Yemen: UK and US arms linked to 87 civilians death in just over a year

Yemen: Kwasi Kwarteng grilled on cuts to international aid budget

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Bombings by the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen using weapons supplied by the UK and US killed scores of civilians between January 2021 and February 2022 according to the research collected by the charity Oxfam. The humanitarian organisation is calling on the UK Government to acknowledge the “pattern of harm” caused by the western-backed air war in Yemen and end arms supplies to Saudi Arabia.

Martin Butcher, Oxfam’s Policy Advisor on Arms and Conflict and author of the report, said: “The sheer number of attacks on civilians is stark testament to the terrible tragedy the people of Yemen have suffered.

“Our analysis shows there is a pattern of violence against civilians, and all sides in this conflict have not done enough to protect civilian life, which they are obligated to do under International Humanitarian Law.

“The intensity of these attacks would not have been possible without a ready supply of arms.

“That is why it’s vital the UK government and others must immediately stop the arms sales that are fuelling war in Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen began on March 26, 2015, in response to calls for support from the ousted President of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The coalition of nine countries from West Asia and North Africa were attempting to defeat the Houthi movement, which had seized control of the country’s capital, Sana’a, and forced President Hadi to flee to the southern city of Aden.

Fighting quickly escalated, with the coalition launching airstrikes against Houthi targets, while the Houthis continued to launch rockets and missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Saudi’s intervention was intended to be a quick victory against an outmatched enemy, but the conflict has been long and bloody. It has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, with many civilians caught in the crossfire, and with the country facing widespread food insecurity and a significant cholera outbreak.

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Coalition forces have been criticized for their indiscriminate bombing campaign, which has led to the deaths of many civilians and the destruction of infrastructure.

The UN has also condemned the coalition for restricting the flow of humanitarian aid to the country, which has made it difficult to provide assistance to the war-affected population.

UK is a significant supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia, with the value of UK arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia since the bombing began in March 2015 being £7.1 billion.

This also includes arms exports to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which were valued at £8.6 billion during the same period, according to the published value.

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However, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) estimates the real value of arms sales to the coalition in Yemen is nearly £25billion.

As reported by The Guardian, British officials authorized the export of almost £1.4 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia in the quarter after the UK resumed sales of weapons that could be used in Yemen in June 2020.

These included combat aircraft and bombs intended for use by the Royal Saudi Air Force, which have been used in the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

UK government has repeatedly insisted that it is not taking an active part in the military campaign in Yemen, however, the UK has issued more than 100 licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia since the State began bombing Yemen in March 2015.

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