Following the coup in Egypt, there have been many discussions about a possible embargo on military aid to the new regime in Cairo. Saudi Arabia has said that it will compensate the coup regime for any revenue lost as a result of an international embargo. Furthermore, ex-presidential candidate Ahmad Shafiq told an interviewer last week that the UAE government is also ready to break an embargo by offering support to the Egyptian armed forces.
According to Shafiq, the UAE has “done more” for the new regime than Saudi Arabia, “even more things than people generally know about”. The Interior Minister, he claimed, had asked him to mediate for military support from the UAE to the Egyptian security forces. “I did so and the UAE immediately sent arms and equipment to fight terrorism,” he said.
That “terrorism” was a reference to the pro-democracy protests in Rabaa Al-Adawiyya and Al-Nahda Squares. Amnesty International has confirmed that 1,089 people were killed by the Egyptian security forces’ use of “lethal, excessive, disproportionate and unjustified force” to clear the protesters from the squares.
Given the human rights violations and atrocities committed with the weapons supplied by the UAE, the well-established arms-trade between Britain and the Emirates is in urgent need of scrutiny. MEMO contacted a member of the British parliament’s House of Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls, Richard Burden MP. He said that this is “worrying” and “on the top of the [list of] concerns” recently expressed by the committee. The matter is currently being taken forward and under close examination by committee chair Sir John Stanley.