Saudi war on Yemen and Margaret Thatcher

This video from Britain says about itself:

Yemen: British arms sales to Saudi Arabia under scrutiny

23 August 2016

Oxfam has hit out at the British government’s position on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, as accusations continue that civilians have been deliberately targeted as Yemen’s conflict continues.

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, will be in Riyadh for talks about – amongst other things – Yemen, where the war has intensified this month. But is he, as Oxfam says, in denial and disarray over weapons sales to Saudi Arabia?

By Ben Chacko in Britain:

Thatcher aided killer jets sale

Wednesday 24th August 2016

Newly released files expose secret role in securing arms deal with Saudi despot

MARGARET THATCHER personally schmoozed Saudi Arabian despot King Fahd to sell him the very Tornado jets now bombing Yemen into the Stone Age, newly declassified documents reveal.

Thatcher lunched with the tyrant to secure the now notorious al-Yamamah deal, which has been mired in scandal ever since.

Two high-profile investigations into the £43 billion contract, allegedly obtained through bribes from a secret BAE Systems “slush fund,” have been quashed by the British government for fear of offending the Saudis.

Anti-arms trade campaigners opposed the sale in the first place because of the desert kingdom’s dire human rights record, and it was not long before accusations surfaced that the aerospace and arms giant had offered sweeteners to Saudi royals to clinch the deal.

A 1992 National Audit Office report into the matter was suppressed and a Serious Fraud Office investigation was cancelled in 2006 after personal intervention by Tony Blair, who said Britain’s “strategic interest” lay in not offending the fundamentalist state, whose extremist Wahabi ideology is the inspiration for the al-Qaida and Isis terror franchises.

Thatcher met King Fahd in April 1985 after a Foreign Office briefing document advised: “Tackling the king in person is probably the only way of smoking the Saudis out.”

A day after the meeting, the former prime minister wrote to the Gulf monarch: “I was glad that we were able to discuss a further matter privately over lunch.”

The agreement in principle for Britain to supply Tornado, Hawk and PC9 aircraft to the Saudis was signed in the autumn.

Stop the War convener Lindsey German condemned the [content of the] revelations: “There are many reasons to dislike Margaret Thatcher and her legacy, but the use of British warplanes to destroy the lives of many Yemenis must come pretty close to top of the list. These planes are now being used against the Yemeni people, who have suffered 17 months of bombardment from the Saudis.”

The revelation comes as Oxfam accuses the government of “fuelling a brutal war in Yemen” through ongoing arms sales and logistical support for the bloody Saudi assault on its neighbour.

The Saudi air force has blitzed “schools, hospitals and homes” in Yemen in recent months with British help, the charity says.

British-made cluster bombs dropped by the Saudis were found in Yemen by an Amnesty team in June, despite Britain being a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions which prevents both their use and their transfer to third parties.

Cluster bombs spread small bomblets over a wide area, meaning they tend to maximise civilian casualties from bombing raids.

Britain was now “one of the most significant violators” of the Arms Trade Treaty, having “misled its own Parliament about its oversight of arms sales,” Oxfam GB deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence said.

The government backtracked in July on previous assurances that it was “confident” that Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen did not violate international humanitarian law, admitting it had not taken any steps to verify that assessment.

Over 6,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict

Grizzled Tory warmonger Colonel Bob Stewart told Radio 4 that the Saudis “had made some mistakes” but were “extremely conscious that they shouldn’t breach such treaties.”

But Oxfam director of policy and campaigns Sally Copley hit back: “If the Saudis really are extremely aware and concerned I think they need to stop.”

Labour shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor MP said: “The government needs to start taking responsibility for the consequence of selling arms to Saudi Arabia, it cannot allow the flagrant abuses of humanitarian law in Yemen to continue. [Prime Minister] Theresa May needs to stop shirking her responsibilities under international law and start putting human rights before profit.”

We need an honest assessment of Saudi Arabia’s use of UK arms in Yemen: here.

Saudi religious police cover UK flag on school uniforms because it’s ‘Christian’: here.

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