Open Letter to the Notables Who [Uncritically] Met with Prince Salman
May 22, 2018
An Open Letter to Business Leaders and Actors, Directors, and Producers Who Met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, including Adam Aron (CEO, American Multi-Cinema), Ari Emanuel (CEO, William Morris Endeavor), Willow Bay (Dean, USC School of Communications and Journalism), Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon), Michael Bloomberg (CEO, Bloomberg LP, former Mayor of New York City), Richard Branson (founder, Virgin Group), Kobe Bryant (former professional basketball player), James Cameron (director, producer, and writer), Tim Cook (CEO, Apple inc.), Michael Douglas (actor and producer), Morgan Freeman (actor and producer), Alan Garber (Provost of Harvard University), Bill Gates (philanthropist and principal founder, Microsoft Corporation), Brian Grazer (film and television producer), Ron Howard (actor and director), Bob Iger (CEO, Walt Disney Corporation), Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson (actor, producer, and semi-retired professional wrestler), Robert Kraft (owner, New England Patriots), Rupert Murdoch (founder and Chairman, News Corp.), Elon Musk (founder and CEO, designer of SpaceX and Tesla, Inc.), Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (CEO, Google Inc.), Peter Rice (President, 21st Century Fox and Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group), Jeff Shell (Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group), Shane Smith (co-founder, Vice News), Ridley Scott (film director and producer), Stephen Schwarzman (CEO, Blackstone Group), Stacey Snider (Chairman and CEO, 20th Century Fox Film), Evan Spiegel (CEO, Snapchat), Peter Thiel (entrepreneur and co-founder of Paypal), and Oprah Winfrey (media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist).
Re: Saudi Arabia is killing civilians in Yemen: Why don't you speak out?
We, the undersigned professors and civil liberties, human rights, and peace organizations, are writing to express our concern that you did not publicly speak out about Saudi Arabia's grave human rights violations in Yemen when you met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman on his recent trip to the United States.1 As public figures, your activities and statements garner significant attention, and you wield national and global influence. You are uniquely positioned to exercise moral leadership and to help advance the rights of Yemeni civilians by delivering a message that credible allegations of Saudi Arabia's serious abuses in Yemen will not be ignored.
Saudi Arabia has bombed, killed, and injured numerous civilians, and has been credibly implicated in "widespread violations" of international law, including war crimes.2 Further, by restricting humanitarian access to Yemen, Saudi Arabia has exacerbated what the United Nations has described as the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world,"3 deepened the world's worst cholera epidemic, furthered the risk of famine for millions, and contributed to a spiraling economic crisis in the poorest country in the Middle East. The Crown Prince is described as the "architect" and the "face" of Saudi operations in Yemen.4
By meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince but failing to raise concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights violations in Yemen, you allowed yourself to be instrumentalized in a public relations effort to whitewash Saudi Arabia's abuses in the war in Yemen. Radhya Almutawakel, a prominent Yemeni human rights leader who has previously addressed the UN Security Council on the issue of Yemen, expressed the disappointment of many when asked about your actions during the Crown Prince's trip to the US: "Many Yemenis were shocked that these prominent actors and business leaders had met with the Saudi Crown Prince, but failed to speak up about the grave harm Saudi Arabia is inflicting on civilians in Yemen."
