The Biden administration is pressing Saudi Arabia to identify which elements of its security forces are alleged to have slaughtered migrants along the kingdom’s border with Yemen, a step that would mark an advance toward determining responsibility for the reported abuses and help the United States establish if it has provided weapons or training to those units.
Riyadh has categorically denied the allegations in last week’s explosive report from Human Rights Watch, which described widespread killing, maiming and abuse of Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers by Saudi government forces positioned along the border.
The United States has voiced public concern about the reports of violence against civilians, which circulated among diplomats and U.N. officials for more than a year before being thrust into wider public view, and called for a Saudi investigation.
U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic conversations, say they are also pushing the Saudis to identify the units who, according to eyewitnesses and victims, used mortars, small-arms fire and close-range executions to kill hundreds or possibly thousands of people, many of them women and children.
Human Rights Watch, which analyzed video and satellite imagery and interviewed survivors for its report, said the abuses could amount to crimes against humanity if they occurred as part of a government policy. [Continue reading…]