On Tuesday, January 31, the High Court of Justice in London initiated a judicial review of the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, even as the kingdom continues to lead an international coalition that has waged a war on Yemen for the past eight years. Over the course of three days, the court will hear a challenge brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against a decision taken by former Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia in July 2020. The UK is the second largest arms supplier in the world, after the US. In June 2019, the UK Court of Appeal had ruled in favor of a previous legal challenge by the CAAT, declaring that the government’s licensing grants for arms sales to Saudi Arabia were “irrational and therefore unlawful” in the absence of a proper assessment of whether Riyadh had a record of violating international humanitarian law (IHL), or the “laws of war,” in Yemen.
The State Department on Wednesday approved a potential $180 million arms sale for Taiwan amid heightened tensions with China over US support for the island. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the deal was for vehicle-launched Volcano anti-tank munition-laying systems and related equipment. The primary contractors for the deal are Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation. The State Department’s approval notifies Congress of the potential deal and begins a period during which lawmakers could attempt to block the sale. But the sale shouldn’t have any issues as there is virtually no opposition to arming Taiwan in Congress. The potential sale comes after President Biden signed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $10 billion in loans for Taiwan to buy US-made arms that will be disbursed over five years.
Biden said last year that he enacted the ban but has pushed through arms sales for the Saudis since. Reuters reported on Monday that the Biden administration is considering lifting a ban on the sale of “offensive” weapons to Saudi Arabia as President Biden is preparing to visit the country. Sources told Reuters that the decision hinges on whether Riyadh makes progress toward ending its war in Yemen, where a ceasefire has been holding relatively well. The report said that the Biden administration wants the ceasefire to stick. In February 2021, Biden said he was ending support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen, a policy that included a ban on offensive weapons sales. But it was later revealed that US contractors were still maintaining Saudi warplanes that were bombing Yemen, and the Biden administration approved a sale of air-to-air missiles to the Kingdom in November 2021.
The United States approved a massive arms deal worth USD 2.5 billion with Egypt on Wednesday, January 26. The deal includes the sale of 12 Super Hercules C-130 aircraft and other related equipment worth USD 2.2 billion, along with an air defense radar system worth USD 355 million. The deal was cleared despite concerns raised by human rights groups and members of the US Congress about the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt. Several US politicians and rights groups have repeatedly urged the US government to take a tougher stance on the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Egyptian government under president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. According to reports, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US congress about the possible sale on Tuesday.
In 2020, when the global economy contracted over 3.1% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global arms trade recorded an increase of 1.3%, as per latest data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday, December 6. The growth in arms trade, both domestic and international, reveals how governments worldwide chose to maintain or increase their spending on arms despite the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. According to SIPRI, arms trade by the world’s top 100 companies in the sector touched USD 531 billion in 2020, making it the sixth consecutive year of growth since 2015. According to Alexander Marksteiner, a researcher with SIPRI, the main reason for the growth in arms trade in spite of the global economic slump was “sustained government demand for military goods and services.”
In an about-turn from its stated policy, the Joe Biden administration on Thursday, November 4, approved USD 650 million worth of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. The deal marks the first major arms sales deal with Saudi Arabia since Biden announced the end of US involvement in the war in Yemen and the sale of “offensive” weapons to Riyadh in February.
Canada’s ongoing arms sales to Saudi Arabia is being slammed as illegal under our UN commitments by Amnesty International and Project Ploughshares. And the international community is taking notice. A new report on Canada’s arms sales to the brutal Middle East regime earned coverage by the widely viewed Al Jazeera last week. “Canadian weapons transfers to the Gulf kingdom could be used to commit or facilitate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, the rights groups found, particularly in the ongoing conflict in Yemen,” Al Jazeera said on its website on August 11, 2021. The peace and human rights group’s report titled, “No Credible Evidence’: Canada’s Flawed Analysis of Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia,” accuses Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government of violating the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an international agreement that Canada became a party to in 2019.
Palestine Action Has Made Headlines For Its Forceful Commitment To Shutting Down The Arms Trade Between Israel And The U.K., Trying To Do With Direct Action What Anti-War Organizations Have Long Been Calling For.
London, Ontario - A small group of activists blocked a rail line in east London Friday, demanding the federal government cancel a contract to provide military vehicles to Saudi Arabia. About 15 people from various anti-war groups demonstrated on the railroad tracks at Clarke Road and Oxford Street East in London, just west of the General Dynamics Land Systems plant, which manufactures light armoured vehicles (LAVs). The protest was meant to stop any shipments of military vehicles bound for the middle eastern kingdom. No trains came through during the protest.
United Nations - The United Nations has rightly described the deaths and devastation in war-ravaged Yemen as the “world’s worst humanitarian disaster”— caused mostly by widespread air attacks on civilians by a coalition led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But rarely, if ever, has the world denounced the primary arms merchants, including the US and UK, for the more than 100,000 killings since 2015– despite accusations of “war crimes” by human rights organizations. The killings are due mostly to air strikes on weddings, funerals, private homes, villages and schools. Additionally, over 130,000 have died resulting largely from war-related shortages of food and medical care. Saudi Arabia, which had the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest arms importer during 2015–19, increased its imports by 130 percent, compared with the previous five-year period, and accounting for 12 percent of all global arms imports, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Rachel Small, Canada organizer for World BEYOND War, says the use by Saudi troops of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ontario has been well-documented in the war in Yemen where a humanitarian crisis is unfolding. “It’s despicable,” says Small, who notes that the U.S. has signalled it will be freezing arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its involvement in Yemen. Germany and Italy have also halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its involvement in a conflict that has its roots in the Arab Spring uprising in 2011. “It’s long past time for Canada to do the same,” Small says. CN is one of 28 Canadian companies involved in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and named in an open letter delivered to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday urging an end to Canada’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries taking part in the war in Yemen.
Donald Trump loves executive orders as a tool of dictatorial power, avoiding the need to work through Congress. But that works both ways, making it relatively easy for President Biden to reverse many of Trump’s most disastrous decisions. Here are ten things Biden can do as soon as he takes office. Each one can set the stage for broader progressive foreign policy initiatives, which we have also outlined. 1)End the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen and restore U.S. humanitarian aid to Yemen.
Despite presenting itself as a force for good and peace in the Middle East, the United States sells at least five times as much weaponry to Saudi Arabia than aid it donates to Yemen. The State Department constantly portrays itself as a humanitarian superpower with the welfare of the Yemeni people as its highest priority, yet figures released from the United Nations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that since the war in Yemen began, the U.S. government has given $2.56 billion in aid to the country, but sold over $13 billion in high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, the leader of the coalition prosecuting a relentless onslaught against the country.
Yes, it’s good news that Trump is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, though roughly 2500 troops will remain in each country when Joe Biden takes office in January. In short, Trump isn’t ending these wars; he’s merely reducing the number of boots on the ground. His Acting Defense Secretary, Chris Miller, described it as a “repositioning of forces from those two countries.” Repositioning! Perish the thought that the U.S. military might retreat or even withdraw. The answer is to “reposition” those deck chairs on the USS Titanic and its imperial wars, never mind the sinking feeling you may be experiencing.
This war between Azerbaijan and Armenia is, quite typically, a U.S. war even if the U.S. public doesn’t think so, even if the news is that the United States is trying to negotiate peace — news that includes zero mention of cutting off the weapons flow or even threatening to cut off the weapons flow. The Washington Post would like to send in the U.S. military — which it thinks is a simple and obvious solution. That claim is dependent on nobody even thinking of the idea of cutting off the weapons. This is not a Trump war or an Obama war.