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Apr
2016
Saturday 16th
posted by Paddy McGuffin in Britain

BRITISH military personnel have provided nearly 400 hours of targeting training to Saudi Arabian forces since the start of the bombing campaign they lead in Yemen.

Human rights organisation Reprieve released the information yesterday after it made a freedom of information request of the government.

The official response details a variety of training courses given by British personnel to Saudi air and land forces since the bombardment commenced in March 2015.

In July 2015, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told Parliament that Britain provided “no aircraft or training in direct support of Saudi operations.”

But it emerged in January that British advisers were present in Saudi military control rooms.

“Claims by ministers that Britain is helping the Saudi government abide by the law are disingenuous,” said Reprieve caseworker Omran Belhadi.

“Extensive British ‘targeting training’ has done nothing to prevent the bombing of schools, hospitals and weddings and the deaths of thousands of Yemeni civilians.”

Human rights groups have expressed grave concern over Britain’s involvement in a campaign which has been strongly criticised for the number of civilian deaths caused by the aerial assaults.

In fact, the UN has accused Saudi Arabia of “widespread and systematic” attacks on civilians in Yemen.

“The UK claims its support to the Saudi-led campaign is necessary to combat terrorism — but killing innocents doesn’t make us safer,” said Mr Belhadi.

“Ministers must urgently reconsider the UK’s support for these abuses.”

That support has included “targeting courses” for the Saudi Air Force by RAF specialists in artillery, targeting and “weaponeering” — designing attacks around weaponry — as well as training in the “better employment” of the British-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missile. 




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