Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen with British weapons


This video from the USA says about itself:

Extraordinary Brutality Inflicted on Civilians in Yemen

30 August 2015

As Saudi ground troops enter Northern Yemen with US backing, Amnesty International charges Saudis with alleged war crimes.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Is the Government providing cover for our arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

The Saudi intervention in Yemen’s civil war must prompt us to ask ourselves searching questions about our arms industry

Diane Abbott

The news from the UN last week that Saudi Arabia has been indiscriminately targeting Yemeni civilians and that 60 per cent of the population (14.4 million people) are going hungry, marks only the latest milestone to be roundly ignored by the British government since Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March last year.

As these grim milestones are passed, British-made bombs rain down from British-made planes on a terrified and starving population.

In testimony bordering on the absurd, Desmond Swayne, minister for the Department of International Development, pointedly rejected the position of Save the Children, UNICEF, Oxfam and Saferworld: that British arms sales to Saudi Arabia – £3 billion in the first six months of the war alone –undermine the UK’s development efforts in Yemen.

“There is no evidence that I have that that is the case,” he said. “I reject it.”

Mr Swayne’s faith that Britain’s £100m of aid projects in Yemen can withstand several billion pounds of its own ordnance is to be applauded.

Mr Swayne is not the only minister scrambling to defend the indefensible. Last month, Secretary of State for the Foreign Office Philip Hammond, responded to a question by his Labour counterpart Hilary Benn on whether British troops on the ground monitoring the bombing campaign had reported “potential breaches of international humanitarian law”. Mr Hammond said that the troops had not reported any “deliberate” war crimes, implying reports of accidental war crimes had been passed to him.

Mr Hammond is clearly unaware of the fact that Saudi Arabia’s lack of intent to bomb civilian populations does not get him around our own arms export laws, which state that we cannot sell arms to states who pose a “clear risk” of breaking international humanitarian law. Even worse, in an answer to my parliamentary question, Mr Hammond’s deputy Mr Tobias Ellwood demonstrated he believes that that Saudi Arabia is not at risk of breaking international humanitarian law.

Perhaps he has not read the UN’s report, which said Saudi Arabia’s coalition had done just that – 119 times.

The Saudi intervention in Yemen’s civil war must prompt us to ask ourselves searching questions about our arms industry.

Namely, should the government be promoting, subsidising and providing political cover for the arms industry?

Through the UK Trade and Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UTI-DSO), part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, we pay 160 civil servants to promote British arms across the world. Since 2012, companies have also received assistance from the MoD’s Defence Export Support Group. Last November’s Strategic Defence and Security Review promised extra support for arms exports. The promotion of arms is also on the agenda of much of the diplomatic outreach work undertaken by the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.

In 2011, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found that £699m was spent on UK arms subsidies in 2011, through both the DSO and grants to university departments that train weapons engineers. When Labour councils last year backed policies to boycott UK arms sales to Israel, the conservative government proposed laws banning such divestment. …

Transparency International has calculated that 40 per cent [of] global corruption occurred in the arms trade. Despite David Cameron’s pledge to “break the taboo on talking about corruption”, when British alleged corruption is investigated, the government steps in, quashing investigations to save blushes in both London and Riyadh.

We must also acknowledge that Britain sells arms to several other dubious regimes including Bahrain, Egypt, Sri Lanka … In doing so, we must tighten up our arms export licences and end-user certificates.

The government routinely claims that Britain has “one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world” but this has been shown to be manifestly untrue. If the UN, rights groups and the international media are reporting of Saudi Arabian war crimes in Yemen, why has the UK denied only eight out of well over 100 Saudi requests for UK arms? The answer is sadly clear for all: we are making a killing.

TORIES came under renewed pressure to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia yesterday amid claims British-made weapons have been used in air strikes killing thousands of civilians in Yemen. The cross-party Commons international development committee said there was “overwhelming” evidence that the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels had violated international law using equipment supplied by Britain: here.

Canada-manufactured arms used by Saudi forces to kill Shia dissident: here.

