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UN probes US on Yemen massacre in oil pipeline area

The United Nations human rights office today strongly condemned a strike killing over 20 people and wounding dozens of children and other relatives at a procession in southern Yemen last month. The alleged United States drone massacre is reported to have protected no one but Al Qaeda in the important oil pipeline area where citizens have been subjugated due to their resistance to US oppression and drive for oil.

Jeremy Schahill's 'Dirty Wars' film based in Yemen, another corner of the world where oil overrides human rights
Jeremy Scahill

The UN human rights office urged authorities to hold those responsible for the attacks accountable.

The U.S., that runs Yemen and is the alleged attacker under the guise of targeting killings, has been coldly silent on the murders. Instead, it is closer to developing robot drones that will decide who to kill "with no pity or fear."

Yemenis awakened to one of the most horrifying massacres in recent memory. Militants in army uniforms attacked a hospital inside the ministry of defence compound in the capital, Sanaa, killing over 50 and wounding over 150 men, women and children; patients, doctors and nurses; locals and foreigners.

"Footage from surveillance cameras showed a gunman attacking a surgeon as he operated on a patient in the emergency room, and another casually lobbing a grenade into a crowd of people cowering on the floor," the National reports, describing how Al Qaeda faced such strong condemnation locally, it was about to be defeated.

The following night, after the Yemen government began broadcasting videos of the massacre and rage against Aqap reached a fevered pitch, an unmanned American military drone flying over Radaa province, some 150 kilometres south-east of Sanaa, fired a missile into Yemen, striking a vehicle in a wedding procession, killing 12 people and wounding dozens.

Almost instantly, public discourse shifted, and anger was redirected, according to the National that reports, "Al Qaeda had almost destroyed itself but America came to its rescue."

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said about the next massacre, the shelling on Dec. 27 at Al-Dhalai Governorate, killed 21 civilians and injured 30 others, prompting elected President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi to establish an investigation committee.

That move was welcomed by OHCHR, according to spokesperson Rupert Colville.

He told journalists in Geneva that UN human rights officials urged Yemeni authorities to ensure the probe is “prompt, thorough and impartial”, and that its findings are made public.

Yemen has been attempting to undergo a democratic transition, with a Government of National Unity elected in Feb. 2012 after protests led to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh resigning, according to the UN.

A day before the most recent shelling, independent UN human rights experts voiced serious concern about recent lethal drone airstrikes, allegedly conducted by United States forces.

According to local security officials, 16 civilians were killed and at least 10 injured when two separate wedding processions were hit on 12 Dec. in Al-Baida Governorate. According to officials cited by OHCHR, the victims had been mistakenly identified as members of Al-Qaida.

"In a country that has suffered almost a decade of US drone strikes and watched them obliterate hundreds of innocent lives, it mattered little that the “official” target in Radaa were several militants among the wedding goers," the National says. "Rather, that drone strike reminded Yemenis, once again, that it is American terror that looms over them – constantly.

"As one Yemeni activist said: 'If you escape Aqap, you don’t escape US drones.'”

In many parts of Yemen, it is not Aqap that is feared, but America. Not long ago, I visited the area of Khawlan, a 30-minute drive from Sanaa, where a US missile struck a vehicle full of passengers, killing everyone, including a local schoolteacher. He’d been with his cousin, the driver, who had picked up other people as a normal fare ride. How were the cousins to know that these people were on the US kill list? Children were waiting in the classroom for two hours the next morning before the news came that their teacher, Ali, was dead. Now, whenever teachers are late for class, students at the school become terrified that the US may have killed them. (The National)

In the video above, it is reported that in desperation, Yemenis have been left with no choice but to take matters in their own hands to survive US oppression and attacks.

This weekend proved Yemenis are that desperate and well aware that the U.S. is killing for its natural resources.

"Gunmen overnight blew up the pipeline linking Masila oilfield to Al-Daba port" in the town of Shahr on the Gulf of Aden, a local Yemeni official said Monday.

"They were angered by the killing of a member of their tribe, an unarmed civilian, at an army checkpoint on Sunday," local tribal chief Ahmad Bamaezz explained.

The same pipeline was targeted by Yemeni tribesmen on December 28, 2013 in retaliation for the death of a local tribal chief, Said Ben Habrish, and his bodyguards at a checkpoint earlier in December.

Mass resistance in the South is the best hope for a progressive development for people of Yemen, according to Stop The War Coalition. "It is stopping a full US ground invasion and undercuts US attempts to criminalise Yemenis in order to gain control of natural resources.

"At the time of writing, events are unfolding rapidly," Stop The War Coalition says. "An attack on the Defence Ministry in Sanaa on 5th December was initially presented as an attempted military coup, but is now being attributed to Al Qaida, and according to the BBC, media coverage in the area is being restricted.

"The motive of these events is not yet clear, but the Yemeni government forces in Aden have ripped down the South Yemen flags and arrested nine youth activists last night, and US warships are visible on the coastal districts of oil-rich Hadramaut and Saabua in the South. The risk of Western military intervention in Yemen is severe."

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Sources: The National, Press TV, Stop The War Coalition, Dirty Wars, United Nations

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