The widespread harms caused by Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen have been extensively documented and reported, including by leading Yemeni and international organizations, the United Nations, and the media.5 In late 2017, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres placed the Saudi-led coalition on a UN "list of shame" for its role in the killing and maiming of children through attacks on homes, schools, and hospitals in the Yemen conflict.6 In 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned the Saudi-led coalition's role in the repeated killing of civilians in Yemen as "possible international crimes," and found coalition airstrikes to be "responsible for twice as many civilian casualties [in Yemen] as all the other forces put together."7 The U.N. High Commissioner has also denounced the international community's failure to call attention to justice and accountability, stating that "the reticence of the international community in demanding justice for the victims of the conflict in Yemen is shameful, and in many ways contributing to the continuing horror."8
Despite Saudi Arabia's efforts to avoid scrutiny for its abuses,9 credible reports indicate that Saudi Arabia has killed thousands of civilians, including women and children, in disproportionate and indiscriminate airstrikes.10 The Saudi-led coalition has bombed homes, hospitals, funerals, and schools-actions which may amount to war crimes.11 Saudi Arabia has also severely restricted the entry into Yemen of humanitarian aid and vital fuel and food imports.12 The United Nations has reported that the Saudi-led coalition's access and movement restrictions in Yemen have had a devastating impact on the "availability of goods and services and their accessibility by the civilian population," leaving many Yemenis without the ability to purchase "medicine or food, even where they were available," circumstances which have "accelerated the spread of cholera and other diseases and increased the risk of famine."13
Your meeting with the Crown Prince was part of Saudi Arabia's well-organized public relations tour of the United States. The meeting helped to create significant and positive press coverage for the Crown Prince and Saudi Arabia. There was no media coverage of any concerns raised by you with the Crown Prince or publicly about Saudi Arabia's harmful actions in Yemen. For example, the media has reported Adam Aron (Chief Executive of American Multi-Cinema),14 actor Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson,15 and Rick Licht (CEO of Hero Ventures),16 each openly praising the Crown Prince, but there is no mention of them publicly raising or questioning Saudi abuses and conduct in the war in Yemen. Reportedly, the topic of the "bombing campaign in Yemen" was "off-limits" at a dinner for the Crown Prince hosted by Brian Grazer (film and television producer) and attended by Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon), Kobe Bryant (former professional basketball player), and Ron Howard (film director).17
Your failure to speak out publicly against Saudi Arabia's human rights violations in Yemen stands in stark contrast to the actions of other leaders in the United States. For example, Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles "raised his concerns about human rights and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen" in his meeting with the Crown Prince.18
By ignoring Saudi abuses in Yemen, you missed a valuable opportunity to pressure the Saudis to bring an end to the war and improve the desperate situation of civilians in Yemen. And you have sent a damaging message to Saudi Arabia, the international community, and the Yemeni people that violations of human rights and the laws of war will be met with dinners and parties rather than scrutiny, accountability, or concern-a message that must be corrected. As a leader in the United States, it is especially important that you raise concerns about Saudi Arabia's abuses given the central role the United States has played in the war by providing essential political, economic, and military support for the Saudi-led coalition's campaign in Yemen,19 to such an extent that the United States itself is implicated in Saudi abuses.20
We urge you to publicly express concern for the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and to call on Saudi Arabia to respect international law and to work towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Center for Constitutional Rights
Human Rights Clinic (Columbia Law School)
Mwatana Organization for Human Rights
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain
Center for Constitutional Rights
CODEPINK for Peace
Environmentalists against War
Global Justice Center
Global Justice Clinic (NYU Law School)
Human Rights Clinic (Columbia Law School)
Muslim Law Students Association (NYU Law School)
Muslim Peace Fellowship
Muslims United For Justice
Mwatana Organization for Human Rights
Rights Watch (UK)
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights
United for Peace and Justice
The Yemen Peace Project
Win Without War
World Beyond War
Susan M. Akram, Clinical Professor and Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Boston University School of Law
Sandra Babcock, Clinical Professor of Law, International Human Rights Clinic, Cornell Law School
Dr Matthew Bolton, Associate Professor of Political Science, Pace University
James Cavallaro, International Human Rights Clinic, Stanford Law School
Noam Chomsky, Laureate Professor of Linguistics, Agnese Nelms Haury Chair, University of Arizona
Jamil Dakwar, Adjunct Professor, Hunter College & John Jay College
