UK Parliament: Inquiry into the use of British arms in Yemen, ending March 25, 2016
This inquiry has been welcomed by many, but I cannot help it, but I really have a much more critical approach to that inquiry. Where is it really for? There already had been a parliament inquiry in December 2015 on the Yemen war, with quite a lot of evidence given, evidence. This was a bulk of evidence showing the dimension of the destructions, losses and victims by the Saudi coalition air raids, and by that proving that the Saudi side had committed a lot of war crimes in this war.
And after this inquiry, there had been a resolution by the European parliament requiring a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. It should be evident that British weapons bought by the Saudis have been used in this war in the same way as weapons imported from other countries. If Britain had exported a plenty of weapons to Saudi Arabia, they will have been more often used than weapons exported by another country, let us say Belgium. So what about this inquiry?
By this new inquiry, the critics of British arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States now are required to proof – attack by attack – that especially British arms have been used. That will be difficult up to impossible in the most cases. To identify the air plans raging over your head while you are running for a shelter? Seeing whether they are (British) Typhoon Eurofighters or American F-15 bombers? The greater part of attacks happening at night –still a greater job to identify the planes, really.
The bombs dropped – were they really British? There are a lot of images and films showing the victims and the destruction of the raids. Well, now parliament asks whether the bombs dropped on some mountain village really were British or not. The village is in ruins and many people are killed, anyway. The whole intention of this inquiry sounds odd to me. I only now two cases for certain, when British bombs have been used. But what is the evidence of that? That there are just 2 out of 16.000 air raids in which British bombs had been dropped?
The Saudis have bought a plenty of British bombs, BAE Typhoon Eurofighters form a major part of the Saudi air fleet. British arms export to Saudi Arabia really had exploded since the beginning of the Yemen war. Thus, if x % of the bombs bought by the Saudis und y % of their air fleet being BAE Typhoons, statistics and reality just tell us that x % of the bombs dropped on Yemen are British and y % of the air planes used for that are British, only unless you clearly have different evidence.
Or who really will believe that the bombs they bought from the British just will be stapled in the Saudi arsenals, while only American, Italian etc. made bombs are dropped? Who really will believe that the BAE Typhoons mostly stay on the ground, that just US bombers flying all the raids? That would be nonsense just unless otherwise PROVED.
Thus, I think the result of this inquiry will be that only in very few cases it can really be proved that British arms and equipment is involved. The result of this inquiry will serve the Tory government – which always has proofed to be almost “horny” for selling arms to Saudi Arabia – to claim that they now have got the proof that British arms exports almost are not involved in the Yemen war, and they so have the right to continue their arms exports. Well, anybody would know that this claim would be a folly – but it will be no greater folly than for instance the permanent claim of Mr. Ellwood that there is no evidence for Saudi air strikes hitting civilians, telling this again and again like a broken disk against all evidence.
Thus, in any case, probability calculation, logics and common sense tell us that British weapons are very often used in the Yemen war, killing, injuring and destroying.
In “The Independent”, Andrew Smith wrote on March, 14: “Despite this enthusiasm for arms sales, UK arms export law is very clear. It says that licences for military equipment should not be granted if there is a “clear risk” that it “might” be used in violation of international humanitarian law. By any reasonable interpretation these criteria should surely prohibit all arms sales to Saudi Arabia that could be used in Yemen.” There nothing has to be added.