In Bed With the Devil: David Cameron and Saudi Arabia

beheading

IRAN is mistrusted by the UK and America. North Korea is the world’s bête noir, ruled by a vicious Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. And the barbaric terrorist acts of Isis, (Daesh) constantly shock the world.

But top of this list of evil should be Saudi Arabia – degenerate, malignant, pitiless, powerful and as dangerous as any of those listed above.

Yet strangely this super oil rich state – currently in negotiations to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan – is a close friend to David Cameron and his Conservative government.

Why?

This strange friendship needs to be examined more closely.

As I revealed in my blog last year: https://seagullnic.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/jerusalem-to-riyadh-an-axis-of-evil Saudi Arabia is one end of an axis of evil in the Middle East with its clandestine friend in terror, Israel.

Saudi Arabia systematically transmits its sick form of Islam across the globe, instigates and funds hatreds, while crushing human freedoms and aspiration.

Meanwhile, Western Governments, including the UK, France and the USA bow to its rulers under the smokescreen that they are our most important “friend” in the region.

Yet Saudi Arabia executes one person every two days.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was set to be beheaded then crucified for taking part in pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring. He was a teenager then. The crucifixion was set aside last October amid world-wide pressure, but the young man still face the prospect of execution or countless years in jail.

Raif Badawi, a blogger who dared to call for democracy, was sentenced to 10 years and 1,000 lashes.

Just three weeks ago as the world celebrated a New Year, Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said it has executed 47 so-called “terrorists”, including Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr in one day.

The executions led to protests in dozens of countries.

But here in the UK our prime minister was almost silent over the mass executions by the Sunni kingdom.

His Number 10 spokeswoman simply read out a statement, which said: “The Government has set out its position clearly that we’re opposed to the use of the death penalty under any circumstances.”

The Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn, was increasingly critical of Britain’s links with Saudi Arabia.

The shadow human rights minister, Andy Slaughter, condemned the relationship and wrote to the justice secretary, Michael Gove, asking him to confirm that discussions of judicial cooperation were continuing with the Saudis and calling for them to “cease immediately”.

“It is not right that the UK should be actively cooperating with a justice system that shows such flagrant disregard for the most basic human rights and the rule of law,” he said.

But, the pernicious Saudi influence is spreading fast and freely.

Late last year, King Salman offered to build 200 mosques in Germany for recently arrived refugees, many of whom are Muslims. He offered no money for resettlement or basic needs, but Wahhabi mosques, the Trojan horses of the secret Saudi crusade which turns Muslim against Muslim, and undermines modernists.

The late Laurent Murawiec, a French neocon, wrote: “The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadres to foot soldiers, from ideologists to cheerleaders.”

Remember that most of the 9/11 killers were Saudi; so was the al-Qaeda hierarchy.

In the 14 years that have followed 9/11, the Saudis have become more aggressive, more determined to win the culture wars.

They pour money into Islamist organisations and operations, promote punishing doctrines that subjugate women and children, and damn liberal values and democracy.

Recently is was revealed that Saudi Arabia and Israel have been giving unquantifiable aid to ISIS in their bigger war against Iran.

For the past yea,r the Saudis have also been pursuing a cruel bombing campaign in Yemen, that has left thousands of innocent civilians dead.

And all the while David Cameron has been aiding and abetting this slaughter.

Yesterday it was revealed that UK sold Saudi Arabia more than £1 billion of bombs in three months.

Government figures show that the UK sold Saudi Arabia £1,066,216,510 of weapons, including bombs and air-to-air missiles, between July and September 2015.

The arms were sold to Saudi at a time when the kingdom was heavily bombing Yemen, where Riyadh is leading an Arab coalition aimed at pushing back perceived Iran-backed Houthi rebels in order to reinstall the exiled government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The UN says more than 7,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s war, including nearly 3,000 civilians.

The international body has reported that more than 80 percent of the country’s 24 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of bombing multiple hospitals in its raids, including several clinics supported by the international charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

But Mr Cameron has defended the UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, describing the kingdom as a key ally in the fight against terrorism.

“Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is important for our own security,” he said. “They are opponents of Daesh and the extremism and terror it spreads.

“In terms of our arms exports I think we have some of the most stringent controls anywhere in the world and I’ll always make sure they are properly operated.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that the work done by Saudi Arabia is properly targeted and it’s right that we should do that. We’re working with them and others on behalf of the legitimate government of Yemen.”

Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster, said Mr Cameron should admit to British involvement in Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen – where the UK is also providing arms, training and advice.

“Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen, including a large number by the Saudi air force and they’ve done that using British-built planes, with pilots who are trained by British instructors, dropping British-made bombs, who are coordinated by the Saudis in the presence of British military advisors,” Mr Robertson said during Prime Minister’s Questions.

“Isn’t it time for the Prime Minister to admit that Britain is effectively taking part in a war in Yemen that is costing thousands of civilians lives and he has not sought parliamentary approval to do this?”

Mr Cameron rejected the suggestion that the UK was taking part in the conflict, but admitted that British advisors had a role in Saudi Arabia.

“Just to be absolutely clear about our role: we’re not a member of the Saudi-led coalition, British military personnel are not directly involved in the Saudi-led coalition’s operations, personnel are not  involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we’re not involved in the Saudi targeting decision making process,” he said.

“But yes – do we provide advice, help and training in order to make sure that countries actually do obey the norms of humanitarian law? Yes we do.”

Meanwhile, international criticism of Saudi Arabia is starting to be heard.

In late December UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said that a “disproportionate” number of attacks of civilians in Yemen had come from the Saudi-led invasion force.