Hannah Garry, Clinical Professor of Law & Director, International Human Rights Clinic, USC Gould School of Law
Rebecca Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law
Adil Haque, Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
Bert Lockwood, Distinguished Service Professor & Director, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Dr Michael Mair, Sociology, University of Liverpool
Tom McDonnell, Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Samer Muscati, Director, International Human Rights Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Ruhan Nagra, International Human Rights Clinic, Stanford Law School
Gabor Rona, Visiting Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School
1 The Saudi Crown Prince's trip generated significant positive publicity for Saudi Arabia. See e.g. Abdulrahman I. Tarabzouni, Mohamed bin Salman is bringing Silicon valley-style disruption to Saudi Arabia, CNBC (Mar. 27. 2018), https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/03/27/mohammed-bin-salmans-reforms-disrupting-saudi-arabia-status-quo-ex-google-exec.html (neglecting to mention Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen and instead emphasizing the steps the Crown Prince is taking to reshape Saudi Arabia); Norah O'Donnell, Saudi Arabia's heir to the throne talks to 60 Minutes, CBS NEWS (Mar. 19, 2018), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/saudi-crown-prince-talks-to-60-minutes/ (correspondent Norah O'Donnell failed to press the Crown Prince on the country's human rights record and instead heralded Mohamed Bin Salman's reforms in Saudi Arabia, including actions to "emancipat[e] women, introduc[e] music and cinema, and crack down on corruption," as "revolutionary"); Dennis Ross, America should get behind Saudi Arabia's revolutionary crown prince, WASH. PO. (Feb. 12, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/02/12/america-should-get-behind-saudi-arabias-revolutionary-crown-prince/?utm_term=.d39f8dd6d861 (lauding Mohamed bin Salman's efforts to transform Saudi society as amounting to a revolution from above and that the Prince's three-week tour to the United States offers the United States an opportunity to ensure the Crown Prince's success); David Ignatius, The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is giving his country shock therapy, WASH. PO. (Feb. 27, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-crown-prince-of-saudi-arabia-is-giving-his-country-shock-therapy/2018/02/27/fd575e2e-1bf0-11e8-9de1-147dd2df3829_story.html?utm_term=.2403b690a610 (In his interview with Mohamed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, David Ignatius did not raise Saudi Arabia's role in perpetuating the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen but instead recounted the Prince's "ambitious plans to mobilize Yemeni tribes against the Houthis and their Iranian backers" in "a war that has dragged on longer than the Saudis hoped."); See also Tim Arango, Oprah, Rupert Murdoch, Harvard: Saudi Prince's U.S. Tour, N.Y. TIMES (Apr. 6. 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/06/world/middleeast/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-us.html (citing one attendee at the dinner at Rupert Murdoch's home who noted that human rights concerns were not raised); Peter Kiefer & Abid Rahman, Saudi Prince dines with Rupert Murdoch and Bob Iger as his entourage takes selfies with stars, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (Apr. 2, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/saudi-prince-dines-rupert-murdoch-bob-iger-as-his-entourage-takes-selfies-stars-1099134 (describing the dinner at Rupert Murdoch's home as "social" not "political"); Olivia Zaleski and Vivian Nereim, Press Release, Crown Prince meets with Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Satya Nadella, EMBASSY OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (Apr. 4, 2018), https://www.saudiembassy.net/news/crown-prince-meets-bill-gates-jeff-bezos-and-satya-nadella (confirming that the discussions with executives in the tech industry focused on areas of cooperation); Saudi Prince to push for technology deals in US tour, BLOOMBERG (Mar. 27, 2018), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-27/saudi-prince-is-said-to-push-for-technology-deals-on-u-s-tour (same); Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia embraces change - and the United States can help, WASH. POST (Mar. 19, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/03/19/saudi-arabia-embraces-change-and-the-united-states-can-help/?utm_term=.0369b2b88362 (this was a positive opinion piece by Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States on reforms in Saudi Arabia prior to the Crown Prince's visit); Contra Mehdi Hasan, The CBS Interview with Saudi Arabia's Mohamed bin Salman was a Crime against Journalism, INTERCEPT (Mar. 19, 2018), https://theintercept.com/2018/03/19/the-cbs-interview-with-saudi-arabias-mohammed-bin-salman-was-a-crime-against-journalism/ (slamming CBS' 60 minute interview with Saudi Arabia's Mohamed bin Salman as a "crime against journalism" for failure to ask any hard-hitting questions about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, including its "bombardment and siege of Yemen.").
2 U.N. Security Council, Final report of the Panel of Experts in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 2266, Chapter VIII, U.N. Doc. S/2017/81 (Jan. 31, 2017) (hereinafter UN Panel 2017 Report) (finding that some Saudi-led strikes "may amount to war crimes" and that all parties to the conflict, including Saudi Arabia, are implicated in "widespread violations of international law.").
