Follow the money: 'UK ignores Yemeni slaughter as Riyadh spends more on British military equipment'

Follow the money: 'UK ignores Yemeni slaughter as Riyadh spends more on British military equipment'
British officials don’t care much about Yemeni blood and innocent children starved to death; human rights and democracy don’t matter as long as the Saudi war in Yemen is making the UK money, says Middle East political commentator Catherine Shakdam.

Britain's Defense Minister Sir Michael Fallon says Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself and call on its friends to help, referring to the Saudi operation in Yemen and UK arms sales to the Gulf monarchy during a BBC interview.

RT:  What's your take on Fallon's comments? Were you surprised how robust Sir Michael Fallon was about it?

Catherine Shakdam: Not really, to be fair. But to be perfectly honest, I think that Michael Fallon’s logic doesn’t hold here. Because Saudi Arabia, we need to remember, back in March 2015 declared war on Yemen, not the other way around. Therefore, you can’t argue the fact that Saudi Arabia is trying to defend its border. What it has done is unilaterally attacked another country for no good reason other than trying to impose its own political agenda onto Yemen to try to forward its own narrative and own agenda for the region altogether. So, you can’t turn around then when the resistance movement, in fact, defends its own borders and its own sovereignty and indeed attack Saudi Arabia a way it hurts because it has the right to self-defense. And then argue self-defense again. It doesn’t work this way. You cannot be together. The one that attacks first and the one that defends. Because, if the rules of engagement are broken, in that it was illegal to declare war on Yemen in the first place, then I would say Riyadh has to expect a resistance movement in Yemen to defend themselves and their country however they see fit. Because there is a huge coalition carpet bombing their country and trying to suffocate their people with a humanitarian blockade. So, I would say that the rules do not apply anymore when it comes to self-defense, as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned because it is the one power that has attacked.

RT:  Saudi Arabia's admitted to using cluster bombs on Yemen. The munitions are now banned under international law. How can the British government support Riyadh's use of them?

CS: I think there are two main reasons. The first one, I would say is geopolitics, and Saudi Arabia remains a key ally when it comes to the Middle East and beyond that, the Islamic world. And I think that Britain understands that it has a front in Riyadh as long as Riyadh is behaving or at least not doing the kind of things that Britain cannot really sanction anymore. Then they are going to stick by Riyadh and just go along with everything. And the second element is of course money. Britain has made billions of dollars on the back of the Yemeni war. And I don’t think that a lot of British officials care very much about Yemeni blood and how many innocent kids are actually being killed or starved to death because as long as Riyadh is signing those checks and buying Britain’s military equipment and expertise, then they are quite happy to go along with it. Especially now that the Brexit thing is happening. They need to be making money some way, and I think that war is a really good way of inflating those bottom lines. And I think when it comes down to it, I don’t think that human rights hold, I don’t think that democracy matters anymore. All they care about is making money and the war complex is making them billions of dollars. Of course, they are making the argument trying to rationalize war, trying to say that it is legal, trying to play with words, treaties, and agreements saying that it was sold before there was any legislation passed on cluster munitions and whatnot. We are arguing technicalities here. When it comes to human life, I would like to think that people agree that cluster munitions are an abomination full stop. And I don’t think that time should apply here.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.