote the piece “Did the U.S. Assist the Disastrous Bombing of a Funeral in Yemen?” for AlterNet, which states: “Did the U.S. directly assist the Saudi-led coalition aerial bombing of a funeral in Sanaa, Yemen … reported to have killed over 140 people and injured as many as 600? A renowned combat aircraft engineer and former Pentagon official, Pierre Sprey, says the evidence suggests the U.S. did exactly that. …

“As Sprey explained to AlterNet, ‘If that Saudi fighter was based at the main Saudi base near Riyadh, Prince Sultan airbase, then it was almost certainly refueled by USAF [U.S. Air Force] tankers.’ Though there is an airbase located close enough to Yemen to not require refueling, King Khaled airbase, Sprey told AlterNet, ‘I doubt they are stationing very many fighters there these days, given that the Houthis [rebel group that overthrew Yemen’s government in 2014-2015 following protests against a deeply unpopular fuel subsidy cut] have successfully hit that base with Scud missiles on at least one occasion (and could readily overrun it on the ground, given the dismal performance of Saudi ground units).’ …

“When AlterNet asked U.S. Air Force spokesman Shane Huff, he conceded that the U.S. refueled coalition fighters the weekend of the bombing — including the day after the bombing — but denied that USAF fueled any aircraft on the day of the bombing. When asked why the U.S., which typically refuels coalition aircraft, would provide fuel that weekend but not the day of the bombing, Huff replied, ‘I do not know the answer to that question.’

“Asked if the aircraft involved in the Sanaa funeral bombing launched from an airbase bordering Yemen, Huff told AlterNet, ‘I must refer you to the Saudi Defense Forces on that question.’ …

“The U.S.’ role in the bombing may even go beyond refueling: a photo has emerged allegedly showing the ordnance dropped on the funeral, a Mark 82 bomb (the label printed in English). The U.S. announced a contract for the production of this ordnance for Saudi Arabia, just weeks before the bombing. Even Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, later tweeted the potentially incriminating photo; this may come as a surprise given HRW’s well-documented congeniality to Washington. …

“Following the funeral bombing, the U.N. Secretary-General has called for an independent investigation into rights abuses and other crimes in Yemen. With about half of Yemen’s population going hungry according to U.N. figures, this conflict threatens to turn Yemen into an irrevocable humanitarian catastrophe.”