Theresa May was set to welcome Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Downing Street with big smiles this Wednesday.
There’ll be very little said for the two children killed in a Saudi airstrike in Yemen last week. Over 5,000 civilians have been killed so far in a protracted civil war there.
Government ministers won’t mention any of this because they’re responsible for arming Saudi Arabia, the war’s biggest killer by far. Britain has officially licenced almost £7 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia since its intervention in Yemen begun in March 2015.
A report by the Middle East Eye website claims it could have hidden many billions more in “open licences”.
Many of those deals provide Saudi Arabia with vital parts for the jets that bomb Yemen.
Others are for riot gear—tear gas and rubber bullets—for cops in one of the world’s most repressive regimes. War is a lucrative industry. But between Britain and Saudi Arabia it’s more than just business.
These arms deals shore up Britain’s relationship with a powerful and heavily armed state in a region the West is always fighting to control. So with Britain’s approval Saudi Arabia has not only intervened in Yemen.
It has bankrolled brutal counter revolutions in Bahrain and Egypt, and cut deals with Israel that betray the Palestinian struggle for freedom.