Ahmad Asiri (military)
|Birth name||Ahmad Hassan Mohammad Asiri|
Mahayel Asir, Asir province, Saudi Arabia
|Service/||Royal Saudi Air Defense|
Major General Ahmad Hassan Mohammad Asiri (Arabic: أحمد حسن محمد عسيري; born 1950s) is an adviser to the Defense minister's office in Saudi Arabia and, the deputy head of the Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah and the former spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. He served as spokesman from the beginning of the Saudi intervention until 27 July 2017, when he was replaced by Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Malki.
Role in attack on Yemen
On May 8, 2015, the Saudi-led coalition declared the entire Houthi stronghold cities of Saada and Marran to be military targets. Al-Assiri issued what became known as the May Declaration, telling the media: "Starting today and as you all remember we have declared through media platforms and through the leaflets that were dropped on [Marran and Saada], and prior warnings to Yemeni civilians in those two cities, to get away from those cities where operations will take place. This warning will end at 7 p.m. today and coalitions forces will immediately respond to the actions of these militias that targeted the security and safety of the Saudi citizens from now and until the objectives of this operation are reached. We have also declared Saada and Marran as military targets loyal to the Houthi militias and as a result the operations will cover the whole area of those two cities and thus we repeat our call to the civilians to stay away from these groups, and leave the areas under Houthi control or where the Houthis are taking shelter."
The May declaration was criticised by Human Rights Watch who said: "Several attacks on apparently civilian objects that Human Rights Watch investigated in Saada, including an attack that struck a residential house, two attacks that struck markets, and an attack on a school, took place after the May 8 announcement. Issuing warning of impending attacks to the civilian population is in line with the obligation under the laws of war to take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm, and in particular to provide “effective advance warning” of attacks that may affect the civilian population, so long as circumstances permit. However, the general and vague nature of these warnings would be of little help to civilians in need of greater security. Even more problematic, and a clear violation of the laws of war, is the coalition assertion that the entire cities of Saada and Marran are military targets. The laws of war prohibit attacks that treat as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects.
In February 2016, he said: ""Now our rules of engagement are: you are close to the border, you are killed." This statement was criticised by Human Rights Watch who replied: "Treating an entire area as the object of military attack violates the laws-of-war prohibition on attacks that treat distinct military objectives in a city, town or area as a single military objective. Doing so unlawfully denies civilians protection from attack.
- "Gen. Asiri named deputy head of General Intelligence; Ibrahim Al-Omar is new SAGIA chairman". Saudi Gazette. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- "Col. Turki Al-Malki named spokesman for coalition forces in Yemen". Arab News. 28 July 2017.
- "Coalition Forces in Yemen Appoint Colonel Turki Al-Maliki as Their Official Spokesman". Saudi Press Agency. 28 July 2017.
- "Targeting Saada". Human Rights Watch.
- "Saudi Arabia says 375 civilians killed on its border in Yemen war". Reuters. 2 February 2016.
- "Yemen: Embargo Arms to Saudi Arabia". Human Rights Watch. 21 March 2016.
- Watch a UK peace activist attempt to arrest a Saudi general for war crimes
- Saudi general gives crowd the middle finger after dodging citizen's egg