17th October, 2018
The tepid response of the Western Governments to the vanishing of prominent Saudi Arabian opposition Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, reveals the hypocrisy of the kingdom’s allies.
Andrew Smith, the Spokesman for the UK Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) Non-Governmental Organisation, told Sputnik on Wednesday that the hypocrisy chose to ignore Riyadh’s human rights abuses for the sake of expensive arms deals.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, went missing on Oct. 2.
He was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul, where he went to receive papers he needed to remarry.
Turkey had expressed concerns that Khashoggi could have been murdered inside the building, but the Saudi Government had denied involvement in the case, claiming that the journalist disappeared after he left the consulate.
“There is no doubt that the Saudi regime has a long proven contempt for human rights and this isn’t something that should come as a surprise; in some respects, this latest incident is just exposing the hypocrisy of governments that have supported the Saudi regime for decades and decades,’’ Smith argued.
He added that the driving force of the relationship between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia were multimillion-dollar arms deals that Riyadh needs for its intervention in the Yemeni civil war.
“This has been catastrophic it has been catastrophic for Saudi people and for people in Yemen.
“We know that when the Saudi Crown Prince was in London in February he got the red carpet treatment.
“He got visits to Buckingham Palace, visits to Downing Street and dinner with Prince William and so on. We know when that visit took place a large part of it was about arms deals,’’ Smith indicated.
Smith said he believed that the UK government was unlikely to deliver a tough response to the case since it would meet the opposition of government ministers and major arms companies.
“Ultimately they have for decades prioritised arms exports ahead of human rights and prioritised arms company profits ahead of the lives of Saudi and Yemeni people as well,’’ Smith stressed.
According to Smith, the only positive development that the case might take would be the increased attention of the international community to Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record.
“I think that if any good can come out of this scenario it’s that it has finally drawn attention to the terrible human rights abuses that are taking place. The Saudi regime has had an appalling human rights record, including inflicting abuses against journalists,’’ Smith pointed out.
According to information provided by the CAAT, the United Kingdom has licensed arms worth almost 6.6 billion dollars to Saudi Arabia since March 2015.
The anti-arms group has repeatedly criticised the UK for delivering arms to the kingdom, stressing that it made London complicit in Riyadh’s human rights abuses, and called on the government to halt arms supplies to Gulf states.