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Saudi Arabia’s airstrike rules of engagement reviewed

The War in Yemen: context

For over four years, a conflict has been raging in Yemen. It is one that has its roots in the failure of a political transition supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an Arab Spring uprising, one that, in 2011, forced its long-time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. President Hadi, however, struggled with a variety of problems, including attacks by al-Qaeda, a separatist movement in the south, the continuing loyalty of many military officers to Mr Saleh, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.

By 2014, the situation had escalated between the government forces led by President Hadi on the one hand, and Houthi rebels and other armed groups on the other, mainly over disagreements relating to power-sharing arrangements and details of the new draft constitution. In September 2014, Houthi rebels and armed forces loyal to former President Saleh seized and consolidated control over the capital, Sana’a and other parts of the country.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition with Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Senegal, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seeking to begin military action at the request of President Hadi.  The United States and the United Kingdom, among other states, continued to advise, arm and provide political support to members of the coalition. As part of its offensive, the coalition forces launched an extensive air campaign that, as of March 2019, continues to cause significant civilian casualties, damage to key infrastructure and poses a threat to stability across the Arabian Peninsula.

By the end of 2018, the war in Yemen had killed, injured and torn apart the lives of thousands of people, families and entire societies. In a press release in February 2019, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) made the level of human devastation clear: between 26th March, 2015 and 9th August, 2018, a total of 17,062 civilian casualties had been recorded – 6,592 dead and 10,470 injured. Most of these – 10,471 – were due to airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition.[1] However, such estimates are thought to be far lower than the true figure. Even the estimate, reported in December 2018, from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) of 60,223 killed in Yemen in the last two years, is still thought to underestimate the toll.[2]

Saudi airframes, munitions and technology

Such air-strike harm is not unexpected. With a 16% increase in military manpower over the 15 years from 2000, contrasted against a 350% increase in general military expenditure over the same period, Saudi Arabia has invested extensively in new military hardware – fast jets, air-to-surface missiles, targeting systems and laser-guided bombs.

Saudi Arabia’s attempt to procure Joint Direct Attack Munitions upgrade equipment – smart bomb ‘kits’ – to turn older bombs into precision-guided weapons using Global Positioning System signals, however, has been seen by some as indicating deficiencies in the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RASF) capability to launch ‘precision’ strikes, including Typhoon and Tornado pilots’ relative inexperience of the operation of such weaponry on the whole.[3]

The Royal Saudi Air Force’s primary set of airframes and preferred attack system over Yemen includes the Eurofighter Typhoon, Panavia Tornado F3 and F-15SAs (adapted from the US 5-15E Strike Eagle) fast-jets, all armed with a combination of various Paveway precision-guided bombs, and Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles (for equipping Typhoon and Tornado aircraft).  This includes, amongst others, GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser Guided Bombs, MK-82 500lb and 2000lb General Purpose Bombs, AGM-84 Block II Harpoon and AGM 88B HARM Missiles (to be carried by the adapted F-15).[4]

Given the number of civilian casualties from such ‘precision-guided’ bombs and missiles, there has been growing international discontent that Western nations continue to supply the Saudi Air Force with such destructive weaponry. Nonetheless, the immense profits at stake with such arms dealing seems to have blinded some states.

In March 2016, for instance, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that, as part of Operation Decisive Storm: “UK-built and licensed Typhoon and Tornado aircraft from the Royal Saudi Air Force have been deployed on combat missions in the Yemen campaign. UK- sourced weapons (including Paveway precision-guided bombs and small numbers of Dual Mode Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles) have also been used. In addition, we have in the past supplied the UAE with PGM 500 precision-guided bombs (also known as the Hakim 2) that have also been used in the conflict.”[5]

The Hakim bomb is notable for having caused several civilian fatalities in Yemen. In 23 September 2015, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch examined weapon remnants at a strike zone in Sana’a Governate and identified the munition used as PGM-500 ‘Hakim’ air-launched cruise missile, supplied in the mid-1990s and manufactured by Marconi Dynamics (a UK firm).[6] The analysis compared debris and munition pieces photographed at the site with unexploded remnants of the same missile variety from a separate strike and found both were consistent with the deployment of an air-launched PGM-500: “Marconi markings are clearly visible on a component part recovered from the Sana’a strike site. Stocks of this missile are in service with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force, which has the capability to fire them from both Mirage 2000s [a French-built fast jet] and F-16F aircraft.”[7]

US weapons, too, have been used extensively by the coalition in the campaign in Yemen. A bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen on 9th August 2018 was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia.[8] The news network CNN found that the weapon that left many children dead was a 500-pound laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin and others’ weaponry has been exported extensively to the Kingdom.

