The war in Yemen has left everything in pieces. The life has stopped, the economy has fallen, and people are literally surviving on boiled leaves, yet revenue through weapons is what remains to be the utmost priority for Western economies. The war, which began back in 2015, has witnessed more than 57,000 people die, and at the forefront is Yemen’s outstretched hand asking for assistance.
The UK is one of the major supplier of weapons to the Saudi-led coalition, and the British government claims to have assisted Yemen by giving more than £570m to the nation in bilateral aid since the war began.
Ironically, the amount is just a superficial effort compared to the value of weapons sold to the Saudi-led coalition. According to the stats, Britain has licenses worth at least £4.7bn of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, and £860m to its coalition partners since the commencement of the war.
Both, Britain and US have been the key allies to Saudi-led coalition by providing them with arms, intelligence, logistics, military training and also diplomatic cover-ups for the nation. However, the situation in Yemen has triggered constitutional debates, with the US senators asking for immediate halt in supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Besides, recently a Democrat congressional resolution invoked the 1973 War Powers Act to end US involvement in the war in Yemen, but it was stopped by a Republican procedural rule change.
In the UK, Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) in 2016 failed to draw conclusion on whether or not to recommend a suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Ironically, Britain’s own constitution states that it cannot sell weapons to countries where they foresee a clear risk that they might be used in ‘violation of human rights’. However, the UK continues to supply the weapons by wholly blaming Houthi’s for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
War is the primary cause of annihilation, famine and disease in Yemen. It is clear that the coalition is inflicting more deaths than all other forces fighting in Yemen, including the Houthi’s. Nevertheless, the governments of UK and US continue to turn a blind eye on the matter.