As Yemen War Rages On, Saudi King Elevates the War’s Architect—His Own Son—to Be Crown Prince

As Yemen War Rages On, Saudi King Elevates the War’s Architect—His Own Son—to Be Crown Prince


AMY GOODMAN: We begin today in Saudi Arabia,
where King Salman has deposed his nephew as crown prince and replaced him with his own
son, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who currently serves as defense minister and has
been presiding over the devastating U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen. In response to the news, The Huffington Post’s
foreign affairs reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed tweeted, “This is HUGE. Man he is replacing was against Qatar crusade+Yemen
war. Saudi is doubling down on its most controversial
actions,” he wrote. Last month, President Donald Trump signed
a series of arms deals with Saudi Arabia totaling a record $110 billion during a visit to Riyadh. The arms deal includes tanks, artillery, ships,
helicopters, missile defense systems and cybersecurity technology. United Nations monitors have warned previous
Saudi-led attacks on Yemen could constitute crimes against humanity. More than 10,000 people have died amidst the
ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has also destroyed Yemen’s health,
water and sanitation systems, sparking a deadly cholera outbreak. The United Nations warns some 19 million of
Yemen’s 28 million people need some form of aid, with many of them at risk of famine. For more, we’re joined now by Kristine Beckerle,
the Yemen and UAE researcher for Human Rights Watch. She was in Yemen earlier this year. Human Rights Watch and the Associated Press
have just revealed the existence of a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where
prisoners are tortured. We’re going to begin, Kristine—thanks
so much for joining us—with the change, the shakeup in Saudi leadership. Explain the significance of the king now replacing
his nephew with his son as crown prince. KRISTINE BECKERLE: So, I think when I sort
of saw the news yesterday, my first feeling was of surprise, and then my second feeling
was of dread, because my interaction with the idea of Mohammed bin Salman is through—been
through the war in Yemen. He serves as—he was the deputy crown prince
and the defense minister, so he was the Saudi official responsible for the ongoing military
campaign in Yemen. And when you say that, it’s not sort of
just because he was the defense minister, but also because when people talk about the
war in Yemen, they talk about Mohammed bin Salman and how he has been a, really, driver
of this war. And— AMY GOODMAN: He’s very young. He’s 31. KRISTINE BECKERLE: And he’s—yeah, he’s
a kid, basically. And when you talk about what is going on in
Yemen, and you look at the actions of Saudi Arabia and the coalition it’s leading, it’s
very hard to see a policy or a plan or a strategy, but it’s very easy to see devastation wrought
on a country for two-and-a-half years. You’ve got famine, cholera and repeated
war crimes and violations of the laws of war. So, when you say you’re going to give this
person more power, and we haven’t seen this person commit to rights reforms, we’ve seen
this person oversee a massive campaign that’s been marred by numerous abuses, and we’ve
seen the new U.S. administration, Donald Trump, court this young prince and say, in his first
trip abroad, that he’s going to go to Riyadh and he’s going to sell the Saudis $110 billion
worth of arms—so I think the question now becomes: With this new power, is Mohammed
bin Salman going to take the step forward and say, “OK, now I’m going to push rights
reforms,” or are we going to see more of this reckless and sort of dangerous and very destructive
policies that we’ve been seeing out of Saudi? AMY GOODMAN: And the crown prince he replaced,
his cousin, the king’s nephew? KRISTINE BECKERLE: Yeah. Muhammad bin Nayef also was implicated in
many abuses, because he oversaw the Interior Ministry. So, Saudi’s Interior Ministry has been,
for a long time, sort of a centerpiece of, you know, prosecutions of dissidents, prosecutions
of women’s rights activists, all of these sorts of things, abuse in detention facilities. So, the idea—the hope would be that with
the replacement of Muhammad bin Nayef and the new Interior Ministry, Saudi would take
it as an opportunity to push reforms. But the question is: Is Mohammed bin Salman,
again, a man we have not seen commit to human rights reforms and the reforms needed in Yemen
or at home, going to do those things? AMY GOODMAN: And talk about what’s happening
in Yemen right now and the significance of this arms deal that President Trump made with
Saudi Arabia—again, Saudi Arabia, the first foreign country that he visited as president
of the United States. KRISTINE BECKERLE: Yeah, so I think—I mean,
one of the reasons why we at Human Rights Watch, other human rights groups talk about
arms deals is not simply because of the fact of the arms deals, but the signal it ends. So, the—Donald Trump going to Riyadh on
his first trip abroad as president, saying in a speech that he praises Saudi Arabia’s
strong action in Yemen, not mentioning human rights concerns, and then saying, “By the
way, here’s another $110 billion worth of arms,” sends a pretty clear message that “It’s
OK. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep carrying out war crimes. Keep devastating the Yemeni civilian population. And we’ll still give you weapons.” And the reason that’s significant is not
only because the U.S. should care about the ways in which its weapons are being used in
Yemen, but also because it exposes the U.S. and U.S. officials to legal liability for
aiding and abetting coalition war crimes in Yemen. So Human Rights Watch has already found remnants
of a weapon produced seven months after the start of the war, after violations were clear,
at the site of an apparently unlawful attack in Yemen that killed over 30 civilians. And now we’re saying, “Don’t worry. Here are some more weapons that you might
be able to use in the war in Yemen.” And that’s significant both for the Yemeni
civilian population and for U.S. officials who are exposing themselves to potential legal
liability.


