How utterly disgusting.
The Conservative government has made a great show of imposing sanctions on human rights abusers – while still selling weapons to the same people so they can continue abusing others.
The UK’s poor excuse for a Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced sanctions against individuals in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea including asset freezes and travel bans, imposed immediately.
“Those with blood on their hands won’t be free … to waltz into this country, to buy up property on the Kings Road, do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or siphon dirty money through British banks,” Raab told parliament.
What about the leaders of Saudi Arabia which – as a nation – has been harming human rights left, right and centre?
The Tories have just finished a review of that nation’s behaviour – forced on it by a court ruling that suspended arms sales there.
They are resuming sales of arms to Saudi Arabia despite having found “credible incidents of concern”.
The Tories said even though they represented “possible” breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL), the UK government viewed these as “isolated incidents”.
What utter drivel. The Tories just want to give Saudis more weapons to continue bombing Yemen into the Stone Age (for example).
Indeed, pathetic self-serving cheese-loving International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said as much:
“The undertaking that my predecessor gave to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away.”
Since the bombing of Yemen started in March 2015 the UK government has issued export licences worth £5.3 billion, including £2.5 billion of licences relating to bombs, missiles and other types of ordinance.
In one stroke, she made a nonsense of her colleague Raab’s statement that “global Britain will be an even stronger force for good in the world, in the years ahead”.
“Stronger”? You have to be a force for good in the first place – and that clearly isn’t true.
Remember also that the UK itself is guilty of “grave and systematic violations of human rights” in its treatment of sick and disabled people, according to the United Nations. The Tories haven’t lifted a finger to stop those violations in four years since the finding was announced.
This Writer supposes that the government had to find something to do with all the weapons it won’t need for the UK’s own armed forces, now that they are being trimmed down almost to nothing.
Defence chiefs have drawn up plans to slash the army by a quarter and reduce the Royal Marines to a bit part as part of Boris Johnson’s defence and security review.
In the worst-case scenario:
• Army manpower would fall from 74,000 to 55,000
• The Royal Marines commando brigade would be disbanded, losing its artillery, engineers and landing craft. Royal Navy minesweepers would also face the axe
• The RAF would shut several airbases and shed its fleet of Hercules transporters.
There are other cuts but those are behind The Times‘s paywall. The government’s own website doesn’t seem to have this information.
The defence cuts would make the UK ripe for attack, of course, should any aggressive country feel like it; these cuts are an offence against the government’s first responsibility, which is to defend the UK’s people.
But Boris Johnson isn’t interested in that. He’s too busy raiding the national piggy-bank for all it’s worth.
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