The UK is to resume selling new weapons to Saudi Arabia despite war crimes committed by the Saudis and allies in Yemen, even though British weapons break international humanitarian law.
Saudi Hawk jets are among the arms sold to the Arabic kingdom by the UK, which are behind untold destruction. The UK government claims the Saudis have only used the UK-made weapons for isolated incidents, which included attacks on schools, bombing of hospitals and homes.
No doubt, British weapons sales to Saudi Arabia are a serious violation of International Law and Arms Trade Treaty. They contribute to serious human rights violations, where the Saudi-led bombing campaign is systematically hitting civilian targets in contravention of the rules of war.
Just like Britain, the United States has also licensed billions of dollars of arms sales to Riyadh since Saudis and the mere extras entered the illegal war on Yemen. The Saudis are leading the brutal military operation in which US and UK-supplied aircraft, bombs and missiles are playing a major role. The British and American military officials are also in the command and control centre for Saudi airstrikes.
One side-effect of the chaos resulting from this criminal campaign is that the local franchises of Al-Qaeda and ISIL are now thriving as never before. Worse yet, the Saudi-led campaign has claimed thousands of lives and triggered a humanitarian catastrophe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As a consequence, international aid organisations are calling on the UK and US governments to suspend their illegal arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Some have even launched formal legal challenges in courts to halt the sales on those grounds. But to no avail.
The response from the British and American governments has been thoroughly cynical. They deny any evidence of Saudi violations, simply ignoring the world’s leading human rights organisations, who have been documenting such crimes since 2015.
This is not surprising. For decades, the regime changers have provided arms to their regional vassal capable of being used for external aggression and internal repression. They play lip service to the UN Charter and the global Arms Trade Treaty, and expect not to be held to account.
The Anglo-American military alliance with Riyadh shows British and American complicity in the horrors of Yemen. It is the most overt manifestation of the criminal relationship between London, Washington and Riyadh in recent years. The worst part is that they refuse to change this criminal course even during the devastating coronavirus pandemic.