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Britain’s Shameful Embrace of the Saudi War Criminal

Britain’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry denounces [1] 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.

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6 Comments To "Britain’s Shameful Embrace of the Saudi War Criminal"

#1 Comment By profiles in scurvy On March 7, 2018 @ 10:13 am

At least the Brits don’t suffer from our duopolistic death grip on basic morality in foreign policy.

At least in Britain the “shadow minister” of one party can admit that bin Salman is a repulsive monster who commits crimes against humanity.

In the US we don’t even get that. We either get a creep Republican raving about what a great ally MbS is and how he’s got to starve Yemeni children because Iran, or you get sniveling creep Chuck Schumer type Democrats who fawn over any kind of Arab who makes nice with Israel.

What creep leftists did for Stalin back in the 20th century, creep American politicians of every stripe are doing for MbS in the 21st. And when the full horror of what he and his associates have done is revealed, including starving children to death, subjecting millions of innocent civilians to a cholera epidemic, and roasting prisoners alive, they’ll throw up their hands and protest “but no one knew!”

“systematic air strikes on farms, dairies, food factories and markets”

But he lets women drive cars! And he parties with Jared!

#2 Comment By Mark Thomason On March 7, 2018 @ 12:36 pm

MbS is a wildman. He recklessly offends every possible powerful interest group all at the same time. He kills wildly too.

He does this in a place that kills wildly. He has done it to some very powerful rich men, hanging them by their heels all together at the same time to beat money out of them.

What will they do in response? We’ve seen that in the Middle East often enough that it should be no surprise. The only surprise is every sunrise experienced by MbS, one more day that MbS wakes up alive.

#3 Comment By b. On March 7, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

“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”

Let the record show that Sanders has yet to find equally strong words that would in any way come close to justifying the misplaced label of “Corbynite”. But then, MbS isn’t here yet – and the media would likely report a Sanders statement only if they expect it to reduce his changes to shape policy.

#4 Comment By b. On March 7, 2018 @ 3:06 pm

Emily Thornberry could have made the point that the Saudi-US-UAE invasion of Yemen is not covered by UN Resolutions, and is in itself an illegal act of aggressive war, regardless of how it is conducted.

“War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

#5 Comment By b. On March 7, 2018 @ 3:16 pm

It looks like Corbyn has an instinct for the jugular, and the May government is fiddling from the same sheet as the US:

‘Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier prompted a political row by claiming “British military advisers are directing the war” in Yemen.’

The UK response: “It’s not true they are directing the war in Yemen. They’ve given advice in relation to how targeting is done, to make sure civilians are not involved. But, to say they’re involved in the conduct of the war is simply untrue.”

That does sound familiar, doesn’t it?

May herself appears to believe that she can have Yemen starved and feed it, too – her praise for MbS willingness to “end the blockade” appears to be another blunder-to-be. She also declares:

“Their involvement in Yemen came at the request of the legitimate government of the Yemen. It is backed by the United Nations Security Council and, as such, we support it.”

That is a falsehood, if not an outright lie. Aside from an arms embargo that the UN signed off on, repeating past mistakes, the UN appears to have explicitly refused to back this “coalition of the helpful” and their generous support for a “legitimate” government – so unlike the US/UK position towards governments in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Russia….



#6 Comment By grumpy realist On March 10, 2018 @ 1:13 pm

Especially since the U.K. is hoping to get some nice ca$h by selling Saudi Arabia lots and lots of armaments in order to fill holes in their budget after Brexit.

Hence (I believe) the hear-no-evil-see-no-evil-speak-no-evil. Reminds me of Durrenmatt’s Das Besuch der Alte Dame.