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Scott Ritter Rips Apart Legal Pretense for U.S.-U.K. Bombing of Yemen

Scott Ritter, in his RT op-ed, “How the U.S. Misleads the World about Its Involvement in Yemen,” systematically takes apart the façade of legality in the recent U.S.-U.K. military strikes on Yemen. First, he cites the U.S. delegate to the UN telling the UN Security Council that the Jan. 12 strikes were “consistent with international law.” Ritter is direct: International law on such strikes either goes through the UN Charter’s Article 51 on legitimate self-defense or via a Security Council Chapter VII resolution. He notes the irony, that since neither standard was met, the U.S. delegate was trying to tell the UNSC that an unlawful act was “consistent” with UN-defined lawful acts.

Next, he cites British Foreign Minister David Cameron’s invocation of the UN Security Council in his justification of the U.K.’s involvement in the attacks on Yemen, claiming that the Council had “made clear” in the Jan. 10 resolution that the “Houthi must halt attacks in the Red Sea.” However, since the U.S. and U.K. had (apparently intentionally) avoided Chapter VII in pushing through their informal resolution, there was no law behind their resolution or their military attack.

Then, he addressed President Joe Biden’s feeble attempt to appeal to self-defense: “I ordered this military action, in accordance with my responsibility to protect Americans at home and abroad.” But, Ritter explains, the Houthis had not attacked Americans, neither at home nor abroad: “To the extent that U.S. forces had previously engaged weapons fired by the Houthis, they had done so to shield non-American assets—either the State of Israel or international shipping—from Houthi attack. Under no circumstances could the U.S. argue that it had been attacked by the Houthis.”

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