Britain’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry denounces the British government’s embrace of Mohammed bin Salman during his visit this week:
Yet today the architect of that Saudi intervention in Yemen – crown prince Mohammad bin Salman – will visit Britain, and will receive the red carpet treatment from the Tory government, as if he were Nelson Mandela. This is the man behind the rolling blockade of Yemen’s rebel-held ports, preventing the supply of essential food, medicine and fuel to Yemeni civilians, and – on all the available evidence – breaching international law by using starvation as a weapon of war [bold mine-DL].
The man who –, in an equally flagrant breach of the Geneva convention, authorised the destruction of Yemen’s agricultural and food infrastructure in the early stages of the war, with systematic air strikes on farms, dairies, food factories and markets.
Everything that Thornberry charges against Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi-led coalition is true and has been well-documented by journalists, aid groups, and human rights organizations over the last three years. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the world’s worst. It is a man-made crisis, and it has been caused deliberately by the decisions of the coalition governments with Saudi Arabia chief among them. Apart from the king, there is no one in the Saudi government more responsible for the indiscriminate bombing campaign and starvation blockade than Mohammed bin Salman. He is one the war’s architects, and as such he is one of the leading war criminals of our time. The warm welcome he is receiving from Theresa May is shameful, but it helps to call attention to the outrageous support that the U.S. and U.K. have been giving to the Saudis and their allies over the last three years. It would be fitting if the crown prince’s foreign tour and public relations blitz backfired on him and caused a public backlash against the governments that have been enabling the atrocious Saudi-led war on Yemen.