Peter Oborne calls for a halt to U.K. support for the war on Yemen. Here he reviews the record of what U.K. and U.S. support for the war has caused:
The Saudis’ closest allies in this horrible affair are Britain and the United States. We supported King Salman when he declared war in March last year. In the face of a mountain of evidence that crimes have been committed, Britain repeatedly insisted that the Saudis have not breached international humanitarian law. Britain has advisers in the heart of the Saudi command centre which sets targets for the bombers. We provide Saudi with crucial diplomatic cover, for instance blocking Dutch calls for a very badly needed independent inquiry into war crimes by all sides. Throughout the war we have supplied arms to the Saudis. This is almost certainly illegal. The Arms Trade Treaty, enthusiastically supported by Britain two years ago, insists that no arms should be sold when there is an ‘overriding risk’ that they will be used in breach of international humanitarian law. There is no question that the provision applies in the case of Yemen. Approximately 10,000 have been killed, many of those by Saudi bombing, most of them civilians, while millions have been made hopeless and even more now live on the edge of starvation.
Oborne suggests that British policy may be starting to change under Theresa May, and I certainly hope that’s true, but I would be surprised if that is the case. Because the Saudi-led war has largely been ignored in the West, there is almost no political price to be paid for continuing to back it, and so continuing with the horrible policy that Cameron started is the path of least resistance. I would be very pleased to be wrong about this, but after seeing the U.S. and British governments enable this disaster for seventeen months I would be shocked if either of them withdrew support now. Of course, this is absolutely what both governments ought to do, and they ought to have never been backed the Saudi intervention in the first place, but I don’t expect much from either one at this point.
As some readers may remember, Oborne recently traveled to Yemen and wrote a lengthy report on the conflict with Nawal al-Maghafi that I referred to before. If you didn’t read it the first time, I strongly recommend that you read the entire article now. Their conclusion is worth quoting again:
A calamity, aided and abetted in the West, is unfolding in Yemen, and it is time the world woke up to that fact.