Yemenis are starving in an aggressive war that shows no signs of resolve, but the UK continues to whitewash its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
First published in The New Arab on 26 January 2017:
The UK has a special relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, enjoying good trade ties; and Saudi Arabia is of course a key arms customer for the UK. There is no notable instance of the UK Government ever criticising Saudi Arabia and there is no chance of it starting now.
The UK has already made itself complicit in a series of alleged war crimes by actively refusing to suspend weapon sales, or use diplomatic leverage.
Andrew Mitchell, conservative MP and former International Development Secretary recently spoke out about the UK’s role in Yemen’s crisis. In his own words he said of Yemen’s malnourished population:
“They are not starving. 27 million people. They are being starved.
As a result of the blockade, by air, sea and land of this country, and we are in danger of being complicit in the destruction of a sovereign state and the starvation of very large numbers of people”.
The UK is not only providing arms to Saudi Arabia, including cluster munitions that may have been used indiscriminately on Shia villages, but it is also helping to train the Saudi forces, while using its means to veil the abuses committed by its Gulf friends.
And despite calls for an independent panel to investigate whether UK arms are being used in those abuses, the government has instead decided to whitewash its reports.