3 United Nations Office at Geneva, Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Pledging Conference on Yemen (Apr. 3, 2018),
4 Bruce Riedel, Yemen's war shakes up the Saudi palace, BROOKINGS (Apr. 29, 2015), https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2015/04/29/yemens-war-shakes-up-the-saudi-palace/ ("Mohammed bin Salman, MBS, is the face of the Yemen war. He became defense minister in January and has been constantly on Saudi TV appearing to direct the war effort and meeting with foreign leaders to win support for the campaign against the pro-Iranian Zaydi Shia Houthi rebels."); Mark Mazzetti & Ben Hubbard, Rise of Saudi Prince Shatters Decades of Royal Tradition, N.Y. TIMES (Oct. 15, 2016), https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/world/rise-of-saudi-prince-shatters-decades-of-royal-tradition.html ("Although all agreed that the kingdom had to respond when the Houthis seized the Yemeni capital and forced the government into exile, Prince bin Salman took the lead, launching the war in March 2015 without full coordination across the security services."); Nicolò Donà dalle Rose, The Security Briefing: Yemen in 2018, GLOBAL RISK INSIGHTS (Jan. 7, 2018), https://globalriskinsights.com/2018/01/security-briefing-yemen-houthis-2018/ (The consolidation of power by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) - the architect behind the military operation - gives increased political weight to future Saudi decisions in Yemen."); Adam Baron & Peter Salisbury, Trump and the Yemen War, SANA'A CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES (Nov. 25, 2016), https://sanaacenter.org/publications/analysis/61 ("While the Kingdom's public stance has been somewhat conciliatory, in private conversation people involved in the Riyadh-backed war effort suggest that plans are in place for a major new assault aimed at pushing the Saleh-Houthi alliance into a peace deal on terms that reflect well on Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the principal architect of the war.").
5 See UN Panel 2017 Report; see also U.N. Human Rights Council, Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014, 28, U.N. doc. A/HRC/36/33 (Sept. 13, 2017) (documenting extensive violations by the Saudi-led coalition, including noting that Saudi-led coalition strikes were the leading cause of civilian casualties in the Yemen conflict since July 2016 ; U.N. Security Council and General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, U.N. Doc. A/72/361-S/2017/821 (Aug. 24, 2017) (reporting grave violations against children [by the Saudi-led coalition], including the "killing and maiming of children," with 683 child casualties attributed to the Saudi-led coalition, and putting the Saudi-led coalition on the United Nations list for parties to conflicts that commit violations against children); Mwatana: The Saudi-led Coalition Has Been Targeting Civilians in Yemen for Two Years, MWATANA ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (Mar. 24, 2017) (hereinafter MWATANA, Targeting Civilians), http://www.mwatana.org/en/2432017608 (documenting 132 strikes by the Saudi-led coalition between March 2015 and March 2017 that had led to 1630 civilian deaths and 1872 civilian injuries); MWATANA ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, BLIND AIR STRIKES: CIVILIAN VICTIMS OF SAUDI ARABIA-LED COALITION'S AIR STRIKES IN YEMEN (2015) (hereinafter MWATANA, Civilian Victims), http://mwatana.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Blind-Airstrikes-Report_En.pdf (documenting 44 strikes by the Saudi-led coalition resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties); HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, YEMEN: COALITION AIRSTRIKES DEADLY FOR CHILDREN (Sept. 12, 2017), https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/12/yemen-coalition-airstrikes-deadly-children (calling for Saudi Arabia to be added to the United Nations "list of shame" for violations against children in armed conflict); MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES, MSF internal investigation of the 15th August attack on Abs hospital Yemen: Summary of the findings, MSF (Sept. 27, 2016) http://www.msf.org/sites/msf.org/files/yemen_abs_investigation.pdf (finding that an airstrike on Abs hospital which left 19 civilians dead and reduced the functioning of hospital services was "illegitimate" and "unprovoked" attack by the Saudi-led coalition amounting to a violation of the laws of war); AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, BOMBS FALL FROM THE SKY DAY AND NIGHT: CIVILIANS UNDER FIRE IN NORTHERN YEMEN (2015) https://www.amnestyusa.org/files/bombs-fall-from-the-sky-day-and-night_civilians-under-fire-in-northern-yemen_final.pdf (documenting 13 deadly airstrikes in 2015 carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and finding that Saudi-led strikes in a three-month period killed 100 civilians, caused significant civilian harm, and may have amounted to war crimes); OXFAM, Yemen being pushed ever closer to famine: 1,000 days of war