As a US Department of Defence statement announced: “Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and Raytheon Missile Systems have been awarded a combined not-to-exceed $649.7 million modification contract for Paveway II production. The modification provides a five-year extension for Paveway II missile production with work completion expected for July 27, 2023. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of the munition in 2015 included a $1.29 billion sale of munitions to Saudi Arabia, which included 1,000 GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bombs.[9]

In December 2016, the Obama administration blocked the sale of 16,000 Raytheon guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia. Administration officials reported that the decision was “a direct reflection of the concerns that we have about Saudi strikes that have resulted in civilian casualties”.[10]

President Trump has intimated that he would be in favour of overturning the ban. However, in a historic bi-partisan rebuke of the president and a marked shift in the long-standing U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia, the Senate voted on 13th December (2018), to try to force the Trump administration to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Although the measure has stalled in the House, the Senate’s 56-41 vote had some significance – it marked the first time the Senate had invoked Congress’ war powers to challenge U.S. military involvement internationally.[11]

Saudi Arabia has also admitted to using indiscriminate, UK-built BL755 cluster munitions, though it maintains that it ceased utilising such weapons by the end of 2016. In a statement made by Major-General Ahmed al-Asiri, then spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, it was confirmed that:

“The Coalition has conducted an inquiry into the use of cluster munitions in Yemen, including through dialogue with the British authorities and others. It has become apparent that there was limited use by the Coalition of the UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster munitions in Yemen. This munition was used against legitimate military targets to defend Saudi towns and villages against continuous attacks by Houthi militia, which resulted in Saudi civilian casualties. In deploying this munition, the Coalition fully observed the international humanitarian law principles of distinction and proportionality. Furthermore, the munition was not deployed in civilian population centers… the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia confirms that it decided to cease usage of the UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster munitions. Thereafter, the Saudi Government has informed the UK Government about this decision.”[12]

Argued by some as an example of Saudi Arabia’s weddedness to traditional military strategies built around ‘open’ warfare, in addition to a morally questionable view of proportionality, Saudi Arabia’s past use of cluster munitions might be paralleled with Russia’s use of gravity bombs (‘dumb bombs’) in Syria – a symbol that military success frequently supersedes the need to avoid civilian casualties, particularly in densely populated areas.

Casualty figures

Such weapon systems, coupled with a relentless and uncompromising use of air strikes, have taken a staggering toll on lives in Yemen. According to United Nations press release in February 2019, four years of intense conflict has left at least 17,700 civilian casualties (deaths and injuries) according to figures verified by the UN.[13] However, as mentioned, the real figures are likely to be higher. Overall, the permanent sense of an external threat from Iran’s proxy interventions drives Saudi Arabia’s military direction. The intervention in Yemen is a clear example of this; and it is a conflict whose resolution proves elusive[14].

For all of Saudi Arabia’s deployed might, the Yemeni conflict drags on. And such a stalemate has led to greater intervention: increasingly, Houthi rebels have begun targeting Saudi Arabia itself with missile systems, causing the Saudi military to expand further its air campaign, leading to an ever-increasing loss of civilian life. Of more than 60,000 fatalities recorded by ACLED, 28,182 were recorded in the first 11 months of 2018.[15] This marked a 68% increase compared to the previous year.

Action on Armed Violence’s (AOAV) own data for 2018 highlights the ongoing and tragic loss of life in Yemen. Last year, AOAV recorded 1,807 civilian casualties resulting from the use of explosive weapons, 1,523 of which were caused by air-launched weapons. AOAV figures also point to a stark fact: the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for 1,512 of these casualties.

Information documented by the Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts on Yemen strongly suggests that all parties to the conflict in Yemen have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, violations and crimes under international law. The findings were detailed in a 41-page report published in August 2018, which was mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to carry out an examination of the human rights situation in the country.

