UK Complicity with Saudi War Crimes in Yemen
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, July 09, 2020

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Britain operates as a US imperial project junior partner — allied with its preemptive wars against nonbelligerent nations threatening no one.

Both countries operate by a do what we say, not as we do standard.

While their lofty language expresses support for peace, stability, and human rights, their actions consistently and repeatedly breach their professed principles.

On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Rabb announced sanctions on 20 Saudi nationals it holds responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 — crown prince/de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman, responsible for ordering his assassination, omitted from the list.

Nothing about Britain’s longstanding ties to Riyadh was mentioned in Rabb’s remarks — in cahoots with the US — including in Yemen, at war with its people, starving them to death by endless war and a medieval blockade.

The US is by far the leading supplier of arms and munitions to Saudi Arabia.

In 2019, a UK court of appeals ruled that sales of weapons and munitions to the kingdom are illegal because its terror-bombing of Yemen is responsible for massacring civilians.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) welcomed the ruling that suspended UK arms sales to Riyadh, pending Westminster’s review of the longstanding policy.

In its ruling, the UK court noted that “(t)here was was a decision, or a change of position, so that there would be no assessment of past violations of IHL (international humanitarian law)” by Westminster that were and continue to be longstanding.

The Boris Johnson regime is now resuming arms sales to the kingdom.

While acknowledging ongoing Saudi war crimes, a statement by Johnson’s international trade secretary Liz Truss announced the resumption, saying the following:

An IHL analysis concluded that there was no “patterns of non-compliance” by the Saudis (sic), just “isolated incidents (sic),” adding:

No “lack of commitment on the part of Saudi Arabia to comply with IHL (sic).”

No “lack of capacity or systemic weaknesses which might give rise to a clear risk of IHL breaches (sic).”

The above remarks bear no relationship to reality on the ground.

Saudi crimes of war and against humanity occur multiple times daily, including the enormous harm from blockade.

Based on the above assessment, the Johnson regime maintains that “there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL (sic).”

Unmentioned by Truss is that evidence beyond dispute proves that Riyadh is one of the world’s leading human rights abusers, the foremost one among Arab states internally and in cahoots with Washington’s regional imperial agenda.

Her remarks came a day after Foreign Secretary Rabb’s announced UK sanctions on the kingdom, Russia and other countries for human rights abuses.

The London Independent noted that that Britain will “resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite (acknowledging) ‘possible’ war crimes by the kingdom (sic).”

One kingdom’s nefarious ties to another is no surprise. As long as Riyadh is oil and monetarily rich, there’s no shortage of nations in the West, region and elsewhere lining up to maintain dirty business as usual with the royal family.

For years, the Saudis have been and continue to be complicit with the US, UK, France, Israel, the UAE, and other countries in committing horrendous Nuremberg-level crimes of war, against humanity and genocide against millions of Yemenis.

Hundreds of thousands likely perished from US-initiated post-9/11 aggression against its people – succumbing to war, related violence, untreated diseases, famine, and overall deprivation.

Saudi terror-bombing targets hospitals, schools, marketplaces, food storage facilities, mosques, and other non-military sites, countless thousands of Yemenis perishing from its aggression.

Defenseless civilians comprise the vast majority of casualties in virtually all wars.

The US and UK are involved with the Saudis in enforcing an air and naval blockade of Yemen.

The vast majority of Yemenis are food insecure or facing starvation. Many risk death from lack of access to medical help for serious issues.

According to Houthi broadcaster Al Masirah, Saudi and coalition warplanes terror-bombed Houthi controlled areas scores of times in the past 24 hours alone.

On Wednesday, a statement by Houthi General Yahya Sare’a said the following:

“Saudi civilians or residents must stay away from the palaces of the wrongdoers, as they have become targets,” adding:

“Yemeni drones, as well as missiles, are heading towards their targets according to a pre-determined path, and civilians are only harmed by aggressive missiles that fall on them.”

“We succeeded, with God’s help, in implementing specific operations, which were concentrated strikes on sensitive targets within our target bank, and no force on the face of the earth will be able to stop our legitimate military operations.”

“(T)he forces of aggression (and) economic war will have grave consequences, and its fire may extend to your doorstep soon.”

Separately according to the Middle East Monitor, a declassified UK report explained Britain’s complicity in imposing a devastating blockade on Yemen — what’s unlawful under international law.

Imposing it is an act of war. Since Saudi aggression began in March 2015, Britain supplied Riyadh with billions of dollars worth of arms, munitions, and military equipment.

Britain’s navy provided training for Saudi and UAE naval forces, including on how to “board and search vessels (in) international waters or territorial seas.”

UK ties to Riyadh also involved establishing a so-called Exclusive Economic Zone Protection Officer course (EEZ).

It refers to waters that extend 200 miles off its coast for exclusive resource development and fishing.

Longstanding UK/Saudi relations continue largely unchanged to the present day, both nations complicit with each other’s regional war crimes — together with the US.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Featured image is from Al-Masdar News

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.