Friday, May 24, 2019

Who really cares about Yemen?

While Italian workers express solidarity with their Yemeni fellow-workers by refusing to load two electricity generators onto a Saudi Arabian ship. The 'Bahri-Yanbu' had been loaded arms in Antwerp earlier this month before pulling into port in Genoa.

Unions in the northern Italian city initially lobbied to have the vessel banned, but their efforts failed and the Bahri-Yanbu docked there earlier this week. It was met by protesters. Union workers then refused to load the generators. 

The 'Bahri-Yanbu' had also met with a hostile reception in France in early May when it docked in the Normandy port of Le Havre. The vessel left without a cargo of weapons on 9 May, after a rights group ACAT tried to block the cargo on humanitarian grounds.

Meanwhile, in contrast to these humanitarian efforts weasel politicians seek loopholes so that they can continue supplying Saudi Arabia.

In the UK, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, negotiated a loophole in a German arms export ban to Saudi Arabia that will ensure UK-supplied planes will continue to be used in the war in Yemen. The aircraft, Tornado fighter bombers and Eurofighter Typhoons, are used in the Saudi bombing raids in the four-year civil war in Yemen.

The aircraft were developed by consortiums of European companies and Germany supplies spares for them. The two wings of the German coalition government became embroiled in a tense battle this year over whether to extend a pre-existing ban on arms sales to Saudi. They reached a complex compromise last month, which appears to have satisfied British concerns about the viability of the UK-supplied aircraft.

Andrew Mitchell, the former Conservative international development secretary, said, “It is shameful and a profound moral failure that the UK has been unable to persuade Saudi and Emirati allies to end the bombing of innocent Yemeni civilians.” 

In the United States, the Trump administration is considering an emergency declaration that would allow it to make an arms shipment to Saudi Arabia without the approval of Congress. 

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

Trump, declaring a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress on Friday to complete the sale of over $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

“President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove ... There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there,” said Senator Chris Murphy.

Pompeo listed a wide range of products and services that would be provided to the countries. They include Raytheon precision-guided munitions (PGMs), support for Boeing Co F-15 aircraft, and Javelin anti-tank missiles, which are made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp. Other companies that will benefit include General Electric, now cleared to sell engines for use in F-16 fighter jets operated by the UAE and the U.S. unit of French firm Thales, which was cleared to sell a fuzing system for Paveway IV precision guided bombs to Britain and the UAE.
It will also likely be welcome news for Britain’s BAE Systems Plc and Europe’s Airbus, clearing the way for installation of Paveway laser-guided bombs on European-built Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets sold to Saudi Arabia, as well F-15 fighters built by Boeing.