Saudi Arabia is complaining on Friday after winding up on the UN blacklist for violence against children in warzones related to their attacks on Yemen. The report blamed the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen for at least 683 child casualties in 2016.
Saudi officials complained their inclusion was “misleading,” but offered no evidence to the contrary. Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi insists that Saudi warplanes exercise the “maximum degree of care.”
Which is a claim that is unlikely to convince anybody. Since attacking Yemen in 2015, the Saudis have been implicated in a massive number of civilian deaths in airstrikes against populated areas. Repeated attacks against schools, oftentimes repeatedly hitting the same schools multiple times, underscores the risk children are under during the air war.
It was this same sort of “maximum care” that landed the Saudis on the same list last year, though after browbeating the UN for a few days they were “temporarily removed,” pending an investigation. There’s no sign the investigation ever happened, and then-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon complained the Saudis were exerting undue influence on the list.
Saudi threats to defund the UN, and support from the US, got them off that list last year, but it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to pull that same trick again a year later, after countless more deaths and countless more reports on reckless targeting.