Armed U.S. Drones Alone Killed Twice As Many As Al Qaeda …
A new report from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNCHR) documents the number of civilian deaths in Yemen over the year-long period between July 1, 2014 to June 30 of this year.
The UNCHR report states:
At least 24 civilians were killed and 65 injured in attacks claimed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Sana’a, Aden and Taizz. [all cities in Yemen.]
We all know that Al Qaeda are bad guys … but let’s compare that with civilian deaths caused by the U.S. and the “coalition” partners of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and various other Mid-East dictatorships .
The U.N. report documents:
Allegations of violations committed by coalition and joint government forces
- Information gathered by OHCHR indicated that, on 30 March 2015, the coalition forces launched a number of air strikes that hit the al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons in Harad. At least19 civilians were reportedly killed and 35 others injured, including 11 children. The camp, which shelters some 4,000 people, was established by the United Nations in 2009 and, at the time of the attack, hosted at least 300 families recently displaced from Sa’ada. Information provided to OHCHR did not identify the presence of any military objectives in the area.
- At least 20 civilians were killed and 59 others injured when a dairy factory was directly hit in four air strikes in Hudaydah city (Al Hudaydah Governorate), on 31 March 2015. The people killed inside the factory were personnel. On 12 May, at least 43 civilians, including eight women and 12 children, were killed, while an additional 135 were injured as a result of four air strikes that directly hit the Al-Wajeeh building located in a busy commercial hub in Zabeed (Al-Hudaydah Governorate). The majority of the casualties belonged to Al-Muhamasheen community. The information received by OHCHR did not clarify whether the building was deliberately targeted.
- On 20 April 2015, at least 87 civilians were killed, including six children and two women, and at least 647 others injured as a result of airstrikes that appeared to be directed at the Faj Attan military base in Sana’a. Hundreds of homes and private businesses in the vicinity of the base (as far as Al-Tahrir Square) were damaged.
- On 21 April 2015, 40 civilians were killed, including seven children, and 70 civilians were injured as a result of air strikes that hit the Al-Dhaleel bridge (Ibb Governorate). Reports indicated that the connection bridge between Ibb and the main route to Sana’a Governorate was hit twice by air strikes, causing a large number of civilian casualties. People were arriving to assist those injured by the first explosion when missiles were launched in a second round of air strikes.
- OHCHR received reports alleging that, in late April 2015 in Sa’ada Governorate, cluster munitions were used by the coalition forces in several air strikes, which resulted in at least six civilian casualties, including children. Owing to the continuing airstrikes, OHCHR was unable to collect any further information.
- … Although OHCHR was unable to obtain detailed information on affected cities and resulting casualties, it was informed that coalition air strikes hit at least six residential homes and five markets in Sa’ada, reportedly with no evidence of Houthi military deployment.
- On 6 May 2015, 15 civilians were killed, including four children and three women from the same family, when two homes collapsed while the families were inside. The homes were hit by two air strikes in Al-Dhaid, Sa’ada.
- OHCHR gathered information indicating that, on 7 June 2015, coalition forces conducted air strikes against an area hosting a high concentration of internally displaced persons in Duaij village (Hajjah Governorate), allegedly killing four civilians, including three women, and injuring 41 civilians, including 12 women and 16 children. Four makeshift homes for displaced persons were allegedly destroyed in that incident. On 14 June, a family of 10, including four women and two children, were allegedly killed in Al-Hamza as a result of an air strike by coalition forces that struck their vehicle travelling from Al-Jawf to Sana’a.
- OHCHR documented allegations that, on 17 June 2015, two buses transporting displaced families were hit by air strikes conducted by coalition forces in Al-Alam (Abyan Governorate). It found that 17 civilians had been killed in the incident, including five women and five children, while 10 others, including two women and three children, had been injured. The victims were reportedly fleeing the violence from Al-Mansoura district (Aden Governorate), and were on their way to Hadramout.
Next, the U.N. report discusses murder by armed drones:
- OHCHR was informed of reports of drone strikes in parts of the country with allegations of civilian casualties. The attacks are believed to have been conducted by joint forces of the United States of America and Yemen as part of a campaign against Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. OHCHR received reliable information indicating that as many as 40 civilians, including a child, may have been killed during the period under review as a result of drone attacks in Al-Baida, Al-Jawf, Marib and Shabwah. According to a Yemeni non-governmental organization, a one-year-old boy and two adults were killed on 26 January 2015 after a Yemeni Air Force drone struck a vehicle at Huraib (in Marib Governorate).
The U.S. is the only nation flying armed drones in Yemen.
Adding up the numbers, approximately 304 civilians were killed by the U.S. and other coalition members in the past year … 13 times more than killed by Al Qaeda during the same period.
And there were twice as many civilians killed by armed U.S. drones alone than by Al Qaeda during this period.
Whew! Good thing we’re the good guys.
Postscript: The above quotes come from the footnotes to the UNCHR report (namely, footnote 28 and 44 through 54). For the sake of readability, I deleted the footnote numbers.