Inside Saudi Arabia’s Push to Silence Criticism of Its Brutal War in Yemen

Apr 27th, 2016 | By | Category: News Posts

 Behind the scenes at the U.N., Riyadh and its friends are blocking resolutions and killing human rights investigations.

Saudi terror

A girl stands on the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-majority Persian Gulf allies don’t hold a single seat on the U.N. Security Council. But you’d hardly know it: Over the past year, they have wielded their diplomatic clout like a major power, shaping the 15-nation council’s diplomatic strategy for Yemen and effectively suppressing U.N. scrutiny of excesses in their 13-month air war against the country’s Shiite rebels.

The United States and Britain, two of the U.N. Security Council’s five veto-wielding powers, have largely delegated Yemen crisis management to the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council. But both have grown increasingly concerned in recent months that Arab armies are pursuing a reckless war that has contributed to the widespread destruction of the Middle East’s poorest country and planted the seeds for greater extremism.

An examination of Saudi Arabia’s Yemen diplomacy provides rare insights into the ways a vital U.S. ally has been granted a privileged perch at the world’s most powerful security body. Working through its military allies — principally the United States, Britain, and Egypt — Saudi Arabia has succeeded in blocking actions to restrain its military conduct and highlight humanitarian costs of the conflict.

“They are able to shape discussion on Yemen even when they are not in the room,” Akshaya Kumar, the deputy director of U.N. affairs at Human Rights Watch, said. “They are able to really maintain a one-sided approach to the Security Council’s handling of the situation in Yemen and particularly relating to their abuses on which the council has been silent.” Read more

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