Shared values on display in Yemen

Salon’s Ben Norton reports that America’s dear Saudi partners appear to be deliberately targeting medical aid workers in Yemen through the use of “double-tap” and even “triple-tap” airstrikes:

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike struck the ambulance of the Doctors Without Borders-supported Al Gomhoury Hospital in Yemen’s Saada governorate on Friday, killing the driver, who was a ministry of health staff member.

The ambulance had traveled to a site that had just been bombed in Dhayan, Yemen.

“Just as [the ambulance] arrived and people were gathering to assist the victims of the initial bombing, the same site was hit again with another airstrike, wounding many people,” Doctors Without Borders, which is known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, said in a statement.

“A third strike was then launched, hitting the ambulance and killing its driver,” MSF added.

The primary effect of these so-called “double-tap” strikes is to maximize civilian and aid-worker casualties and thereby destroy medical capacity and erode morale. A target is hit, people rush to the scene to rescue survivors, and then they become victims themselves when the target is hit a second time. This “triple-tap” move that the Saudis appear to have pulled got the people who were at the target in the first place, the people who moved into the area immediately after the first strike, and then got the aid workers arriving on the scene after the third strike.

It should be noted that “double-tap” tactics are considered war crimes by international observers and are Very Bad when they are done by, for example, Bashar al-Assad or Russia. Wherever would the Saudis learn such a horrible technique, then?

Yes, that’s true; they probably learned it from watching our drone strikes in Pakistan and, say, Yemen, or from the Israelis in Gaza. After all, the Saudis have been dropping our cluster munitions on civilian neighborhoods in Yemen (also a war crime, by the way), so why not adopt our tactics as well?

Let this be your periodic reminder that the two biggest outcomes of the Saudi intervention in Yemen have been widespread civilian death and suffering and the empowerment of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At least one of those things, and you’d hope both, run 180-degrees counter to American interests, and yet we continue to assist the campaign anyway. Apparently we’re not only giving the Saudis targeting information, we’re also inspiring their tactics.

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