Britain to Resume Arms Export to Saudi Arabia Despite Its Bloody War on Yemen (Report)



With the escalation of the Saudi crimes against Yemen and its people, Britain announced last Tuesday that it intends to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia, after it froze them last year, based on a decision issued by a British court against the background of the criminal military campaign launched against the Yemenis, which constitutes the Saudi Kingdom as the spearhead in it. The sale of British weapons to Saudi Arabia was stopped in June 2019, after a court order from the Court of Appeal as a result of their violations against international humanitarian law and the use of UK-made weapons in the war on Yemen.

The British Withdraw

The British government insists that Saudi Arabia possesses real intention and ability to comply with international humanitarian law, according to the Secretary of State for International Trade “Liz Truss”, which allowed a review of the export licenses. There are two important points that can be comprehended from Terrace statement, the first is that Saudi Arabia, with Western recognition, does not follow international laws, and the other point, does the West (Europeans) test out the Saudi intentions at the expense of the children’s’ blood in Yemen? The Saudi-led war against Yemen has already caused tens of thousands of deaths and resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations.

Truss stated that it conducted an assessment that concluded that there is no clear threat that weapons and military equipment exported to Saudi Arabia may be used in committing serious violations on international humanitarian law, according to a statement addressed to Parliament.

The UK’s international trade secretary indicated that the government will start the process of completing the accumulation of applications for export licenses to Saudi Arabia and its partners within its coalition, starting from June 20, 2019, indicating that the completion of this process may take months.

Truss said that the government developed what it called a “revised methodology” to assess allegations of violations attributed to the Saudi forces, claiming that the past incidents were “isolated”, and indicated that the requests would be carefully evaluated according to the unified standards for issuing arms export licenses at the European Union and national levels, stressing that no license will be granted if it violates these criteria.

It is worth noting that this announcement came the day after Britain imposed sanctions on 20 Saudis on suspicion of involvement in the murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country’s consulate in Turkey.

“Against Arms Trade” 

The British decision raised the ire of human rights activists, as well as criticism from activists in the field of arms control, as it announced a campaign called “Against Arms Trade” that aims in taking more judicial measures. The head of the campaign, “Andrew Smith” said that “this disgraceful decision Shows moral bankruptcy”, according to his description.

In this regard; The brutal Saudi bombing of Yemen led to the worst humanitarian situation in the world, and that the weapons manufactured in Britain directly affected the lives of Yemenis, as the British government recognized. Therefore, the campaign indicated that it would study this new decision with their lawyers, and would make all available options to face it.

The campaign “Against Arms Trade” says that its analysis on the British government figures shows that the country issued licenses to sell weapons at about 5 billion pounds sterling, which is approximately 6.4 billion US dollars, to Saudi Arabia since the start of the military campaign against Yemen in 2015.

In the judicial decision issued in 2019, the Court of Appeal in Britain considered that the government violated the law by not conducting a correct evaluation on whether the sale of weapons to Riyadh violates its human rights obligations, which then led the court to demand a review of the matter and an assessment of future risks.

British-Saudi cooperation

The Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense, Prince “Khaled bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz”, during a call with the Secretary of State for Defence “Ben Wallace”, expressed Saudi appreciation to Britain for its efforts to achieve cooperation between the two countries by sending military forces and defense systems to Saudi Arabia, which will achieve common goals in protecting the region, according to his claim.

For his part, the Secretary of Defense stated that his country’s forces presence in Saudi Arabia confirm the depth of the partnership between the two countries, and enhance cooperation to maintain the security and stability of the region, as he put it.

In this regard; The Saudi Minister of Defense praised the results of the “strategic partnership” with Britain in all fields, especially defense, including the importance of strengthening the partnership between the two countries in the framework of what he called the “joint vision” in facing all forms of threat to international peace and security in addition to protecting vital waterways and not to jeopardize International trade, which sparked a widespread mockery on social networking sites at the time, especially as Saudi Arabia is the spearhead in several bloody wars, the first of which is its military brutal campaign in Yemen.

Furthermore; The British Guardian newspaper reported in March that Saudi Arabia had bought British weapons at a value of about 5.3 billion pounds, or about 6 billion dollars, since its war on Yemen in 2015.

It is noteworthy that Britain, according to recent statistics, won major contracts for the sale of weapons worth 14 billion pounds, or about 15 billion dollars, in addition to that it ranked second in the world in the field of arms exports, with a share of 19% of the total value of arms sales in the world in the period spanning Between 2008 and 2018, according to news websites.