THE NEWS yesterday that analysis by UK government officials that British-made cluster bombs are being used by the Saudi-led coalition in its war against the people of Yemen comes as no surprise.
It has long been known that these bombs, sold by Britain to the reactionary Saudi regime, have been indiscriminately dropped on civilian areas in the Houthi-controlled regions in Yemen.
Cluster bombs are made up of mini-bomblets that can explode much later and are specifically designed to kill as many civilians as possible. Such was the outcry against them, that in 2010 their use was banned by international treaty which the UK government signed up to.
Under this treaty, the Cluster Munitions Convention, the British government is committed to destroying all existing stocks and working to prevent other countries from using them – Saudi Arabia refused to sign up.
Far from working to prevent the Saudis and their allies from using these illegal munitions, the Tories are bending over backwards to duck the issue while at the same time flogging billions of more arms to the feudalist regime.
Yesterday it emerged that that the results of this inquiry were made known to defence secretary Michael Fallon a month ago and promptly sat upon. Even after the news leaked out, the Ministry of Defence refused to comment merely saying ‘the government takes such allegations very seriously’, adding: ‘We have analysed the case carefully using all available information, considering all possibilities, and raised the issue with the Saudi-led coalition.’
Just like Theresa May claimed to have ‘raised the issue’ with the Saudis back in September when she met the monarchy’s deputy crown prince at the G20 summit in China.
She used that excuse then when faced with the demand from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to halt all arms sales to the Saudis on the grounds that they were facing accusations of war crimes.
May defended selling them arms by insisting that close ties with them ‘keeps people on the streets of Britain safe.’ How a genocidal war against the Yemeni people keeps the streets of Britain safe May didn’t bother to explain. Nor can she, or her defence secretary, explain why the use of illegal weapons, which in itself constitutes a war crime, comes as such a surprise to them.
They freely admit that British armed forces along with US personnel are embedded with the Saudi coalition forces. They are valued for their expertise in identifying the targets to be hit by the coalition war planes.
They know full well the extent of the indiscriminate bombing and the use of illegal cluster bombs because they are directing them and orchestrating the entire murderous campaign. The Tory government along with its imperialist masters in the US are guilty of war crimes in the Yemen just as they are throughout the world.
In the US, the fight by Obama to cover up Saudi war crimes, and at the same time protect the US from legal action over its own war crimes, is apparent, with the Saudis lobbying frantically to amend the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).
This Act, which Obama tried to veto, allows claims for damages from the Saudi regime by relatives of the 9/11 Twin Towers terrorist attack victims who hold them to be ‘sponsors’ of the attack. 15 of the 19 hijackers involved were Saudi subjects and it is alleged some had close ties to members of the Saudi ruling dynasty.`
Obama tried to veto the act on the grounds that it would open the US up to private lawsuits over its own military actions abroad, including invading Iraq and bombing the daylights out of Libya and the murder of both leaders of these countries, along with the millions of innocent civilians killed to effect regime change and seize control of their oil wealth.
The real war criminals are the leaders of these imperialist powers and their reactionary allies in the Gulf States – they must be brought to trial to answer for these crimes against humanity. This will be achieved through the overthrow of imperialism by the victory of the world socialist revolution.