Americas, Middle East

US seeks distance from Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen

'They make their own targeting decisions', White House says amid international outcry over catastrophic air raid

Michael Hernandez   | 12.10.2016
US seeks distance from Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen

Washington DC

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

Seeking to further distance itself from a Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, the U.S. on Wednesday said that while it provides logistical support to the coalition it has no role in designating which targets will be hit.

“We do share some intelligence with them, but the United States does not do targeting for them,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

“The Saudis and their partners use some of the intelligence that we have collected, but they make their own targeting decisions,” he said, stressing that the bulk of the assistance that the U.S. provides is “primarily logistical”.

The Saudi-led coalition came under unprecedented heat from the White House last weekend when a funeral gathering at which Houthi rebel leaders had gathered was repeatedly struck from the air.

The attack in the capital, Sanaa, resulted in more than 140 deaths and left more than 500 injured.

In response, the U.S. said its support is not a “blank check”, and would be immediately reviewed.

The Saudi-led coalition promised an immediate investigation.

Asked if the strike could jeopardize U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Earnest did not rule it out, but pointed to the ongoing security assistance review.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab state allies have been engaged in a bombing campaign to oust Houthi rebels from power since 2015. The coalition seeks to return ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power.

Already the poorest state in the Arab world, Yemen has spiraled further into humanitarian disaster, standing now on the precipice of famine.

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