Friday, February 10, 2017

Jolly Old Pals

Saudi Arabia is quite likely the worst state in the world, perhaps second only to North Korea. You don't have to look for anecdotes - potential aberrations from the norm - to know this. The legal status of women in that society is enough, though not even the only issue. But we're all jolly old pals. Occasionally I read "great game" explanations for this which never actually make sense to me, probably because I'm not Very Serious enough. But as long as the anglosphere is their pals and extremely happy to sell them weapons I'm unlikely to listen to anyone talking about our noble humanitarian interventions.
Boris Johnson pressed Liam Fox to continue exports of weapons to Saudi Arabia after the bombing of a funeral in Yemen last October that killed over 140 people and was condemned by UN monitors.

Correspondence between the ministers shows that a month after the strike, Johnson, the foreign secretary, wrote: “I am aware you have deferred a decision on four export licence applications to supply the Royal Saudi Air Force with equipment which could be used in the conflict in Yemen.”

In the letter dated 8 November, Johnson advised the trade secretary it was right to proceed with the arms sales. “The issue is extremely finely balanced, but I judge at present the Saudis appear committed both to improving processes and to taking action to address failures/individual incidents,” he said.

Not that our own hands are clean on this, of course, but at least when we're doing the bombing we sort of own it. Letting others pay us (or the UK) for the privilege is even grosser.