British government to resume selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite Saudi war crimes in Yemen: The Independent

Britain is to resume selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite assessing that the country could be using them to commit war crimes, the British government has announced, according to the UK’s “The Independent” newspaper.

The newspaper reported on Tuesday that the British government had completed a review of how arms export licenses were granted in order to comply with an earlier court ruling suspending sales.

Human rights groups branded the government’s approach “deeply cynical” and said the policy was “almost beyond comprehension

The Independent made it clear that in a notice to exporters published on Tuesday, the government added: “The broader commitment that was given to parliament, relating to licenses for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners ... no longer applies. The government will now begin the process of clearing the backlog of license applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that has built up since 20 June last year.”

 Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade described the government’s move as “disgraceful and morally bankrupt” and said that it exposed the “rank hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy”.

“The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made weapons have played a central role in the bombing of Yemen. We will be considering this new decision with our lawyers, and will be exploring all options available to challenge it,” he said.

“The evidence shows a clear pattern of heinous and appalling breaches of International humanitarian law by a coalition which has repeatedly targeted civilian gatherings such as weddings, funerals, and market places. The government claims that these are isolated incidents, but how many hundreds of isolated incidents would it take for the Government to stop supplying the weaponry?

“This exposes the rank hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. Only yesterday the government was talking about the need to sanction human rights abusers, but now it has shown that it will do everything it can to continue arming and supporting one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world.”

Hamda Mustafa