Just as expected, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert refused to condemn Thursday’s coalition airstrike on a school bus in Yemen, which left as many as 50 people dead and 63 injured — the vast majority of which were children.
As we reported previously, Saudi-US/UK coalition jets scored a direct hit on the school bus packed with children as it drove through a crowded market place in Dahyan, in the rebel-held north of Yemen.
During the State Department’s daily press briefing, Nauert was asked point blank by journalists, starting with the AP’s Matt Lee, whether the US condemns the attack.
The whole testy exchange on Yemen is worth watching, especially as Matt Lee lays out the case for direct US complicity in the attack on the bus packed with children from the start of his question: “The Saudis obviously are the ones who conducted this, but they do that with weapons supplied by the U.S., with training supplied by the U.S., and with targeting information, targeting data, supplied by the U.S. How can something like this happen?” he said.
Watch the State Department’s response here:
State Dept’s Heather Nauert is not willing to condemn the Saudis for their airstrike on a schoolbus earlier today that killed over 50 children in Northern #Yemen. She wants to wait for the Saudis to conduct their own investigation into the attack. Shameful. pic.twitter.com/ixo57tzfRk
— Walid (@walid970721) August 9, 2018
Unbelievably, Nauert tried to obfuscate the issue by simply saying “I can’t confirm all the details because we are not there on the ground.”
Not only did Nauert refuse to say the State Department condemned the attack, but wouldn’t so much as agree to simply call for an independent investigation into the incident (she called only for a Saudi-led inquiry).
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 9, 2018
Nauert drew random incredulous expressions of laughter from the press pool by the end of the segment on Yemen when she was caught struggling to acknowledge the long established fact that the US supplies “a tremendous amount of weaponry and the data for targeting to the Saudis” while simultaneously touting that Washington provides “a tremendous amount of humanitarian assistance.”
This section of the exchange played out as follows:
MS NAUERT: Look, we provide a tremendous amount of humanitarian assistance in Yemen to try to support civilians in Yemen and try to mitigate against the devastation that’s taken place there in that country. I don’t have anything more for you on that.
QUESTION: But you also supply a tremendous amount of weaponry and the data for targeting to the Saudis.
MS NAUERT: Well, then – sorry.
QUESTION: Right? No?
QUESTION: Am I wrong? Is that wrong?
QUESTION: That’s not wrong.
MS NAUERT: Sorry, these ladies over here are laughing. On that I would refer you to the Department of Defense that is involved with that, but as you know, Saudi Arabia is an important strategic partner in the region to the United States.
Meanwhile as Al Masdar News reports, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for an independent and prompt investigation into the deadly Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit the bus carrying children, United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a press release.
“The Secretary-General condemns the air strike today by the coalition forces in Saada, which hit a busy market area in Majz District, and impacted a bus carrying children from a summer camp,” Haq said on Thursday. “He calls for an independent and prompt investigation into this incident.”
If a massacre of children on this scale was alleged of Russia or Assad, it would dominate US UK media for days. But as this is a real, verified #Yemen massacre by a US UK ally, and using US UK arms, it’s receiving almost no US UK front page coverage at allhttps://t.co/VlYON5tP2Z
— Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) August 9, 2018
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), citing local officials, a total of 50 people died in the attack, while another 77 were injured.
— Borzou Daragahi (@borzou) August 9, 2018
Leader of the Yemen’s rebel Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Houthi on Thursday urged Russia, China and France to hold an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting over the attack of the Saudi-led coalition, local media reported.
According to the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV, the committee’s leader said that the coalition’s attack confirmed that the coalition rejects peace in the region.