and a crippling blockade is starving its people, RELIEFWEB (Dec. 19, 2017), https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-being-pushed-ever-closer-famine-1000-days-war-and-crippling-blockade-starving-its (quoting Oxfam's Chief Executive Mark Goldring who described the Saudi-led coalition's imposition of a blockade on Yemen's key ports as a tactic that is "devoid of any sense of decency, any sense of morality, and any sense of humanity."); Joint Statement from Agency Heads: WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and WFP Executive Director David Beasley, UN Leaders Appeal for Immediate Lifting of Humanitarian Blockade in Yemen - Millions of Lives at Imminent Risk (Nov. 16, 2017) https://www.unicef.org/media/media_101496.html (claiming that, despite the Saudi-led coalition's partial lifting of the blockade on Yemen, continued restrictions on Yemen's air, sea, and land ports to permit the entry of lifesaving supplies would still push 32 million people to hunger and the deprival of basic means of survival is "an unconscionable act and a violation of humanitarian principles and the law."); Ahmed Al-Haj, Saudi-led airstrike kills 14 in Yemen, WASH. PO. (Apr. 2, 2018),
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/group-criticizes-yemen-rebel-missile-attacks-on-saudi-arabia/2018/04/02/7fe55bca-364f-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html?utm_term=.47849e918dd4; Saeed Al-Batati & Rick Gladstone, Saudi Bombing Is Said to Kill Yemeni Civilians Seeking Relief From the Heat, N.Y. TIMES, (Apr. 2, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/world/middleeast/saudi-yemen-bombings.html; U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Lift blockade of Yemen to stop "catastrophe" of millions facing starvation, says UN expert, (Apr. 12, 2017),
http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21496&LangID=E (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions describes Saudi Arabia's aerial and naval blockade on Yemen's ports, "as one of the main causes of the humanitarian catastrophe"); Yemen coalition blockade imperils civilians: UN should sanction senior Saudi leaders, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Dec. 7. 2017), https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/12/07/yemen-coalition-blockade-imperils-civilians ("The Saudi-led coalition's military strategy in Yemen has been increasingly built around preventing desperately needed aid and essential goods from reaching civilians, risking millions of lives."); Yemen: All sides fuel humanitarian crisis, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Jan. 18, 2018), https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/18/yemen-all-sides-fuel-humanitarian-crisis (asserting that Saudi-led "violations, as well as the coalition's disregard for the reported suffering of the civilian population, suggest that the coalition may be violating the prohibition against using starvation as a method of warfare, which is a war crime."); U.N. Security Council, Final report of the Panel of Experts in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 2266, Chapter VIII, 190, U.N. Doc. S/2018/68 (Jan. 26, 2018) (referring to Saudi Arabia's restrictions on humanitarian and commercial goods as a tactic that "essentially us[es] the threat of starvation as a bargaining tool and an instrument of war."); MWATANA ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL HUMAN RIGHTS CLINIC, SUBMISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OF SAUDI ARABIA (March 2018) (summarizing international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to Saudi Arabia's involvement in the war in Yemen, in particular Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and their impact on civilians, as well as the impact of restrictions on humanitarian access and the consequences on the economic, social, and cultural rights of Yemenis).
6 U.N. Security Council and General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, U.N. Doc. A/72/361-S/2017/821 (Aug. 24, 2017).
7 U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid condemns repeated killing of civilians in Yemen airstrikes (Mar. 18, 2016), http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=17251 ( "It would appear to be the case that the distinction between legitimate military targets and civilian ones -- which are protected under international law -- is at best woefully inadequate," Zeid said. "And at worst, we are possibly looking at the commission of international crimes by members of the Coalition.").
8 U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Yemen: An "entirely man-made catastrophe" - UN human rights report urges international investigation (Sept. 5, 2017), http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22025&LangID=E ("I appeal to all the parties to the conflict, those supporting them and those with influence over them to have mercy on the people of Yemen, and to take immediate measures to ensure humanitarian relief for civilians and justice for the victims of violations.").
