Earlier this week, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) failed in its attempt to stop the UK government selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. The premise of such action was to somewhat prevent for Yemen’s bloodshed to carry on unabated, and more importantly still to lift the veil on Britain’s new brand of capitalism – that based on the blood of the innocent.
If many still will argue that state officials must practice pragmatism over idealism as to serve the interests of their people best, one must ponder then over the nature of that regime Britain is empowering against Yemen.
Violent among all violent nations, Saudi Arabia’s theocracy has saw flow rivers of blood already so that its Wahhabist rule could be asserted King over communities and faiths.
While no one argues that wars will be fought and that nations will profit from war – such is the nature of our reality, we may yet want to rethink those we empower since their ire could lead to all our destruction.
The only argument to be had if we want to argue pragmatism is what a hyper-militarised Saudi Arabia would mean for Great Britain. If Qatar is anything to go by, Britain might soon find itself in hot waters should it ever dare oppose the absolute rule of an increasingly megalomaniac kingdom.
he Guardian reduced the High Court decision to a failed exercise in activism when it wrote:
“CAAT launched the judicial review of the government’s decision to continue granting weapons-export licences to Saudi Arabia despite widespread concern over the civilian death toll of its two-year bombing campaign in Yemen.
CAAT called the ruling a “green light” for the UK government to sell arms to “brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers”.
Delivering an open judgment in the high court in London, Lord Justice Burnett, who heard the case with Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, said: “We have concluded that the material decisions of the secretary of state were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim.””
Although yes of course such ruling flies in the face of human decency, and most certainly the law itself since humanitarian law violations have been in fact many and cruel to the extent one may qualify them as genocidal, it is what such decision implies that is most troubling.
The CAAT spokesman, Andrew Smith, said:
“This is a very disappointing verdict and we are pursuing an appeal. If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.”
And: “Every day we are hearing new and horrifying stories about the humanitarian crisis that has been inflicted on the people of Yemen. Thousands have been killed while vital and lifesaving infrastructure has been destroyed.” The case had exposed the UK’s “toxic relationship” with Saudi Arabia.
But what lies beyond?
I would say that beyond all the politicking and the legal exercises exists a reality we have collectively fail to grasp – that of neo-capitalism.
Our western democracies are no longer subservient to the will of the people, rather they answer to the diktat of corporations which sole purpose is to inflate their respective bottom lines, beyond all sense of national duty, loyalty, or moral.
This new system of governance of course has been wielded by this neocon elite for whom war is a goddess one should never refuse. But serving War carries inherent dangers …
By becoming an accessory to genocide in Yemen, Britain is betraying its own sovereignty, and its own national security.
But here is another question to ponder over: Had Britain a choice? Could Prime Minister Theresa May really stand up to al-Saud if she wanted to? I’m afraid the answer would be to the negative.
Britain is selling weapons to Saudi Arabia because it has to. Of course greed is playing a huge part in this equation, but as we stand today Britain is a political prisoner of its own capitalistic greed turned cannibalistic.
James Lynch, Amnesty International’s head of arms control, said:
“Irrespective of this ruling, the UK and other governments should end their shameless arms supplies to Saudi Arabia. They may amount to lucrative trade deals, but the UK risks aiding and abetting these terrible crimes.”
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: “This sets back arms control 25 years and gives ministers free rein to sell arms to countries even where there is clear evidence they are breaching international humanitarian law. With little legal oversight on arms sales, it is now imperative that parliament holds the government to account.”
Such comments are based on the premise that Britain is still in charge of its political destiny. What if it wasn’t?
What if those sword dancers in Riyadh are dancing now on the very head of western democracies?
The idea is indeed chilling!
Yemen I have often argued should really serve as a cautionary tale – a window into the devolution that is Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist hegemonic ambition. If a country such as Yemen can be reduced to rubbles and its communities massacred without so much as a whisper, can we guarantee that such wrath will never turn on the western world?
One may even posit that Saudi Arabia already declared to Britain since it has rendered its justice system invalid.
*(London, UK. 11th July, 2016. Human rights campaigners initially occupied the space inside the Science Museum due to host arms dealers at an official reception for the Farnborough International arms fair. The protest, organised by the Campaign Against The Arms Trade, objected in particular to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which are used in human rights abuses against the Yemeni people. Image credit: Campaign Against Arms Trade/ flickr).