Executive Intelligence Review


U.S. General in Riyadh To Push Saudis on Yemen School Bus Bombing Investigation

Aug. 14, 2018 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters traveling with him in Brazil on Aug. 12 that he had sent a three-star general to Riyadh to convince the Saudis that they need to start a real investigation into the Aug. 9 bombing of a school bus in Yemen’s Saada province that killed dozens of children. According to the Washington Post, the general, who has not been named, met with Saudi officials on Sunday. Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the Post the general “adjusted his already scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss the incident with the Saudis and look into the situation.” She also said, “He pressed the Saudis to devote the resources and oversight required to do a thorough and complete investigation and release the results to the public.”

Riyadh continued to defend the raid as a “legitimate military action” intended to hit Houthi leaders even as the funerals for the victims were being held yesterday. The coalition said on Aug. 10 it would investigate the strike after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack and called for an independent probe, reports Reuters. A day later, however, the Saudi mission to the UN delivered a message to Guterres reiterating that the raid was “legitimate” and targetted Houthi leaders “responsible for recruiting and training young children.”

The death toll is now reported to be 52, of whom 40 are children. The head of the Houthis’ supreme revolutionary committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi attended the funeral, and blamed the United States for “this ugly massacre of Yemeni children.” Anwar Gargash, the foreign minister of the U.A.E., which is the major Saudi partner in the war, wrote off the tragedy as part of the “ugly side” of war.