The Group of Experts’ report, which covered the period from September 2014 to June 2018, assessed the main patterns of violations and abuses of international law committed by parties involved in the conflict. Among their conclusions, the experts stated that members of the Saudi-led coalition committed acts that could be characterised as international crimes.

The report noted that coalition air strikes caused the most direct civilian casualties. The airstrikes hit residential areas – markets, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities, funerals and weddings. Based on the incidents they scrutinised, the Experts said that they had “reasonable grounds to believe that individuals in the Government of Yemen and the coalition may have conducted attacks in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution that may amount to war crimes.”[16]

Attack locations

In a letter from Sarah Leah Whitson – Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch – to Lt. Gen. Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour, dated 13th January, 2017, the nature of the command structure, decision-making processes and strike protocols within the Coalition were queried.

Some key questions asked included: do all airstrikes in Yemen require coalition command permission before being carried out?; what is the status of the review of the coalition’s rules of engagement?; what steps [are] taken to ensure the necessary warnings are provided to protected sites the coalition believes are being used to commit acts harmful to the enemy before attacking?; does this include setting a reasonable time period for the facility to end any potential misuse?[17] It is unclear whether the questions were given a response.

The Saudi-led coalition’s increasingly desperate efforts to displace the rebels from major strategic centres have escalated the war and forced Coalition forces to loosen targeting procedures and put at risk markets, hospitals and social gatherings (including religious services). As discussed, even weddings have been targeted with little or no regard for established international humanitarian law. The result is a mounting number of civilian deaths, deaths that are either denied or represent the ‘unfortunate collateral damage’ during a legitimate attack on a legitimate military target. Most of these attacks have occurred over urban locations.

Action on Armed Violence’s 2018 data records 1,497 civilian casualties being caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This contrasts with 310 civilians being killed or injured in areas not reported as populated. Markets and residential areas saw most civilian fatalities and injuries: 473 and 452 respectively. During the period in question, the port-city and region of Hudaydah suffered the most in terms civilian casualties: 731 civilians were either killed or injured there.

Despite the special protection afforded to medical facilities and educational, cultural and religious sites under international humanitarian law, many such facilities and sites have been damaged or destroyed by coalition air strikes throughout the conflict. The Group of Experts reviewed information concerning over 30 such incidents. It received credible information that a ‘no-strike list’ of protected buildings and infrastructure was not being shared properly within the command chain inside the coalition. The No Strike List (NSL) is an index of permanently deconflicted humanitarian sites in Yemen managed by OCHA and acknowledged by Evacuation and Humanitarian Operation Cell.[18]

The Group of Experts commented that, “several airstrikes damaged facilities operated by Médecins sans frontières, including a clinic in the Houban district of the Ta’izz Governorate, hit on 2 December 2015; an ambulance in the Sa’dah Governorate, struck on 21 January 2016; and a hospital in the Abs district of the Hajjah Governorate, hit on 15 August 2016. All the locations of the Médecins sans frontières facilities had been shared with the coalition and the ambulance was clearly marked. On 11 June 2018, Médecins sans frontières reported that an air strike had hit a new cholera treatment centre in the Abs district of Hajjah Governorate. It indicated that the coordinates of the facility had been shared with the coalition on 12 separate occasions.”[19]

The specific cases investigated by the Group of Experts also raise concerns about the targeting process utilised by the Saudi-led coalition.

Residential areas have repeatedly been hit by air strikes, often resulting in significant destruction and civilian casualties. In 60 cases, the Group of Experts reviewed air strikes that hit residential areas, killing more than 500 civilians, including 84 women and 233 children. The Group investigated the 25 August 2017 air strikes that hit a residential building in the Faj ‘Attan area of the city of Sana’a, killing at least 15 civilians and injuring another 25, including 7 women and 11 children. It also investigated the 20 December 2017 incident in the Bab Najran area of the Sa’dah Governorate in which three coalition air strikes hit a family home, killing at least 12 civilians, including at least 3 women and 3 children.

Additionally, “in 29 incidents, the Group of Experts reviewed air strikes hitting public spaces, including attacks on targets in densely populated areas that killed more than 300 civilians. The Group also investigated two incidents where air strikes hit hotels. The 23 August 2017 air strike in the Bayt Athri area of the Arhab district, Sana’a Governorate, and the 1 November 2017 air strikes that hit a hotel in Al Layl market in Sa’dah Governorate combined killed more than 50 male civilians and injured another 50”[20]. With so many civilian-related targets being struck by the Saudi-led coalition, questions must be raised as to the targeting procedures and tactical decision-making within the coalition command structure.

