Netherlands freezes arms export to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt over the war on Yemen
After nearly four years of the Saudi-led coalition military campaign against Yemen that has not achieved any of its main objectives, caused thousands of Yemenis to be killed and injured, destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure and resulted in the impoverished state to be considered to have the worst humanitarian condition in the world since 100 years, Netherlands decided to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.
The restrictive conditions for the export of weapons were first applied to Saudi Arabia, then it expanded to include the UAE and Egypt, Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Minister Sigrid Kaag said.
“There will be no arms exports from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE unless it is proven that they will not be used in the Yemen war.”
Netherland was not the first country to take such action, where Finland and Denmark have stopped exports of military arms to Saudi Arabia after the recognization of one of the kingdom’s obvious crimes, which was the killing of the Saudi columnist working for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, which led the world to notice one of the bloodiest military campaigns launched by the same criminal who killed Khashoggi, against the poorest Arab state, Yemen.
In the same month, the EU parliament stressed that the EU’s arms sales to the Saudi regime have escalated the war in Yemen.calling for sanctions on the countries that refuse to respect the EU’s rules on weapons sales.
Not all countries acted the same though, where counties such as France, Spain and the UK made it clear that they will continue business with Saudi Arabia. Germany has halted its arms export to Saudi Arabia but recently suspended it until Khashoggi’s case is fully proven with details and proof.
According to figures compiled by the Middle East Eye, European countries have since 2015 approved arms sales worth over 86.7 billion to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The conflict has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
Earlier this week, the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a joint statement that 14 million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen if the parties to the conflict do not change course immediately.