Prince of war: ‘Salesman’ Charles used to push Saudi fighter jet deal for arms giant BAE
Heir to the throne Prince Charles faces renewed criticism over his role in the sale of British fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, which are now widely believed to have been used against civilians in the Gulf kingdom’s bloody Yemen intervention.
Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Margaret Ferrier said Charles’ late wife Princess Diana would have campaigned against Saudi Arabia’s bombing raids on Yemen, which human rights organizations claim have killed thousands of civilians.
Ferrier said the prince was sent to Saudi Arabia as a salesman in 2014 after Prime Minister David Cameron failed to convince Riyadh to enter into a multibillion-pound defence deal with BAE Systems.
The day after Charles was photographed awkwardly taking part in a traditional Saudi sword dance, Riyadh and BAE announced the deal had been finalised.
“People will recall the fantastic work of Princess Diana in raising awareness of landmines, leading to the success of the Ottawa mine ban treaty. Putting herself in danger in the process, she left behind a lasting legacy through her bold activism,” Ferrier said.
Diana was active in calling for the ban of landmines. The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund called on the US to end its use of cluster bombs against Afghanistan in 2003.
“If she were still here today, I have no doubt she would be a fierce advocate for the civilians suffering in the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”
Ferrier contrasted Diana’s campaigning with the British government’s determination to secure arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
“In 2014, when the prime minister could not convince the Saudis to agree to the financing of a multibillion-pound defence deal, Prince Charles was despatched to the Middle East to a festival supported by BAE Systems to perform a sword dance wearing traditional Saudi attire,” she said.
“The next day, Saudi Arabia and BAE announced the deal had been finalised. Great effort is put into maintaining our relationship and arms trade with Saudi Arabia.”
The Gulf kingdom has been accused of using illegal, British-made cluster bombs in its war on Yemen.
Human rights group Amnesty International has documented the discovery of a UK-made BL-755 cluster bomb in a village in Yemen.
British government denials that UK-supplied cluster bombs have been used in the ongoing conflict were met with skepticism by Amnesty, which described them as a “smokescreen of wildly implausible claims.”