9 See UN agrees to send war crimes investigators to Yemen in compromise deal, MIDDLE EAST EYE (Apr. 20, 2018), http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/un-agrees-send-war-crimes-investigators-yemen-compromise-deal-1423943179 ("Saudi Arabia had warned countries earlier this week that support for [a United Nations] resolution [setting up an independent international inquiry into Yemen] could "negatively affect" trade and diplomatic ties with the oil-rich kingdom."); See also Ahmed Baider & Lizzie Porter, How the Saudis are making it almost impossible to report on their war in Yemen, NEW STATESMAN (Aug. 22, 2017), https://www.newstatesman.com/world/middle-east/2017/08/how-saudis-are-making-it-almost-impossible-report-their-war-yemen ("It is very hard to get into Yemen. The risks for the few foreign journalists who gain access are significant. And the Saudi-led coalition waging war in the country is doing its best to make it difficult, if not impossible, to report from the area."); Michelle Nichols, U.N. says world needs to know about Yemen, journalists need access, REUTERS (Jul. 19, 2017), https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-flight-un/u-n-says-world-needs-to-know-about-yemen-journalists-need-access-idUSKBN1A426N ("The United Nations on Wednesday demanded media access to report on the "man-made catastrophe" in Yemen after a Saudi Arabia-led coalition blocked three foreign journalists from traveling on a U.N. aid flight to the Houthi rebel-controlled capital Sanaa. 'Steps like this do not help,' U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York. 'This has been a large man-made humanitarian problem, the world needs to know and journalists need to have access.'"); Samuel Oakford, As the Saudis Covered Up Abuses in Yemen, America Stood By, POLITICO (Jul. 30, 2016), https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/07/saudi-arabia-yemen-russia-syria-foreign-policy-united-nations-blackmail-214124 ("[former UN Secretary-General] Ban [ki-Moon] openly admitted that it was only after Riyadh threatened to cut off funding to the U.N. that he bowed to its demand to remove the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where it has launched a harsh military intervention, from a list of violators of children's rights contained in the annex of his annual Children and Armed Conflict report. 'The report describes horrors no child should have to face,' Ban told reporters. 'At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs.'… With the help of the U.S. military, Riyadh was able to impose a blockade, by air and sea, and commence attacks on their southern neighbor… Another early casualty of the blockade was the access often afforded by the U.N. to foreign journalists and human rights officials working for nonprofit groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.").
10 U.N. Security Council, Final report of the Panel of Experts in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 2266, Chapter VIII, U.N. Doc. S/2018/68 (Jan. 26, 2018) (in relation to ten strikes the U.N. Panel investigated, it "could not find any evidence of the presence of high-value targets that would justify the collateral damage at these target sites."); UN Panel 2017 Report, 127; MWATANA, Targeting Civilians; MWATANA, Civilian Victims.
11 UN Panel 2017 Report, 127 (documenting ten separate strikes in 2016 and finding that the Saudi-led coalition did not meet IHL requirements of proportionality and precautions in attack," and that "some of the attacks may amount to war crimes").
12 See Human Rights Council, Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014, U.N. doc. A/HRC/36/33 (Sept. 13, 2017) ("The imposition by the parties to the conflict of sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement had a severe impact on the availability of goods and services and their accessibility by the civilian population… Many people could not purchase medicine or food, even where they were available. Those circumstances accelerated the spread of cholera and other diseases and increased the risk of famine.")
13 Id; see also SANA'A CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES, A YEAR OF HUNGER AND BLOOD: YEMEN AT THE UN / SPECIAL ISSUE - 2017 IN REVIEW 22 (Jan. 22, 2018), http://sanaacenter.org/publications/yemen-at-the-un/5256 (noting that the Saudi-led coalition's blockade of Yemen has "devastated the economy, caus[ed] mass loss of public services and livelihood [...] undermined the ability of the population to afford basic commodities, and prevented Yemenis from seeking medical care outside the country."); Yemen airport closure killed more people than airstrikes, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL (Aug. 9, 2017), https://www.nrc.no/news/2017/august/yemen-airport-closure-killed-more-people-than-airstrikes/ (reporting that more Yemenis have died from health conditions after being unable to travel for specialized medical care year after the Saudi-led coalition's closure of Sana'a airport).
14 Tim Arango, Oprah, Rupert Murdoch, Harvard: Saudi Prince's U.S. Tour, N.Y. TIMES (Apr. 6. 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/06/world/middleeast/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-us.html (stating that "the Crown Prince is aware that Saudi Arabia has had a difficult image in the United States, because it's been such a conservative country for so many decades. He wants to transform Saudi society in ways that will be very appealing to Americans.").
15 Zack Beauchamp, America is fawning over Saudi Arabia's repressive dictator, VOX (Apr. 6, 2018) https://www.vox.com/2018/4/6/17202562/mohammed-bin-salman-america-visit (quoting Dwayne 'the Rock,' Johnson who wrote in his Instagram post that it was "a pleasure to have a private dinner with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman... Fascinating experience to hear his deep rooted, yet modern views on the world and certainly the positive growth he desires for his country." He had earlier posted, and subsequently deleted, a post stating "On a personal note, I was extremely flattered and truthfully, blown away to be told about the level of love the Saudi people have for me and my popularity throughout the country. Very humbling and cool and I look forward to my first visit soon to Saudi Arabia.").
