Britain’s bloody hands observable in Yemen’s war

Alwaght- Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Millions of people in Yemen are living under the blockades, famine, the civil war and air raids as nearly 10 months have passed since the launching of the offensive. Meanwhile, the British government, led by David Cameron, not only has chosen to turn a blind eye to all these crimes but also, according to the published reports, it has directly and indirectly been assisting Al Saud and is considered an accomplice in the Saudi crimes.

Day by day London’s direct role in Yemen’s war gets clear further. The Sky News’ website on January 7, 2016 in an exclusive report has revealed the role taken by the British government in the aggression against Yemen. Highlighting the fact that Britain’s military experts are providing military advices to the Saudi military forces in war on Yemen, the report adds that “now it appears that Britain, already a massive source of weapons and bombs to the Saudi Kingdom, is helping in more direct ways”.

Six British military experts are working with the agents who are tasked with detecting and determining the bombing targets in Yemen, according to the Sky News’ report, though the British ministry of defense in a statement has denied the direct involvement of Britain’s military experts in the Yemeni war, claiming that they were only training the Saudi forces to help find the targets to be attacked later. The co-optation was taking place to ensure that the Saudi attacks on Yemen were complying with the international laws, the British defense ministry added.

This is not the first time that the British media are uncovering London’s collaboration with Riyadh in Yemen. Iona Craig, a British-Irish freelance journalist, in a report published by the Independent’s website on December 20, 2015, has noted that Britain j o i ned a war in the Middle East which is rarely elaborated on. Britain has silently participated in the Yemen war through selling missiles and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the war, almost nine months ago, Craig added. Craig continued that while blatant evidences proved that British-made arms were used in assault against Yemen, the British Prime Minister rejected the fact that the country was taking part in the Saudi war.

“Britain exported more than 1,000 bombs to Saudi Arabia in the first six months of 2015 – to target civilians and civilian infrastructure, the UK government refuses to recognize its complicity in clear breaches of international humanitarian law”, Craig said. Additionally, the Guardian’s journalist has said in a report that since the eruption of the conflict in Yemen in March 2015 the British government has approved 37 licenses authorizing weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, however, it refused to disclose the contents of the arms cargos to the parliament.

Though Cameron’s government in a variety of ways is trying to cover up its military supports to the Saudi kingdom or justify them, the degree and size of the crimes Saudi Arabia in association with the West, specifically Britain and the US, is committing in Yemen is too large-scale to be easily disregarded. The UN’s Secretary-General as well as the human rights organizations and the European Parliament have spoken out against such crimes. The Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a documented report on January 7, 2016, has noted that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition’s forces in their Yemen campaign have d r o pped cluster bombs on the residential areas, which is considered by the international laws a war crime. The HRW along with the Amnesty international last year has documented use of at least four types of cluster bombs in Yemen by the Arab coalition.

It seems that the Saudi crimes in Yemen, which have no clear timetable for conclusion, have pushed the British activists, after nearly 10 months since the beginning of the offensive, to decide to seriously upbraid David Cameron.

The lawyers acting for the Campaign against Arms Trade have filed a lawsuit against the British government for selling arms to Saudi Arabia and for breaching the international laws. This activists group has earlier warned Britain’s prime minster that it would launch legal proceedings against the British arms sales to the Arab kingdom and against use of these arms against the Yemeni civilians.

According to the British media reports, the legal action is now stepped up against British Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for approving licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. The Observer has reported that the 19-page legal letter by the lawyers acting for the Campaign against Arms Trade’s reads that “the government’s refusal to suspend current licenses to Saudi Arabia, and its decision to continue the granting of new licenses for military equipment that may be destined for use in Yemen, is unlawful.” Last week the Campaign against Arms Trade has revealed in a report that since 2010, when the Prime Minister David Cameron took office, to date, Britain has sold weapons worth £ 5.6 billion to Saudi government as “one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes.”

It is yet to become clear that how David Cameron’s government would react to these pressures, but what is obvious is that the Yemenis would not forget London’s complicity in Saudi Arabia’s atrocities in Yemen.

By Alwaght