Amid new evidence that Saudi Arabia has begun to use white phosphorus munitions in their war in Yemen, US officials are admitting that the weapons were provided by the United States “in the past.” They declined to say when, or how many weapons were provided.
White phosphorus munitions are heavily restricted in their usage under international law, allowed to be used only for smokescreens and signaling, but their incendiary properties and the risk of inhaling the smoke has made their use as an offensive weapon effectively a war crime.
The State Department said any country given the munitions was excepted to use them only in accordance with international law, and promised to look into the reports of Saudis improperly using the munitions during the Yemen war, saying the US would take “appropriate corrective action” if this is true.
The US has faced growing pressure in recent months over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as their airstrikes in Yemen have caused massive numbers of civilian casualties. US officials have tried to downplay the matter, so far, but every new disastrous airstrike adds to the calls from international human rights groups for the US to stop abetting the kingdom’s war crimes.
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