‘Grim Irony’: Saudi Strikes Uses British Intel to Destroy UK Aid Facilities in Yemen


Human Wrongs Watch

4 November 2018 (teleSUR)* A vital cholera treatment center in Abs, in the Hajjah province, was hit in June in airstrikes which are supported by British intelligence, reported by the Independent.
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British-backed Saudi bombing destroyed Oxfam facilities in Yemen, said the United Kingdom charity.

The information about the destruction of facilities of the humanitarian organization emerged during last week’s parliamentary debates in the House of Commons where U.K. ministres were evaluating the impact of the country’s arms sale to Riyadh.

A vital cholera treatment center in Abs, in the Hajjah province, was hit in June in airstrikes which are supported by British intelligence, according to British news outlet Independent.

The location of the treatment facility was notified 12 times. In April, coalition air raids damaged an Oxfam supported water supply system that provided water for 6,000 people.

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“On the one hand, British aid is a vital lifeline, on the other, British bombs are helping to fuel an ongoing war that is leading to countless lives being lost each week to fighting, disease, and hunger,” said Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Toni Pearce.

“The UK continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, whose coalition bombing campaign in Yemen has cut off vital food supplies, destroyed hospitals, and homes, and hit aid programmes funded by British taxpayers.”

The U.K. has sold an estimate of US$5 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since its proxy war in Yemen to oust the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in 2015.

The U.K. government has recently come under pressure to halt arms sale to Riyadh, especially after the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the kingdom. Germany and Switzerland already took the step.

U.K. government previously said that its intelligence support and training of the Saudi led-forces aims to help reduce civilian casualties but the latest report by Yemen Data Project showed that 48 percent of all known airstrikes had hit unarmed civilians and non-military targets.

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The Saudi-led war in Yemen is witnessing worst famine as civilian casualties increase each passing day.

Britain’s Labour party had strongly called for a halt on arms sale. Emily Thornberry, the shadow secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, from Labour party, wrote an article on Oct. 13 for The Guardian criticizing the government’s inaction against the Saudi kingdom despite concrete evidence of its crimes domestically and abroad.

“And yet this government apparently urges us to forget all of that because Bin Salman has committed himself to allowing women in Saudi Arabia to have the right to drive their own cars. And, more importantly, as far as it is concerned, he will give us a good trade deal after Brexit so we can continue exporting the arms he is using to prosecute his brutal war against the people of Yemen,” she said adding that a Labour government will not show same compromise while dealing with Saudi Arabia.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, who sits on the International Development Committee and the Committee on Arms Export Controls, said bombing their own aid was a “grim irony”.

This week Doctors Without Borders said their health facilities have been hit five times by the Saudi-led coalition since the war erupted in 2015, killing 21 patients and staff, and injuring 33 others.

The U.N. secretary-general  Antonio Guterres appealed to end the war in Yemen Friday. On Wednesday the United States secretary Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is urging Saudi Arabia to accept a ceasefire in Yemen and allow the country to rebuild itself.

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