“I have observed with extreme concern the continuation of heavy shelling from the ground and the air in areas with high a concentration of civilians as well as the perpetuation of the destruction of civilian infrastructure – in particular hospitals and schools – by all parties to the conflict, although a disproportionate amount appeared to be the result of airstrikes carried out by Coalition Forces,” he said.

Human rights group Amnesty International UK has also accused the Government of ignoring “overwhelming evidence” of civilian targeting by the Saudi Arabian air force.

“Angus Robertson has raised an important point about the UK’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen, a campaign we’re told involves British advisers actually located in the Saudi ‘control room’,” said Allan Hogarth, the group’s head of Policy and Government Affairs.

“Thousands of Yemeni civilians have already been killed in a barrage of indiscriminate Saudi airstrikes in the country and whatever advice Britain has been giving to the Saudis has apparently done little to prevent this appalling death toll.

“Meanwhile, the UK is selling billions of pounds worth of weapons to the Saudis in the full knowledge of the grave risk that they’ll be used to kill Yemeni civilians.

“Instead of brushing aside Mr Robertson’s questions, the prime minister should immediately suspend export licences for all further UK arms bound for Saudi Arabia and allow a full investigation into allegations of serious breaches of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

In December 2015 Saferworld and Amnesty International accused the British government of breaking international law in its arms sales.

A legal opinion commissioned by the two groups concluded: “Any authorisation by the UK of the transfer of weapons and related items to Saudi Arabia… in circumstances where such weapons are capable of being used in the conflict in Yemen, including to support its blockade of Yemeni territory, and in circumstances where their end-use is not restricted, would constitute a breach by the UK of its obligations under domestic, European and international law.”

So why does our ruling establishment acquiesce to the evil that is Saudi Arabia?

We know it is up to no good, but too often evidence is suppressed.

This week, my long time journalist friend Felicity Arbuthnot detailed some of this acquiescence in a detailed expose titled: UK Advisors Working Actively Alongside Bomb Targeters.

She wrote: “According to the Daily Telegraph: “British military advisers are in control rooms assisting the Saudi-led coalition staging bombing raids across Yemen that have killed thousands of civilians, the Saudi Foreign Minister and the Ministry of Defence have confirmed.”

Briefing the Telegraph and other journalists the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the UK and other countries in the control centre: ” … are aware of the target lists.”

The “target list” would seem to have included five attacks on schools, disrupting the remaining shreds of normality for 6,500 children. “In some cases the schools were struck more than once, suggesting the strikes were deliberately targeted”, states a report by Amnesty International.

“In October 2015 the Science and Faith School in Beni Hushayash, Sana’a was attacked on four separate occasions within the space of a few weeks. The third strike killed three civilians and wounded more than 10 people.” The only school in the village, it provided education for 1,200 students.

In the village of Hadhran, the Kheir School: “also suffered multiple air strikescausing extensive damage, rendering it unusable.” In the same village two civilian homes and a mosque were bombed, two children were killed, their mother injured, with one man killed and another injured whilst praying in the mosque.

“The director of another school in Hodeidah city, the al-Shaymeh Education Complex for Girls, which catered for some 3,200 students described her horror after the school came under attack twice within a matter of days in August 2015 killing two people. No students were present at the school during the attack, but a man and woman were killed.

“I felt that humanity has ended. I mean, a place of learning, to be hit in this way, without warning… where is humanity … ” she asked.

The al-Asma school in Mansouriya, was destroyed in a bombing in August. However, these horrors barely scrape the surface of the criminal and humanitarian outrage.

Yemen’s Ministry of Education showed Amnesty data revealing more than 1,000 schools inoperable, 254 completely destroyed, 608 partially damaged and 421 being used as shelter by those displaced by the Saudi led, UK assisted onslaught.

The UK is subject to the Arms Trade Treaty which entered in to force on the 24 December 2014 and which Britain has both signed and ratified (2 April 2014) which prohibits arms transfers: ” … if they have knowledge that the arms would be used to commit attacks against civilians, civilian objects or other violations of international humanitarian law.”

Britain “have knowledge that … arms would be used … against civilians or civilian objects” – it is seemingly also helping to plan them, with the US also providing arms and “intelligence.”

The targets for which the UK surely share responsibility also include three medical facilities supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres, the latest on 10 January, a hospital in Saada in the north of the country resulting in six deaths by the 17 January, in which eight were also injured, two critically.

“This is the third severe incident affecting an MSF health facility in Yemen in the last three months. On 27 October, Haydan hospital was destroyed by an airstrike … and on 3 December a health centre in Taiz was also hit”, with nine people wounded.

The exact co-ordinates of the facilities had been given to the Saudi led, British advised coalition, as they had when the US bombed the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on 3 October 2015.

It seems giving details of humanitarian facilities to trained killers is interpreted as an invitation to become target practice.

Other potential war crimes have included destruction of the Al-Sham water bottling factory, killing 13 workers about to head home from the night shift and: “markets, apartment buildings and refugee camps … eleven people in a mosque.”

Also destroyed last September was formerly one of the country’s largest employers, the ceramics factory, where Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch stated they had found definitive proof a UK made Marconi Cruise Missile used in the destruction.

Amnesty also stated that they had: “found evidence of apparent war crimes in connection with 13 airstrikes around the north-eastern Saada region, which killed about one hundred civilians including fifty nine women and twenty two children.”

Some population centres are so comprehensively decimated that survivors wonder if they are finally safe, since there is nothing left to bomb. 

Justice for so much in the region has been long delayed.”

Maybe, just maybe, this axis of evil is starting to unravel… but while the terror, beheadings and bombings continue, the blood of the innocents is on David Cameron’s hands.

 

Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

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