Complicit in war crimes? Western support to Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen

“I can’t explain it, really [ that Saudi Arabia was taken off the UN list of states who violate children’s rights in conflict]. I would have personally added not just Saudi Arabia but all the allies in the attacks. Everyone who signed up for this war clearly has had a hand in killing children. We can’t be selective, it’s part of protecting and respecting international, universal standards.”

For War and Peace Talk, Professor Sultan Barakat (Director, Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, Doha Institute) shares his frank opinion on the UN’s rollback of Saudi Arabia’s inclusion on the list of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights in conflict. In addition to hitting civilian targets, Amnesty International found remnants of internationally banned and supposedly UK-made cluster munition in Yemen.

Arguing that geopolitical concerns don’t play a leading role in the West’s support for Saudia Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, Professor Barakat calls for a shift in strategy: “It’s part of the hypocrisy that is criticised by people on the street in the Arab and Muslim world. Particularly the United States and many European countries ought to take a very different position from what they’re doing at the moment.”

For more information, find Amnesty International’s report on evidence of US and UK cluster munitions used by the Saudi-led coalition forces here.


Sultan Barakat is the Director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Professor at the University of York.

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on June 22nd, 2016.