Saturday, July 30, 2011

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia

First, they have announced the revocation of a substantial number of arms export licences. Indeed, according to the latest figures, between 27 January and 9 March this year more than 150 previously granted arms export licences were revoked. That serves to highlight the scale of the previous misjudgment.

Why, however, are those revocations limited to just four countries—Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain? Why have there been no revocations of arms exports to Syria, for example? Why, too, have there been no revocations of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, whose British-made armoured personnel carriers have rolled into Bahrain and are therefore complicit, as it were, in the appalling abuses of human rights there? Of course, I understand that Saudi Arabia is big money, is big oil, and is useful intelligence, but can the Government really justify such a blatant degree of inconsistency in their revocations policy?

Sir John Stanley MP, former Conservative Defence Ninister, now Chairman of the Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls
Official Report, House of Commons, May 16, 2011 Col 95

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