(UR) Yemen — On Wednesday, the Houthi rebels in Yemen said the Saudi Arabian-led coalition carried out airstrikes on a security compound in the capital city of Sanaa, Reuters reports.

Writes the news service:

“The Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air raids against outposts and military facilities of the Iran-aligned Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March last year in a campaign to try to restore ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

“The Houthi group, in a statement carried by sabanews.net news agency, quoted a source at the country’s national security service as saying that coalition aircraft had caused a number of casualties among residents living in the vicinity of the compound that was bombed.”

The Yemeni Revolution began in 2011, concurrent with other Arab Spring protests in the Middle East and North Africa. The uprising in Yemen, led by the Houthi group, resulted in the ouster of Hadi in 2015, and the establish of a ruling council of militias in the capital city of Sanaa.

Immediately following Hadi’s expulsion, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Arab nations and began conducting airstrikes against the Houthi rebels — who, because of their alliance with Iran, the Saudis view as a proxy army of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — in a campaign to reinstall the former Yemeni leader.

Wednesday’s bombing of the Houthi security compound is the latest action in that campaign — which, to date, has resulted in over 10,000 deaths, including nearly 4,000 civilians.

Several humanitarian groups — such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — have come out against Saudi Arabia, stating the continued air raids are akin to war crimes. Indeed, the collective devastation in Yemen has led some to label it the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet.

These facts make the United States’ support for the Saudi-led coalition all the more troubling. The U.S. — whose economic interests are thoroughly entangled with Saudi Arabia and who shares the country’s assessment of Iran as an imminent threat — has been militarily supporting its Middle Eastern ally since the coalition campaign against the Houthis began.

It appears, in fact, the United States is supplying Saudi forces with weapons that are being used illegally on the battlefield. Writes the Washington Post:

“Saudi Arabia appears to be using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus munitions in its war in Yemen, based on images and videos posted to social media, raising concerns among human rights groups that the highly incendiary material could be used against civilians.

“Under U.S. regulations, white phosphorus sold to other countries is to be used only for signaling to other troops and creating smoke screens. When the munition explodes, it releases white phosphorus that automatically ignites in the air and creates a thick white smoke. When used against soldiers or civilians, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone.”

It’s revelations such as these that prompted California Congressman Ted Lieu to introduce a bill that would block a $1.15 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, claiming there is “now overwhelming evidence that war crimes are being committed in Yemen and that most of them appear to be done by Saudi Arabia-led air strikes.”

Considering their desperate situation, it may not be surprising to learn that Houthi forces have taken to detaining suspected spies within Yemen, some of whom have been Americans.

This is precisely what happened on Tuesday, Reuters reports:

“Gunmen abducted an American teacher on Tuesday from an English  language school in Sanaa, capital of wartorn Yemen, witnesses said, in the latest of a series of kidnappings foreigners.”

The news agency writes that witnesses “were shocked when the armed group entered the building” and abducted and took a teacher “to an unknown location.”

A U.S. State Department spokesman told Reuters they were “aware of reports of reports of U.S. citizens being held in Yemen” but that “privacy considerations prevent us from commenting further on this case.”

The outlet concludes by noting that “over the course of the 18-month-old war several Americans have been detained on espionage charges by the Iranian-allied Houthis, who accuse the United States of arming and supporting a Saudi-led coalition which has intervened in the conflict on the side of the exiled government.”

And as the agency wrote regarding the most recent coalition airstrikes on Wednesday, the national security service source cited by sabanews.net holds “the aggression (the coalition) responsible for exposing those held there to danger, be it terrorist elements or those held for spying from Arab and foreign countries, including Americans.”

Or, as Trevor Timm put it for The Guardian in August:

“Put simply, the U.S. is quite literally funding a humanitarian catastrophe that, by some measures, is larger than the crisis in Syria. As the New York Times editorial boards wrote this week: ‘Experts say the coalition would be grounded if Washington withheld its support.’ Yet all we’ve heard is crickets.”


This article (Rebels Kidnapped an American Teacher in Yemen, But You Need to Know Why) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to James Holbrooks and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to undergroundreporter2016@gmail.com. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.