27 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen with British weapons

  1. Great article. It’s important that people are aware of the backing Saudi Arabia, a country with an extremely poor human rights record, is getting from the western world, specifically the US and the UK. Let’s also not forget that Saudi Arabia sits on the UN security council. Please have a look at my blog: https://rightsandfreedomsblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/saudi-arabia-the-country-that-executed-47-people-in-one-day-sits-on-the-u-n-human-rights-council/

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  4. Persbericht Stop Wapenhandel- Oproep vredesgroepen aan EU: stel
    wapenboycot in tegen Saoedi-Arabië

    Amsterdam 4 februari 2016 – In het kader van de informele EU ministerraad van aanstaande vrijdag en zaterdag in Amsterdam roept Stop Wapenhandel, samen met andere organisaties van het European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT), de Europese Unie op tot het instellen van
    een wapenembargo tegen alle strijdende partijen in het conflict in Jemen, met name Saoedi-Arabië.

    Volgens de jaarlijkse EEAS rapportage wapenexport behoren de EU-lidstaten tot de belangrijkste leveranciers van wapens aan Saoedi-Arabië. Volgens het Stockholm International Peace Research
    Institute (SIPRI) kwam in de periode 2009-2014 59 procent van Saoedische wapenimporten uit Europa. Tussen 2009 en 2013 verstrekte de Europese landen licenties voor de export van strategische goederen met een totale waarde van € 19 miljard.

    Uit onderzoek van Stop Wapenhandel (rapport Dutch arms trade with coalition forces in the Yemen war1 ) van november 2015 blijkt dat ook Nederland – zij het in bescheiden mate – aan Saoedi Arabië levert.

    Ondanks voortdurende berichten over schendingen van het Internationaal Humanitair Recht door de Saoedische coalitie blijven Europese landen tot op de dag van vandaag vergunningen verstrekken voor grote hoeveelheden wapens. Dit is in strijd met het gemeenschappelijk standpunt van de EU
    betreffende de uitvoer van strategische goederen, waarin duidelijk staat dat lidstaten een wapenexportvergunning zullen weigeren als er een groot risico bestaat dat de goederen gebruikt zullen worden in strijd met het internationaal recht en/of mensenrechten.

    De organisaties van het European Network Against Arms Trade doen een publiek beroep op de in Amsterdam verzamelde ministers van Buitenlandse Zaken om

    * onmiddellijk alle wapenleveranties en andere militaire steun van EU-lidstaten aan Saoedi-Arabië en zijn bondgenoten op te schorten;
    * op zo kort mogelijke termijn een EU-wapenembargo (met inbegrip van militaire training) tegen Saoedi-Arabië in te stellen stelt; en
    * het gemeenschappelijk standpunt van de EU strikt te interpreteren en nationale parlementen toezien op de uitvoering daarvan.

    Meer informatie Wendela de Vries 06 506 522 06

    Deze oproep wordt onderschreven door

    Kampagne gegen Rüstungsexport bei Ohne Rüstung Leben (Germany) –
    http://www.ohne-ruestung-leben.de [1]
    Campaign Against Arms Trade (UK) – http://www.caat.org.uk [2]
    Centre Delàs for Peace Studies (Spain) – http://www.centredelas.org [3]
    Group Switzerland Without an Army – GSoA (Switzerland) –
    http://www.gsoa.ch [4]
    Human Rights Institute – (Slowakia) – http://www.facebook.com/ludskeprava
    [5]
    L’Observatoire des armements (France) – http://www.obsarm.org [6]
    Peace Union of Finland – http://www.rauhanliitto.fi/frontpage [7]
    Rete Italiana per il Disarmo (Italy) – http://www.disarmo.org [8]
    Stop Wapenhandel (The Netherlands) – http://www.stopwapenhandel.org [9]
    Vredesactie (Belgium) – http://www.vredesactie.be [10]

    1http://www.stopwapenhandel.org/sites/stopwapenhandel.org/files/Report%20Dutch%20arms%20trade%20with%20coalition%20Yemen%20war_23-11.pdf
    [11]

    Links:
    ——
    [1] http://www.ohne-ruestung-leben.de/
    [2] http://www.caat.org.uk/
    [3] http://www.centredelas.org/
    [4] http://www.gsoa.ch/
    [5] http://www.facebook.com/ludskeprava
    [6] http://www.obsarm.org/
    [7] http://www.rauhanliitto.fi/frontpage
    [8] http://www.disarmo.org/
    [9] http://www.stopwapenhandel.org/
    [10] http://www.vredesactie.be/
    [11]

    Click to access Report%20Dutch%20arms%20trade%20with%20coalition%20Yemen%20war_23-11.pdf

    Like

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