Official strike policy

Saudi Arabia has signed and ratified multiple instruments and conventions to the protection of civilians in situations of conflict. On 21 August 1987, it ratified the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977. This was followed by the ratification of Protocol II on 28 August 2001. It has also ratified the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (January 1996).[21] However, regardless of its commitments to these established conventions, Saudi Arabia’s adherence to these has been frequently called into question.

Despite evidence that international humanitarian law has been frequently ignored by Saudi Arabia and its allies, efforts to enhance accountability have been largely unapparent or superficial. In 2016, the Coalition made available the results of the alliance’s recently formed investigative body, the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT).

The coalition established the Joint Incidents Assessment Team to investigate allegations of unlawful coalition attacks. To many observers, however, the Team continues to lack independence, its public findings contain insufficient details and there is no mechanism to ensure implementation of its recommendations.

JIAT originally consisted of 14 individuals from Coalition members. It has a stated responsibility to investigate alleged breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) and incidents where civilians are alleged to have been killed as a result of airstrikes and other forms of attack. However, it has come under intense scrutiny for being a largely artificial entity, one that is both ill-equipped to investigate instances of large-scale civilian deaths and is also largely unaccountable.[22] In September 2017, for instance, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein commented that: ‘the minimal efforts made towards accountability over the past year are insufficient to respond to the gravity of the continuing and daily violations involved in this conflict. The devastation of Yemen and the horrific suffering of its people will have immense and enduring repercussions across the region.’[23]

Representatives of the Coalition forces frequently counter such criticisms. In August 2016, for example, the Joint Incident Assessment Team published a report assessing eight claims of significant civilian death and injury as a result of Coalition airstrikes, including attacks on residential areas, medical facilities, markets, a wedding and World Food Programme (WFP) vehicles. Lieutenant-General Mansur al-Mansur, JIAT’s then spokesperson said that they “found shortcomings in two cases, while the rest were in line with international humanitarian law”. In reference to one case, Mansur al-Mansur said that a hospital in Saada governorate was bombed, but argued that ‘the building was a medical facility which was being used by Houthi-armed militias as a military shelter. This was in clear violation of the rules of international humanitarian law, however, no casualties resulted from the bombing.’[24]

Adherence to International Humanitarian Law

In November 2018 Saudi Arabia conveyed its assessment report to the UN Human Rights Council as part of the third round of the Universal Periodic Review. Within the report, the country commented that coalition military operations in Yemen were fully compliant with international humanitarian law: “The Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen has put in place strict rules of engagement consistent with the provisions and rules of international humanitarian law, including a number of mechanisms and procedures to prevent targeting errors. The Coalition investigates all allegations of the targeting of civilians, civilian facilities and humanitarian organizations and announces the results of these investigations at press conferences.”[25]

In contrast, the Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Saudi Arabia (General Assembly document A/HRC/WG.6/31/SAU/3) sent to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2018, and as part of the same process, had concerns “about Saudi Arabia’s compliance with the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack enshrined in international humanitarian law.”[26]

In reality, the Saudi-led Coalition does not outline its rules of engagement, or how these abide by international humanitarian law, beyond general, blanket statements. Rather, it responds to criticisms levelled at it in the aftermath of an airstrike that has gone awry (or not), and killed or injured civilians.

Its response to accusations of ‘collateral damage’ follows four well-established avenues: it denies having carried out an attack on a specific target at a certain date; it admits having carried out an attack, but possesses little or no evidence suggesting that civilians were killed; it admits having carried out an attack, but maintains that it operated within established rules of war as defined through custom or codified in international convention; or, rarely, it admits having killed or injured civilians.

