U.S.-backed coalition pummels civilian installations in Yemen

December 24, 2021 - 23:51

TEHRAN – In the latest violation of human rights, Saudi Arabia has targeted a number of civilian facilities in the Yemeni capital under the pretext of being used to store weapons.

A football stadium in Sanaa has become a new indication of the fact that Saudi Arabia’s list of targets in Yemen is empty. On Thursday evening, Saudi Arabia announced a deadline of 6 hours for the Yemeni government to remove weapons allegedly stored in the Al-Thawra Sports Stadium in Sanaa.

In the meantime, the Saudi media launched a propaganda campaign to make its flimsy claims on the stadium look real. The six hours elapsed and no weapons were found at the site. But this did not prevent Saudi Arabia from destroying a sports facility that was already targeted for similar claims. 

The Saudi-led coalition, which is supported by the U.S., announced that it targeted alleged weapon depots in Sanna. But it turned out that these depots are nothing but a stadium and a hospital. 

The U.S.-supported aggression against these civilian facilities elicited a response from the Yemeni Olympic Committee, which appealed to the International Olympic Committee, the International Federation of National Olympic Committees, the Olympic Council of Asia, international sports organizations and the Security Council to intervene to stop targeting sports facilities in Yemen.

A statement issued by the committee clarified that sports facilities in Yemen are civilian sports facilities that incubate youth sports activities and have nothing to do with the military aspect, and do not contain any kind of weapons, according to Al-Masirah.

“All the sports facilities that were targeted did not have any weapons or military equipment,” the statement read, indicating that this has been proven since the beginning of the war in March 2015 until today.

“Yemeni sports have lost a lot of sports facilities, rather, the most important facilities, including stadiums and closed halls. Athletes have been deprived of them from practicing their activities,” the Yemeni Olympic Committee confirmed, indicating that these facilities required many years and large funds to establish, and it is not easy to compensate them.

Yemen’s Ministry of Youth and Sports roundly denied the U.S.-Saudi allegations, accusing the forces of aggression of fabricating flimsy pretexts and illusory justifications for bombing civilian sports facilities.

The ministry indicated that the U.S.-Saudi efforts to target Al-Thawra Sports Complex coincided with the preparations to receive and honor the junior team that won the West Asian Football Championship, in an attempt to confiscate the joy of the Yemeni people following the victory of the national team over the Saudi team.

The football stadium was not the only civilian facility targeted by Saudi warplanes. A security force told Yemen’s Saba news agency that Saudi Arabia launched two raids targeting the Al-Alia Hospital on Al-Zubayri Street, which led to the hospital being out of service and causing panic and fear among patients and medical staff.

In addition, Saudi Arabia also targeted educational facilities in Sanaa. Yemen’s Ministry of Education condemned the targeting by the U.S.-Saudi aggression of the vicinity of educational facilities at the intersection of Baghdad and Al-Zubayri streets, which led to severe damage to the building of the Teacher, Education and Projects Support Fund, the Center for the Production of Educational stuff, and the Baghdad School.

The ministry denounced the international silence regarding the crimes of aggression against the Yemeni people, which are contrary to international charters, norms, laws and monotheistic religions. It considered these crimes and violations to reflect the state of hysteria and the level of psychological and moral defeat and the moral collapse of the forces of aggression.

Thursday’s air strikes marked a significant surge in Saudi attacks on Yemen. Some observers believe that Saudi Arabia’s blanket bombing of Sanaa is an attempt to make up for its defeat on the ground. Despite being backed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia has largely failed in deterring an offensive by the Sanaa-allied forces to take over the strategically important province of Marib. Over the last months, the Yemeni forces have succeeded in closing in on Marib and are on the verge of entering the city, a move that would tip the balance in favor of the Yemeni forces. 

Leading several of its allies, Saudi Arabia launched a war against Yemen in March 2015. The war has been intended to restore power in Yemen to the country’s former Riyadh-allied officials but ended in a Saudi defeat of historical proportions. The U.S. has played a major role in enabling Saudi Arabia to continue its aggression against Yemen. Most of the ammunition Saudi Arabia uses to attack Yemen is supplied by the United States. In addition, some believe that the current intensification of Saudi attacks against Yemen is greenlighted by the Biden administration.

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