16 Regan Morris, Saudi 'Prince Charming' Mohammed bin Salman comes to Hollywood, BBC (Apr. 5, 2018), http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43663447 (citing Rick Licht, who stated: "our hosts [Saudi Arabia] today have been absolutely spectacular and I hope we're going to be able to do this for many years to come over there.").
17 Isobel Thompson, Prince Mohamed does Hollywood, VANITY FAIR (Apr. 6. 2018), https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/04/prince-mohammed-does-hollywood (writing about the dinner at Brian Grazer's home and attended by Jeff Bezos, Kobe Bryant, and Ron Howard, "Topics that were deemed off-limits included the 32-year-old's bombing campaign in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians; his abduction of Lebanon's prime minister, Saad Hariri, in November; and the decidedly un-Hollywood-like repression of independent media and journalists, one of whom was recently imprisoned for five years for "insulting" the royal court."); Emily Smith, Saudi Prince attends star-studded feast in Hollywood, PAGE SIX, (Apr. 5, 2018) https://pagesix.com/2018/04/05/saudi-prince-attends-star-studded-feast-in-hollywood/ (writing about the dinner at Brian Grazer's home and noting that "there was no discussion about Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign in Yemen.").
18Garcetti Meets with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince, LOS FELIZ LEDGER (Apr. 3, 2018), http://www.losfelizledger.com/2018/04/garcetti-meets-with-saudi-arabia-crown-prince/ (reporting that Mayor Garcetti had a 'constructive meeting' with the Saudi Crown Prince, and that Garcetti urged Mohamed bin Salman to continue efforts to "advance women's rights" and that Garcetti "raised concerns about the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Yemen.").
19 Kareem Fahim & Missy Ryan, U.S. is resisting calls to end its support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's war, WASH. PO. (Mar. 20, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/yemen-is-a-humanitarian-nightmare-but-the-us-is-resisting-calls-to-end-its-role-in-the-war/2018/03/19/5c8c3bd2-294b-11e8-bc72-077aa4dab9ef_story.html?utm_term=.7652ccb2d791 ("The United States refuels coalition warplanes, shares intelligence with the Saudis and provides them with munitions used in the air war. The Trump administration has weighed in with diplomatic assistance, too, bolstering the Saudi case for the war by publicly detailing what American officials allege is Iran's growing military role on the side of the Houthis.").
20 Kristine Beckerle, U.S. Officials Risk Complicity in War Crimes in Yemen, JUST SECURITY (May 4, 2017), https://www.justsecurity.org/40518/officials-risk-complicity-war-crimes-yemen/ ("The Saudi-led coalition has committed scores of unlawful attacks, many amounting to war crimes. Continued arms sales not only send a clear message to the coalition that it can kill civilians with impunity, but they increasingly put U.S. officials at legal risk for aiding those crimes."); Ryan Goodman, U.S. Arms Sale to Saudis Spells Legal Trouble for State Department Officials, JUST SECURITY (Mar. 15, 2017), https://www.justsecurity.org/38836/arms-sale-saudis-spell-legal-trouble-state-depart-officials/ ("In December, the Obama administration suspended a large weapon sale to Saudi Arabia due to concerns about widespread civilian casualties from Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. The Trump administration is now looking to reverse that decision. If the White House approves the sale and overcomes expected congressional opposition, it could leave bureaucrats in the State Department holding the bag-under pressure to approve sales that put them personally at legal risk."); Ryan Goodman & Samuel Oakford, Did U.S. Provide Helicopter Used in Attack of Somali Refugees in Yemen, JUST SECURITY (Mar. 24, 2017), https://www.justsecurity.org/39210/united-states-implicated-helicopter-somali-refugees-yemen/ ("'The Saudis have used weapons we have sold them in Yemen in ways that undermine our foreign policy objective of ending the war and easing humanitarian suffering there,' Tom Malinowski, who served as the top human rights official at the State Department until January 2017 told Just Security. 'There is a strong policy argument for suspending some sales, as President Obama did, until concerns about these kinds of incidents are resolved, and a possibility of legal
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