From the Ekklesia site in Britain:
By agency reporter
18 Nov 2013
Despite mounting concerns about human rights abuses, David Cameron continues to promote UK weapons sales in the Gulf States, visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to lobby for a £6 billion pound deal for BAE Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets. This follows a £2.5 billion deal with Oman and further potential sales with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, priority markets for UK weaponry despite their authoritarian regimes and poor human rights records.
The UAE visit (for which a schedule has not been made available) is part of Mr Cameron’s trip to India and Sri Lanka and will coincide with the Dubai Air Show an international exhibition of military and civil aircraft. The RAF Red Arrows team, used as a marketing opportunity for the Eurofighter, are in Dubai as part of their five-week Middle East tour, covering Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
CAAT spokesperson Kaye Stearman said: “Once again David Cameron acts as cheerleader for private sector arms companies, most particularly BAE Systems. When the UK sells these deadly weapons, whether they be fighter jets or assault rifles, they are conferring legitimacy on illegitimate and undemocratic regimes. In effect, they are saying that these regimes can abuse human rights with impunity and that the arms deals buys UK tolerance of their abuses.”
Meanwhile in London, there have been a series of government meetings and events to cement the UK’s already close relationship with Bahrain‘s abusive government, and lay the ground for further arms sales, including a Eurofighter deal.
On 11 November, the Bahrain Society held a dinner at Claridges, hosted by Prince Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a Royal Guard commander who has been accused of personal involvement in torture. The dinner was attended by representatives of the military and diplomatic corps and UK Trade and Investment and senior political figures.
On Tuesday 12 November, there was a meeting of the UK-Bahrain joint working group, including a discussions between Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robinson and Bahrain Foreign Minister Prince Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.
On Wednesday 13 November, an International Fighter conference took place, with a representative from the Bahrain Air Force.
CAAT Campaigner Sarah Waldron said: “The crackdown in Bahrain has intensified, yet the UK does not speak out against the abuses that are daily committed by government forces. Rather, it woos the ruling family with diplomatic meetings, military co-operation, conference invitations and celebration dinners. In the three months April-June the UK licensed £9 milliuon worth of weaponry to Bahrain but the big prize is selling the Eurofighters. This is a disgraceful situation.”
Bahrain opposition leadership ‘systematically targeted’: here.
- British Typhoon warplanes to Bahraini dictatorship (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Cameron to visit Gulf seeking Eurofighter deal (worldbulletin.net)
- BAE Systems slips ahead of possible news on UAE Eurofighter order (theguardian.com)
- David Cameron, Philippines disaster and Bahrain dictatorship (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Cameron ‘hopeful’ on $10B jet deal (edition.cnn.com)