26 thoughts on “As Yemen War Rages On, Saudi King Elevates the War’s Architect—His Own Son—to Be Crown Prince

  1. my u.s. govt are terrorist.. I am not.. Are my fellow Americans done with this yet?!at this point democrat or Republican just doesn't matter… terrorists!.YOU CAN NOT LOOK AWAY ANYMORE !

  2. Im sure the politicians are quaking in their boots at the thought of legal liability. We cant convict any cops cought on camera murdering civilians but Im sure the politicians time is right around the corner.

  3. Yemen is an ancient civilization that built skyscraper 100s of years before europe. House of Saud was a band of cutthroat rapists. In general, the western powers have elevated the desert warriors over the civilized, pluralistic middle east. That's because the fertile crescent was non-aligned & has an important essential resource – water

  4. Im no fan of Saudi Arabia but this war was started by Iranian backed Houthi Shia militia who attacked the Sunni government in Yemen.

  5. Totally hate that drumph sells arms to the mentally disabled. Would love if they all get in a giant circle and work it out 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  6. you want to tell me just who STARTED the war? who was in office that STARTED the arms deal? you make it sound as if its all Trump. why?

  7. It's at LEAST nice to see so many commenters expressing clearly that we are DONE with both corporate-Dems and Republicans together. I think this is what we need to stick to, if we want any real change.

  8. Saudi Arabia royal family support and is spending Billions on the expansion of Wahhabism/Salafism in the world (while world politician are silence). AL Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS, Booko Haram, Muslim brotherhood (and other terrorist organizations) all follow the same ideology Wahhabism/Salafism with the Qatari/Saudi Arabia funds and the United State weapon supply. The US started destabilizing the Middle Eastern countries since their 2003 false Iraq invasion and the increase of terrorism expanded by 4500%

  9. PROTECT THE INNOCENT. GET TRUMP OUT OF OFFICE! HE IS ALREADY SELLING WEAPONS TO PEOPLE WHO INDISCRIMINATELY KILL AND MAIM INNOCENT CHILDREN!

  10. They are despotic tyrannical rulers.. America loves them. The real terrorist of the world is USA and her allies..

  11. Where there is Muslim majority there is problem, they gonna fight with each other because in Middle East they don't have any other to fight but they need to fight anyhow to respect Aalha. If they could than they have destroyed Israel but they don't have that ability

  12. Hey Mr. King of Saudi Arabia, how about spreading some love and peace to your close neighbors, Same God right? Open them oil veins and spread some wealth. Try some true diplomacy instead. To hell with those American made death machines.

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