Spain to sell 400 bombs to Saudi Arabia despite regime’s war crimes in Yemen

Alwaght – The Kingdom of Spain is set to sell 400 laser-guided bombs to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after the deal was temporarily halted over Riyadh’s involvement in a brutal aggression on neighboring Yemen.

“The decision is that these bombs will be delivered to honor a contract that comes from 2015, and was made by the previous government,” Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Thursday Borrell told Onda Cero radio, Reuters reported

Human rights groups including Amnesty International have denounced Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Saudi regime has launched a deadly aggression against Yemen since March 2015 in support of Yemen’s former Riyadh-friendly government and against the country’s Ansarullah movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective administration.

The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured during the past three years.

The United Nations says a record 22.2 million people are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. A high-ranking UN aid official recently warned against the “catastrophic” living conditions in Yemen, stating that there was a growing risk of famine and cholera there.

Late on August 2018 United Nations human rights experts published a 41-page report, saying Saudi Arabia and its allies, mainly The United Arab Emirates (UAE), may have perpetrated war crimes in the impoverished Arab state.

According to the report Saudi-led coalition “have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, violations and crimes under international law,” that it categorized as: Targeting Yemen’s civilians and residential areas; imposing naval and air blockade on Yemen; deploying children into war fronts.

However, Spanish government has decided to go ahead with selling bombs to Saudi regime, saying “We found no reason not to carry it out.”

Asked whether Spain had received any guarantees that the weapons would not be used against the civilian population in Yemen, Borrell said the laser-guided bombs hit their targets with “extraordinary precision” of within one meter.

“This kind of weapon does not produce the same sort of bombing as less sophisticated weapons, launched a bit randomly, that create the sort of tragedy that we have all condemned.”

The top Spanish diplomat’s justification, however, seems not to be convincing as Saudi regime has recently used an American laser-guided bomb to strike a school bus in Yemen’s saada province, where 51 civilians, including 40 children were massacred.

American news network CNN confirmed the bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition on 9 August was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

The bomb is very similar to the one that wreaked devastation in an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen in October 2016 in which 155 people were killed and hundreds more wounded.

In March of that year, a strike on a Yemeni market — this time reportedly by a US-supplied precision-guided MK 84 bomb — killed 97 people.

In the aftermath of the funeral hall attack, former US President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia over “human rights concerns.”

The ban was overturned by the Trump administration’s then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March 2017.

The halting of the deal had created concerns in Spain over the future of a more lucrative contract, signed in July, for state-owned shipbuilder Navantia to supply warships to the oil-rich kingdom.

The two kingdoms have been negotiating the warship deal since 2015, and the final agreement between the Saudi defense ministry and Navantia would take longer to complete.