Seven years into the Saudi bombing of Yemen, the anti-war movement must continue to confront Britain’s key role in the massacre, argues Jamal Elaheebocus
Saturday marks the 7th anniversary of the lethal Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. In those 7 years, over 350,000 people have been killed, many of whom were civilians, and 4 million people have been displaced. The war has created the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world, with over 24 million people requiring aid.
This war has been fuelled by Britain and the US to the point where the Saudis would likely be unable to maintain their intervention without British and American arms sales.
It has been revealed by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade that over £20 billion worth of military equipment and services have been sold to Saudi Arabia since the war began in 2015. This figure is three times higher than the Department of International Trade has admitted to, since they have used open licenses to hide the true value of arms exports.
While US president Joe Biden has paused arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the British government has continued to supply billions of pounds worth of arms, making it now the main supplier of arms to the Saudis.
Alongside this, RAF personnel have worked with Saudi Arabia to conduct air strikes, many of which have target civilians at weddings, funerals and on school buses. British engineers also maintain Saudi planes and British-trained pilots fly those planes.
The British arms company BAE systems, which is the largest seller of arms to the Saudis, have over 6,000 contractors stationed in Saudi Arabia.
Since the start of this year, the war in Yemen has become even more violent and destructive. Houthi air strikes have hit targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while the Saudi-led coalition has carried out thousands of air strikes already this year. These air strikes are often “double tap” attacks, where a second strike hits those who go to rescue people injured in the first strike.
This war has exposed the rank hypocrisy within the establishment. The same politicians who have condemned and expressed outrage at the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the loss of innocent lives have meanwhile been bombing innocent civilians in Yemen, killing hundreds of thousands and pushing millions into extreme. poverty.
The media has also exposed its own racist hypocrisy. While the mainstream have deplored the destruction caused by the Russian army, they have consistently failed to cover a war which has produced the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world.
All this has shown that the value of civilian lives is very much dependent on their race. People of colour in the Middle East and North Africa have for years been seen as expendable and their lives have been rendered worthless by ruthless politicians who have bombed and invaded their countries for power and resources.
The war in Yemen is one such example. Therefore, the anti-war movement must continue to demand that Britain stops arming Saudi Arabia, that there is an immediate ceasefire in Yemen and that there are negotiations to end the war for good. Alongside this, Britain must end its cruel and inhumane border policy and accept refugees from Yemen and all other countries affected by war.
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