UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia face inquiry

A boy at a protest against Saudi-led strikes in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a [Image: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters].

There is an implication, in this investigation, about the Conservative Government’s attitude to human rights.

This Writer hopes those in the United Nations who are investigating domestic infringements of human rights – by the Conservatives – are paying attention to the arms inquiry.

A full-scale inquiry into the UK’s sales of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen is to be mounted by the powerful cross-party committee on arms exports controls.

The inquiry is going to look not just at arms sales to Saudi Arabia and their use by the Saudi air force in Yemen, but also UK arms sales to other Gulf countries.

The committee, which has taken months to be established since the general election, has a specific remit: to examine the government’s expenditure, administration and policy on strategic exports, specifically the licensing of arms exports and other controlled goods.

The UK government has licensed £6.7bn of arms to Saudi Arabia since David Cameron took office in 2010, including £2.8bn since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015. There have been strong claims, including by a UN panel, that the Saudi bombing campaign led to repeated breaches of human rights laws.

Source: UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia face inquiry | World news | The Guardian

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4 thoughts on “UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia face inquiry

  1. mohandeer

    Got a letter from Stuart Agnew MEP. Not a bad response to my email since he explains his anti EU stance quite reasonably. Hopefully as an MP he will support a UK Govt. led investigation.
    “Thank you for your email regarding the joint resolution on an arms embargo of Saudi Arabia.
    I am extremely concerned by the role Saudi Arabia plays in propagating terrorism and regional instability in the Middle East, as part of their proxy war with Iran. Not only have they caused civilian deaths in Yemen but it is commonly understood that Saudi Arabia has provided support to ISIS/ Islamic State.
    Whilst the issue you raise is important, as an MEP elected on a platform of withdrawal from the EU, I cannot support the suggested use of an EU mechanism to dictate UK Government policy. Whilst it may be legitimate in this case, I am worried about the precedent that could be set by accepting this heavy handed influence over a key area of Britain’s foreign and economic policy. Such an important policy decision should be squarely within the remit of the UK Government, all the more so, given the EU’s appalling record on foreign policy issues. It is important therefore that we hold our own Government to account on our support of Saudi Arabia and not rely on the EU to do it for us.
    Therefore, taking the above into consideration and the humanitarian issues involved, I abstained on the resolution as a whole, and on Amendment 1 specifically calling for the use of the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP. The resolution was nevertheless passed by 449 votes to 36, with 78 abstentions. However, I should mention that this was a non-legislative and non-binding resolution and, as such, does not commit the unelected European Commission to taking any action at all in the matter.
    I hope you can understand why I couldn’t support this particular resolution but please be assured that I remain extremely concerned by the actions of Saudi Arabia.
    Yours faithfully”

    Stuart Agnew MEP

    Office of Stuart Agnew MEP”

    So not totally disheartening.

  2. Terry Davies

    wonder if the arms dealers fund the tory party, avoid tax, give benefits like shares to MPs who are corrupt in order to get their support.?
    wonder how thorough the investigation will be. how long the remit given and whether those investigating have any vested interests ?
    All comments welcome.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You don’t have to say “All comments welcome”, you know.
      People will comment according to whether they feel like it.
      And it’s my choice whether those comments appear here – not yours.

Comments are closed.