Our movement has set its sights on the UK's barbaric arms trade, reports Jonathan Maunders
The devastating Saudi-led war in Yemen could be about to become more brutal still. The ongoing offensive on the port of Hodeida looks set to dramatically escalate the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Only last month the UN warned that 22 million Yemenis, 75% of the population, needed humanitarian assistance.
Both the UK and US have recently called for peace talks in the region, but this is beyond hypocritical given both countries have been key supporters of the Saudi regime’s intervention. British arms sales to the Saudis have dramatically increased since the war started and reports have shown that these weapons have been commonly used in Yemen.
Since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, there has been widespread anger directed at the Saudi regime from across the world. However, the country has regularly persecuted activists and last year detained the Prime Minister of Lebanon, all to relative silence from the West. It’s deeply shameful that it’s taken this brutal murder for many to reconsider ties with the Saudis.
Even so, both Britain and the US are continuing to arm one of the world’s most brutal and oppressive regimes.
If a deemed enemy were complicit in the execution of a journalist whilst carrying out a similarly bloody foreign war, there would be pandemonium and almost certainly military intervention would be threatened. As it stands, the Saudis are seen as important allies.
Beyond just being a leading arms trading partner, the UK and US view Saudi Arabia as a key strategic partner in the Middle East, helping to consolidate the inflow of oil to the West and acting as a powerful bulwark against the perceived threat of Iran, who are incidentally backing the Houthis in Yemen, illustrating that this is part of a wider power struggle.
Public opinion in Britain is well and truly against the Saudi regime, particularly after the barbaric murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the ongoing humanitarian crisis ravaging Yemen as a result of the conflict. The Labour leadership has been clear in calling for an end to Saudi arms sales, but it is clear we need to take this argument into the streets and make these calls louder.
This is why Stop the War is organising a range of public meetings and events on the issue up and down the country, looking to build a wide and diverse campaign to end both arms sales and the ongoing war on Yemen.
A London meeting has been organised for Tuesday 27 November, with Owen Jones, Lowkey, Yemeni human rights activist Kim Sharif, Richard Norton-Taylor and Lindsey German.
Together we can build a wide-reaching campaign against the Saudi regime. We have a tangible opportunity to help stop British arms sales to Saudi Arabia and halt the seemingly endless suffering of millions of Yemenis. We must make the message loud and clear: End the war on Yemen
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