The visit by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has highlighted UK responsiblities in the devastating war
Two announcements marked the end of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the UK on Friday. First came a £100m aid deal, promptly branded a “national disgrace”. While DfID says it will pool expertise to boost infrastructure in poor countries, critics say that it is meant to whitewash the reputation of Saudi Arabia, which needs such PR thanks to its leading role in the war in Yemen.
Enter announcement two, from BAE Systems. Saudi Arabia is near a long-delayed deal to buy 48 Typhoon fighters. The country’s military already have 72; some are being used in Yemen. The Campaign Against Arms Trade says the UK has licensed £4.6bn of arms sales to Riyadh since the bombardment began in 2015. Though Theresa May reportedly raised her “deep concerns” about the war with the crown prince, Britain boasts of providing humanitarian aid while supplying the weapons that fuel the world’s worst manmade humanitarian crisis and supporting the Saudi air campaign.