UK under pressure as US doubles strikes in Yemen

UK under pressure as US doubles strikes in Yemen
Mon Sep 25, 2017 15:55:06

US President Donald Trump has doubled his country’s secret military operations in Yemen, according to a new report, causing unease for close allies like the UK which is already accused of complicity in Saudi Arabia’s war on the impoverish country.

(presstv) -- The US military has carried out as many as 93 covert airstrikes in Yemen this year, more than two times the 40 airstrikes that his predecessor Barack Obama conducted during his last year in the White House, according to data by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, or TBIJ.

According to the bureau, which tracks US air and drone operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, the attacks have killed at least 30 people in Yemen so far.

The report noted that if the attacks continue at their current rate, which stands at one airstrike per two days, US airstrikes across Yemen are expected to show a five-fold increase.

Yemen has been under regular US drone strikes, with Washington claiming to be targeting al-Qaeda elements, while local sources say civilians have been the main victims.

In March, Trump gave the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) new powers to launch drone attacks against suspected terrorist targets.

In January and May, the US conducted deadly ground and aerial raids on Yemeni soil, leaving dozens of people dead.

The attacks have further complicated the situation in the conflict-ridden country, which has been driven towards a humanitarian crisis after enduring a brutal war led by Saudi Arabia since March 2015.

UK feeling the heat

The Trump administration’s growing military role in Yemen has brought more attention to the UK’s extensive arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

London has been resisting international calls to stop aiding Saudi war crimes in Yemen, amid overwhelming evidence that British weapons and intelligence are being used to target Yemeni civilians.

There is “mounting evidence” for British support for US operations in Yemen and elsewhere, UK-based human rights group Reprieve said in a recent report.

The campaign group described the escalation in US airstrikes in Yemen as a “wake-up call” and called on British government to publish the details of its covert role in US drone strikes.

(Photo: British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) address the press as US President Donald Trump listens on during a meeting at the Palace Hotel in New York, on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, September 20, 2017. by AFP)

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