DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:45) – The sales of weaponry by the United Kingdom to the Saudi regime has surged by nearly 500% since the start of the Saudi invasion of Yemen in 2015. Between the outbreak of the war and now, more than 4.6 billion pounds (over 6 billion dollars) worth of arms have been sold to the kingdom, according to British newspaper The Independent.
The Saudi war against Yemen has claimed at least 5,295 civilian lives according to official UN numbers, with the real number likely to be far higher. The conflict has also caused a massive outbreak of cholera and has left millions on the brink of famine.
This does not seem to have slowed down UK weapons sales one bit, however. Figures from the Department for International Trade (DIT) reveal that the UK government spent £1.9bn on licences for bombs and missiles for Saudi Arabia in the past two years, a 457% increase since before the start of the war. Aircraft licenses have also risen by 70% compared to before 2015, reflecting the steady rise of Saudi air bombing raids during the war.
The constant sale of weapons to the Riyadh regime has been met with protest from several human rights organisations, as well as the opposition Labour Party. During its annual conference in September, Labour barred Saudi representatives from attending, and chairman Jeremy Corbyn called on London to stop supplying Saudi Arabia with weapons.