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UK ‘attentively’ watching Saudi Arabia weapons use

Human rights campaigners protest against arms sale to Saudi Arabia [Campaign Against Arms Trade/Flickr]

The United Kingdom is monitoring Saudi Arabia’s use of weapons in conflict zones, Al-Jazeera has reported.

“The UK has extremely stringent measures in place to ensure that the end use of any and all weapons that the UK sells are appropriate,” said Matthew Rycroft, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

It is not clear why the comment was made at this time, but it follows the United Nations blacklist of Saudi Arabia for killing 683 children in Yemen, violating the law of war.

In July human rights group Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) filed a legal case in the UK High Court claiming that allowing UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for its bombing campaign is a violation of the law of war. Despite “overwhelming evidence” of British weapons used in indiscriminate attacks in Yemen the High Court ruled that the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia is lawful.

Read more: UAE plans to invade Qatar using mercenaries

Two weeks ago the United Nations approved to deploy “eminent international and regional experts” to report on war crimes committed in the Yemen civil war. More than 5,000 civilians have been killed in the civil war to date.

In August Saudi Arabia conducted an air strike on a residential apartment, killing at least 12 people, including women and children as the building collapsed in Faj Attan, Sanaa. Saudi Arabia claimed it was a “technical error” that led to the strike.

Since March 2015 Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of Arab states to support President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and to neutralise threats from the Houthi armed group. The United Kingdom continue to support Saudi Arabia by selling arms to the Kingdom.

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  • Pounce

    The vast majority of anti-Saudi sentiment is funded by Iran. (Note, I have no time for SA). Currently there is a huge cold war going on in the region between Iran (And its acolytes) and SA and its gang. (Aka Sunni Islam V Shia Islam) To be fair to Iran, it is simply doing all it can in which to ensure it will not be wiped out by the others (As seen when the rest funded Saddam to invade in 1980). Iran realising it will never win a war against the rest, has spent a lot of money on its public image (Victim) and trying to promote the vision it is actually stronger than it is (Hence the almost daily news reports of the latest world beating weapon)
    It has also spent a little money on Asymmetrical warfare which entails others spending a lot more in which to combat them , Support to Hezballah/Syria/Hamas and Yemen etc)
    By polarizing world opinion against SA, they do for pennies what entire battle groups fail to do . So they look for the weak link and in this case they target the UK. Spread the view that hundreds of thousands are dying in Yemen due to British weapons and in time, they hope to see the UK remove support. Hoping that the rest will follow. Yet the fact remains the UK sells very little to the SA miltary machine. Yes they have Typhoons (which is always brought out, but it is primarily a fighter jet with secondary ground attack capabilities) The main strike aircraft in the SA inventory is the F15SA, pound for pond the best strike aircraft in the world , it is American. The Saudis are currently using the Chinese version of the Reaper Drone (Wing loon) and have just signed a contract to start building them in country. The SA also use Chinese mobile artillery (In use in Yemen) The tanks it uses are.US M1A1 tanks (minus the Uranium armour the yanks have fitted) Only last week Russia signed a deal to sell the S400 missile system. What I am saying is, that the UK actually sells very little to SA and when a market is closed to people they look elsewhere. (The sale of the Wing Loon came about because the US refused to sell the Reaper)

    As i mentioned the public campaign championed by the likes of Labour is simply designed to give Iran the upper hand in its cold war against SA . You know like just like how the Islamic world gets the likes of Corbyn to do likewise regards Israel.

    Finally when it comes to arms sales to SA the UK falls way behind the US/France/China/Germany/Italy/Canada and Spain .

    The Saudis have very few items with a made in the UK tag. (Note the Typhoon is called the Euro-fighter for a reason)
    On the otherside of the coin (But never mentioned) is the support Iran is handing over to Yemen (For a start over 100 SCUD missiles have been launched into SA from Yemen), the supply of UAVs ,anti-tank missiles and of course anti-ship missiles. As well as training, advisor’s and light weapons.
    Yet to the likes of the left only SA is in the wrong. The irony here is the 10K death toll since 2015 is a lot lower than any other war that has taken place in Yemen (and there has been loads )since 1960.