When the Saudi military’s rules of engagement are brought into question, it is frequently after pressure from international media or human rights groups or, occasionally, by government parties involved directly or indirectly in the conflict. In a statement of 2 September 2018, and pertaining to the disastrous Saudi-led coalition air attack on a bus in Sa’ada Governate, the US Department of State iterated that: ‘The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition’s ‎announcement that it will review their rules of engagement, hold those at fault accountable, and compensate victims following the Joint Incident Assessment Team’s finding that last month’s Sa’ada air strikes lacked justification as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability.‎ We continue to call on all sides to abide by the Law of Armed Conflict, to mitigate harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure, and thoroughly investigate and ensure accountability for any violations. It is imperative that all parties work toward a comprehensive political solution to avoid further harm to the Yemeni people.[27]

The announcement in question was issued by Lieutenant-General Mansur al-Mansur on 1 September on behalf of the Joint Incident Assessment Team. Al Mansur stated that the airstrikes had been based on intelligence indicating the bus was carrying Houthi leaders, was a legitimate military target, but delays in executing the strike and receiving a no-strike order should be further investigated: “There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing (the opportunity) to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage. The team believes that the Coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance. The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition expresses regret over the mistakes, extends its sympathies, condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims”.

At the same time, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated that it welcomed “the speed of the investigation into the incident of 9 August, and the Coalition’s announcement of regret and action to address the recommendations of that investigation.”[28] This despite the fact that it had taken the Joint Incident Assessment Team 3 weeks and 2 days to merely comment on the attack. The Joint Forces Command (of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen) released further comments related specifically to the Coalitions rules of engagement and airstrike protocols: “The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen has viewed Saturday the findings of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) regarding allegations surrounding one of the operations carried out by the Coalition Forces on (Aug. 9, 2018) in Saadah Governorate, as well as the conclusions of (JIAT) that indicate mistakes in compliance to the Rules of Engagement and what was mentioned in this regard…The Joint Forces Command will, as soon as the official findings are received, undertake legal proceedings to hold the ones who committed mistakes accountable according to the rules and regulations related to such cases, and continue to revise and enhance its Rules of Engagement, according to operational lessons learned, in a manner that guarantees non-recurrence of such incidents.”[29]

As Human Rights Watch have demonstrated, the attack on the bus in Sa’ada Governate was not isolated, nor was the response to it by JIAT and Joint Forces Command about learning from its mistakes, new: “Established in 2016 after evidence mounted of coalition violations of the laws of war, JIAT has failed even in its limited mandate to assess ‘claims and         accidents’ during Coalition military operations. It has provided deeply flawed laws-of-war analyses and reached dubious conclusions… for more than two years, the coalition has claimed that JIAT was credibly investigating allegedly unlawful airstrikes, but the investigators were doing little more than covering up war crimes.”[30]

Interestingly, not only did Major-General Ahmed al-Asiri come under fire from international organisations after a declaration in May 2015 that Houthi-held cities Saadah and Marran were legitimate military targets, putting civilians at risk, but al-Asiri later became Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Intelligence Chief, losing his job on 19 November 2018, after Turkish investigations into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Ankara earlier in the month.[31] Saudi Arabia’s adherence to international law continues to be questioned by civil society and international governments alike; it’s adherence to international law within the Yemen conflict theatre remains in question.


JIAT’s public conclusions raise questions regarding the thoroughness of its investigations and actual adherence to international humanitarian law. A large majority of attacks investigated by JIAT found the coalition acted lawfully, did not carry out the reported attack, or made an unintentional mistake. However, as of July 2018, Human Rights Watch found that JIAT recommended the Coalition scrutinise airstrike impacts in only two out of 75 reported incidents.[32]

At the heart of the continuing tragedy in Yemen is that the Saudi Coalition’s overall strategy involves denying Houthi rebel forces access to key infrastructure – in essence, it is seeking to degrade, peripheralize and ultimately force its opponent to fragment to the point that it can no longer operate as a cohesive force. The trouble is, after three years of conflict, this strategy is failing. Houthi rebels hold the most populated and industrialised areas. They continue to hold much of the west of the country, including Yemen’s largest city and capital, Sana’a.[33]

A further challenge is ascertaining accurate numbers regarding civilian casualties and measuring the scale of physical destruction – little information about casualties in Yemen reaches the outside world because Saudi and the UAE make access difficult for foreign journalists and other observers[34]. International agencies are left at the mercy of ‘official’ Saudi figures, figures provided by other parties to conflict within Yemen, and those figures extrapolated by civil society and research organisations. With Western powers continuing to export weaponry to the Kingdom, and with a failure on the part of the international community to back-up condemnation with purpose, civilians will continue to be killed and injured in what has become a scar on the conscience of the world.


