It emerged yesterday that the UK is training Saudi Army troops who are being used to suppress demonstrators against the feudal monarchy in Bahrain, where hundreds have been killed and injured.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted that British military personnel run courses in ‘weapons, fieldcraft and general military skills training, as well as incident handling, bomb disposal, search, public order and sniper training’.
On Friday, Defence Minister Nick Harvey made a written reply in the House of Commons to a question from Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards.
Edwards asked ‘whether the British Military Mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard trained any of the Saudi Arabian forces which were deployed in Bahrain; and if he will make a statement.’
Harvey’s written reply was: ‘The Ministry of Defence has extensive and wide-ranging bilateral engagement with Saudi Arabia in support of the Government’s wider foreign policy goals.
‘The Ministry of Defence’s engagement with Saudi Arabia includes training provided to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, delivered through the British mission.
‘It is possible that some members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard which were deployed in Bahrain may have undertaken some training provided by the British military mission.’
On March 30, Harvey had confirmed to the House of Commons that there were 110 British troops stationed in Bahrain.
Meanwhile, Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi’s wife, Safiya Farkash Al Gadaffi, has hit out at NATO over the air strikes and the death of one of her children, Saif al-Arab Gadaffi, who was killed by an air strike late last month.
She told CNN: ‘I was not there, but I wished that I was, so that I may die with (Saif al-Arab).
‘My children are civilians, and they have been targeted. What do they have to do with this?’
Referring to the International Criminal Court, she added: ‘I want them to prosecute NATO. They killed my son and the Libyan people.
‘They are defaming our reputation. They are committing war crimes, and accusing us of embezzling billions from the Libyan people. My conscience wouldn’t allow such things.’
She vowed that she and Muammar ‘will live or die alongside the Libyan people,’ adding: ‘What would I want with life now? All I want out of life now is that the truth be heard. In the end, history will judge us.’