US Senate Votes to Block Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan

Sunday, 23 Jun, 2019

Government figures analyzed by CAAT show that Britain, which accounts for 23 percent of arms imports to Saudi Arabia, has licensed almost £5 billion ($6.4 billion, 5.6 billion euros) in weapons to the kingdom since its Yemen campaign began in 2015.

"You can not have a strategic relationship with the United States and behave in a fashion that shows no respect for human dignity, no respect for global norms", Graham said.

During the Yemen conflict, which has already resultedin estimates of nearly 100,000 deaths, the Saudi-led coalition has been accused of several violations of worldwide humanitarian law bythe United Nationsand some major non-governmental organisations, includingAmnesty InternationalandHuman Rights Watch.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the government was "disappointed" and would be seeking permission to appeal against the judgment.

In their judgement, the court on Thursday accepted CAAT's appeal, branding it "irrational and therefore unlawful" to have previously approved the exporting license to Saudi Arabia without prior assessment on the humanitarian risk.

Britain is the world's sixth largest seller of arms, after the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

"They're an ally", he said of Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Senate will vote on Thursday to block the Trump administration's effort to complete arms sale to three Arab countries without congressional review, Senator Robert Menendez said on Wednesday.

Britain accounts for 23 percent of arms imports to Saudi Arabia and past year signed a multi-billion-pound preliminary order with Riyadh for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.

Previous year alone the largest United Kingdom defence company, BAE Systems, made £2.6bn worth of sales to the Gulf state.

Right alongside the U.S. in propping up Saudi military strength is the UK, which has sold more than $5.9 billion in military equipment to the kingdom since the outbreak of conflict in Yemen.

Over the past four years The Ferret has reported extensively about civilian deaths and links to smart bombs made in Scotland by United States arms firm, Raytheon.

The conflict in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and left millions more are on the brink of starvation. But the agreement reached this week with Menendez would involve the ranking member offering his own bipartisan Saudi Arabia accountability bill (S 398) as an amendment to the underlying bill.

The judges said Britain should have investigated "whether there was an historic pattern of breaches of worldwide humanitarian law on the part of the (Saudi-led) coalition, and Saudi Arabia in particular".

Earlier this year Congress passed a resolution to end USA support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, but it was vetoed by Trump and lawmakers failed to override his objection.