[1] Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Press briefing notes on Yemen civilian casualties’, United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, 10 August 2018.

[2] Josie Ensor, ‘Yemen death toll ‘six times higher’ than estimated’, Telegraph, 12 December 2018.

[3] Andrea Shalal, ‘U.S. approves $1.29 billion sale of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia’, Reuters, 16 November 2015.

[4] Defense Security Cooperation Agency, ‘News release: Saudi Arabia – F15SA Aircraft’, Department of Defense, Transmittal No. 10-43, 20 October 2010.

[5] Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ‘Written Evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKY 13)’, March 2016.

[6] Armament Research Services, ‘United Arab Emirates employ British Hakim A series precision guided munitions in Yemen’, 26 November 2015,

[7] Amnesty International, ‘UK-made missile used in airstrike on ceramics factory in Yemen’, 25 November 2015.

[8] Human Rights Watch, ‘Yemen: Coalition Bus Bombing Apparent War Crime’, 02 September 2018.

[9] Department of Defense, ‘Contracts for May 9, 2016’, Release No: CR-087-16, 09 May 2016.

[10] Phil Stewart and Warren Strobel, ‘U.S. to halt some arms sales to Saudi, citing civilian deaths in Yemen campaign’, Reuters, 13 December 2016.

[11] Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Eric Schmitt, ‘Senate Votes to End Aid for Yemen Fight Over Khashoggi Killing and Saudis’ War Aims’, New York Times, 13 December 2018.

[12] Saudi Press Agency, ‘Coalition Forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen confirm that all Coalition countries aren’t members to the Convention on Cluster Munitions’, 19 December 2016.

[13] UN News, ‘Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN’, 14 February 2019,

[14] See Nawaf Obaid, ‘A Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine: Mapping the expanded force structure the Kingdom needs to lead the Arab world, stabilize the region, and meet its global responsibilities’, Harvard Kennedy School: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, May 2014.

[15] Josie Ensor, ‘Yemen death toll ‘six times higher’ than estimated’, Telegraph, 12 December 2018.

[16] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Technical assistance and capacity-building, ‘Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014’, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/39/43, 17 August 2018.

[17] Human Rights Watch, ‘Letter to Saudi-Led Coalition Joint Incidents Assessment Team Regarding Yemen Investigations’, 13 January 2017.

[18] See, Humanitarian Response, ‘Deconfliction’,

[19] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Technical assistance and capacity-building, ‘Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014’, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/39/43, 17 August 2018.

[20] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Technical assistance and capacity-building, ‘Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014’, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/39/43, 17 August 2018.

[21] See, ICRC, ‘Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries: Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977’.

[22] HRW, ‘Hiding Behind the Coalition: Failure to Credibly Investigate and Provide Redress for Unlawful Attacks in Yemen’, 24 August 2018.

[23] Reuters, ‘U.N. rights chief urges Yemen inquiry after ‘minimal’ effort for justice’, 11 September 2017.

[24] Al Jazeera, ‘JIAT disputes claims against Arab coalition in Yemen’, 06 August 2016.

[25] Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ‘National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1’, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/WG.6/31/SAU/1, 20 August 2018.

[26] Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, ‘Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Saudi Arabia*: Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’, Human Rights Council, 24 August 2018.

[27] Heather Nauert, ‘Saudi-led Coalition’s Announcement on Reviewing Rules of Engagement in Yemen’, U.S. Department of State, 02 September 2018.

[28] Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ‘UK government response to loss of life in Yemen in August 2018’, 02 September 2018.

[29] Saudi Gazette, ‘Coalition: Errors committed in rules of engagement’, 01 September 2018.

[30] Human Rights Watch, ‘Yemen: Coalition Fails to Curb Violations’, 24 August 2018.

[31] Al Jazeera, ‘Who is Ahmed al-Asiri, the sacked Saudi intelligence official?’, 20 October 2018,

[32] HRW, ‘Hiding Behind the Coalition: Failure to Credibly Investigate and Provide Redress for Unlawful Attacks in Yemen’, 24 August 2018.

[33] Alia Chughtai and Faisal Edroos, ‘Yemen conflict: Who controls what’, Al Jazeera, 16 January 2019.

[34] Michelle Nichols, ‘U.N. says world needs to know about Yemen, journalists need access’, Reuters, 19 July 2017.