UK under pressure over Yemen “proxy war”
Pressure is mounting on the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron for its proxy war in Yemen.
Critics warn that Britain is arming and facilitating a brutal Saudi war on the impoverished nation of Yemen.
The UK involvement in Yemen war first revealed by Scottish National Party (SNP) Westminster leader Angus Robertson during a heated discussion in Parliament on Monday.
Since then, the criticism has been echoed by political commentators and human rights campaigners, who are demanding the government come clean on the role of the UK forces in the Saudi-led campaign.
The campaigners and commentators argue that Britain’s arming of the Saudi-led forces and provision of advice to Saudi military personnel amounts to proxy warfare.
According to media reports, Britain’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia totaled US$4.23 billion for the first nine months of 2015, and roughly £7 billion since Prime Minister David Cameron took office in 2010.
Labor Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn has sent a letter to the PM demanding transparency on Britain’s involvement, after a leaked version of a UN panel’s report concluded attacks on Yemeni civilians had been “widespread and systemic.”
The UK Director of Human Rights Watch said the findings of the UN report “flatly contradict”, the UK ministers’ rhetoric about the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen.
“For almost a year, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has made the false and misleading claim that there is no evidence of law or war violations by the UK’s Saudi ally and other members of the coalition,” he told the Guardian.
Amnesty International UK’s Head of Policy and Government Affairs Allan Hogarth expressed disgust at the government’s attempt to downplay concerns over Saudi Arabia’s conduct in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia revealed earlier this month that British and American forces are stationed in the control center from which military operations against Yemen are being directed. However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has refused to disclose how many British personnel are involved in the war.