Under the title “WORLD WAR 3 will be fought ‘with British weapons’ as UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia soar”, Simon Osborne wrote an article in the Express on 9th November. He said that “more than £4.6bn of British-made bombs and missiles were sold to the Saudis in the first two years of airstrikes which amounts to an increase of almost 500 per cent. Figures from the Department for International Trade (DIT) show in the two years leading up to the Yemen war, £33m of ML4 licences covering bombs, missiles and countermeasures were approved. But in the two years since the start of Saudi bombing in March 2015, the figure increased by 457 per cent to £1.9bn, according to Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT). Licences covering aircraft including Eurofighter jets rose by 70 per cent to £2.6bn in the same period.”
Meanwhile, The United Nations said air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition were the main cause of almost 5,295 civilian deaths and 8,873 casualties confirmed so far, warning that the real figure is “likely to be far higher”. It said that British-made bombs have been found at the scene of bombings deemed to violate international law but the UK has continued its political and material support for Riyadh’s campaign. Amnesty International UK said a total halt to British arms exports to Saudi Arabia was “long overdue”. Polly Truscott, its foreign affairs analyst, told the Independent: “When the High Court made its very disappointing ruling in the summer, we said there was a clear human rights need for the UK and other governments to stop selling arms to the Saudi coalition unless they were willing to risk becoming a party to terrible crimes in Yemen. “These figures are a further reminder of how the UK Government is apparently more interested in the financial bottom line for the arms industry, than in the need to protect civilians.”
In a rare exercise of its war-making role, the US House of Representatives on 13th November overwhelmingly passed a resolution explicitly stating that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized under legislation passed by Congress to fight terrorism or invade Iraq. It states, in part, that U.S. military operations are authorized to fight only Al Qaeda and other allied terrorist groups in Yemen, not Shiite Muslim rebels. “To date,” the resolution says, “Congress has not enacted specific legislation authorizing the use of military force against parties participating in the Yemeni civil war that are not otherwise subject to” the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force or the 2003 AUMF in Iraq. The House resolution “expresses the urgent need for a political solution in Yemen consistent with Security Council Resolution 2216 … or otherwise agreed to by the parties,” and “denounces the conduct of activities in Yemen and areas affected by conflict that are, directly or indirectly, inconsistent with the laws of armed conflict, including the deliberate targeting of civilian populations or the use of civilians as human shields.”
On 10th November Saudi kangaroo court has sentenced human rights woman activist, Na’eema Al Matrood to six years in jail and travel ban for further six years after completing her prison term. She had been arrested for the first time on 23rd February and again on 13th April 2016. The charges include taking part in protests and demonstrations, membership of media network, running two social media outlets on Twitter and Facebook and calling for release of political prisoners.
In Bahrain the daily popular protests have continued unabated. Scores of protests and demonstrations took place in Karzakkan, Abu Saiba. Shakhoura, Daih, Ma’amir and other towns. Although these protests have become a routine, they reflect deep conviction that eventually the world will pay attention and realise that supporting the criminal tribal junta is betting on a losing horse.
In its 2017 report, Freedom House has classified Bahrain as “Not Free”. It cited the closure of internet services in Duraz, the banning of the websites of political societies, the imposition of strict regime on social media, and the closure of AlWasat newspaper as symptomatic of deliberate policy to curtail freedoms.
On Monday 13th November Alkhalifa junta’s military court adjourned the trial of several Bahraini natives to 30th November for the fourth time. The victims had been forcibly disappeared for up to one year while regime’s torturers were compiling false evidence extracted under torture. Even regime’s media was banned from covering the secret pseudo-trials for fear of leaking the most horrific forms of torture inflicted on the victims. On Sunday, the dictator’s propaganda machine announced that Sheikh Ali Salman, Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Alswad (leaders of the Al-Wefaq Society and former MPs) had been sent to the criminal court on several charges including “spying for Qatar. The case is fabricated on the basis of an initiative undertaken by Qatar in the weeks after the Revolution started in 2011. It was done with regime’s knowledge. The case shows how low the criminal regime has sunk and how it twists facts.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
15th November 2017 (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vob.org)