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McKernan writes: "A US government spokesperson has struggled to answer questions put to him on why the US condemns Russian bombing in Syria, and supports Saudi-led bombing in Yemen, both of which have killed thousands of civilians."

Forensic experts investigate the scene at the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, October 9, 2016. (photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)
Forensic experts investigate the scene at the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, October 9, 2016. (photo: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)


US Spokesperson Struggles with Questions About the Difference Between Bombings in Syria and Yemen

By Bethan McKernan, The Independent

13 October 16

 

US State Department official asked repeatedly about why the US supports Saudi-led air strikes which have killed civilians in Sanaa, but has cut off talks with Russia over continued shelling of Syrian rebels in Aleppo

US government spokesperson has struggled to answer questions put to him on why the US condemns Russian bombing in Syria, and supports Saudi-led bombing in Yemen, both of which have killed thousands of civilians.

During a media briefing in Washington DC on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby was asked repeatedly about whether Saudi coalition bombing of Houthi rebels in Sanaa - facilitated by US arms sales to the Gulf state - deliberately targets civilian infrastructure.

On Saturday, an air strike in the Yemeni capital killed 140 people at a funeral hall, in one of the worst single incidents of violence in the 18-month-old civil war between the exiled Yemeni government and Houthi rebels who are in control of the capital. Saudi Arabia has opened an investigation into the incident but denied culpability.

“Over the weekend there was this air strike on a funeral by the Saudi-led coalition,” Matt Lee of the Associated Press asked. “I was just wondering: does the administration see any difference between this kind of thing, and what you accuse the Russians, Syrians and the Iranians of doing in Syria, and particularly Aleppo?”

Mr Kirby struggled to answer the question, pointing out that the Kingdom has launched an investigation into how the funeral hall was hit, whereas nothing of the sort has been carried out by the Syrian or Russian governments, which he accused of deliberately causing harm to civilians. 

Russia did call for an investigation into the bombing of an aid convoy near Aleppo on September 19th, which contributed to the suspension of talks on Syria between Washington and Moscow.

“What we’re seeing in Aleppo is nothing but a concerted effort in recent days to… subdue that city by force,” he said.

Rebel-held east Aleppo has been targeted by unprecedented air strikes since the collapse of a US and Russian brokered ceasefire last month. At least 330 people have died in the renewed assault, the World Health Organisation says, and activists on the ground put the figure much higher.  

 Both the Syrian and Russian governments maintain that strikes are targeted at terrorists who use civilians as human shields. 

Mr Lee, the AP’s diplomatic correspondent, continued to hold Mr Kirby’s feet to the fire on the Yemeni issue, pressing him for an answer on how “an increasing number of Yemeni civilians are at risk and being killed by weapons that the United States has furnished to the Saudis and their coalition partners.”

“You don’t find any kind of issue with this? Because a lot of people do, including on [Capitol] Hill,” he added.

Mr Kirby said that the situation was very different in Syria and Yemen, pointing out that Iranian-supplied Houthi rockets have killed Saudi citizens in recent months.

“The Saudi-led coalition were invited in by the Yemeni government - now I know what you’re going to say, the Russians were invited by [Syrian President] Assad… but [the Saudis] are under real threat on their side of the border in that war,” he said.

Earlier this week, an investigation by Reuters revealed that State Department officials and lawyers in Barack Obama’s administration did not come to a conclusion on whether the US could be legally defined as a ‘co-belligerent’ in Yemen’s war before selling Saudi Arabia armaments worth $1.3 billion last year. 

Several officials said worries were also expressed before the deal that the Saudi military did not have sophisticated enough weapons systems to target militants without causing unnecessary loss of civilian life.

More than 10,000 people have died in the Yemeni civil war, the UN says, and three million have been displaced from their homes. 

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+7 # guomashi 2016-10-13 11:24
The rule:
It's OK when we do it because (as Queen H. says) "we are good".
It's not OK if someone else does it, unless we say it is OK because we need some apprentices and surrogates.

Simple enough, no?
 
 
+10 # RMDC 2016-10-13 11:44
“What we’re seeing in Aleppo is nothing but a concerted effort in recent days to… subdue that city by force,” he said.


This pinhead seems not to know what war is. Obama started this war. Syria and Russia are trying to stop it. I guarantee that if the eastern side of a large US city were being held by terrorist groups, the US would be trying to "subdue that city by force."

This mouthpiece for the white house does a great job of representing the hypocrisy and mendacity of the Obama regime.

Obama could stop the slaughter in Syria if he chose to. He could stop funding the terrorists who he hired to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria. But Obama won't do that. He's got his orders from the CIA and the neo-cons and he is doing just what they ordered him to do. He will go down in history as a coward president and a great war criminal.
 
 
+5 # indian weaver 2016-10-13 12:27
Obama's overwhelming character defect is cowardice. He tries to cover his cowardice with lies, making him also a liar of world class rank, up there with the most vicious war criminals in the planet's history. Due to Obama's War Crimes, he's displaced millions from their homes, and injured / destroyed the lives of 100s of millions. That is who Obama is, another plague on the entire planet like dubya and many others in our government, energy industry, MIC and banks. Obama is the Terrorist / Torturer - in - Chief of the fascist regime of America.
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-10-13 17:13
That pinhead is a US Navy Admiral, so methinks he knows what war is. Therefore, he knows he's belching out false and misleading propaganda.

AP's Matt Lee and RT's Gayane Chichakyan are actual journalists who ask probing questions, and follow-ups. Sometimes they team-tag the duplicitous Admiral Kirby and his spokespeople.

Here, they wonder why the US can't tell them the location of a hospital they claim Russia bombed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEhv6J0gFHo
 
 
+3 # LionMousePudding 2016-10-13 14:19
WHY is it OK to kill civilians because terrorists are among them ('using them as Shields')??

(Pretending that this is even true)

We must not let terrorists get their way, no matter the cost? Because we are macho and always have to win?

Ok let's see what happens when the terrorists use Sasha and Malia as shields. That's what kidnapping and holding a hostage as ransom is.

I want someone to ask Obama that. If it is OK to kill a hundred people so we supposedly get one terrorist, how about just killing two little girls to get one?

And if not, why not?
 
 
0 # newell 2016-10-14 10:39
I know you are trying to make a point--but bringing the President's kids into this reminds me of Trump. Obama has been drone-happy but would you rather have had McCain or Romney? Do you see a difference between Obama and Reagan, Nixon or Bush. It would be nice to read something besides hateful polarization here.
 

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