BRITAIN has been arming and advising a Saudi air force that “does not see the difference” between a military or civilian target, Emily Thornberry said today.
The shadow foreign secretary’s condemnation comes after a Saudi-led coalition air attack on Yemen struck a schoolbus of children heading through a busy market yesterday morning, killing more than 40 people, mostly children, and injuring about 60.
She said that the air force “cannot tell or does not see the difference between a legitimate military target and a bus full of children, a family wedding, or a civilian food market.”
Ms Thornberry also admonished Prime Minister Theresa May for leaving the Saudi Crown Prince with her “fawning praise ringing in his ears” when visited London five months ago — and for renewing her government’s commitment to supply arms to support his disastrous military intervention in impoverished Yemen.
She said: “In those five months, it is the Saudi-led coalition that has inflicted the bulk of civilian casualties, as a result of its air strikes, its ground offensives, and its ongoing restriction of access for food, fuel, medicine, clean water and other essential humanitarian aid.
“How much longer is this Tory government going to abdicate its responsibility as pen-holder on Yemen at the UN security council without bringing forward a new resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire on all sides, an independent investigation of all war crimes and forcing all sides to the negotiating table?”
Yesterday the Star reported figures from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, which show that Britain has licensed £4.7 billion worth of aircraft and weapons since the bombing campaign against Yemen started in 2015.
Former British diplomat Mark Griffiths, the UN’s envoy to the country, warned today that Yemen is at risk of becoming a “Syria-plus” if the conflict there is left unresolved.
He said he feared “massive, massive humanitarian suffering” if a solution to the conflict between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Iran-supported Houthi rebels is not found.
“In my judgement the war in Yemen will get more complicated the longer it goes on,” he said.
“There will be more international interest and polarisation in terms of the parties, it will fragment further, it will be more difficult to resolve — even than it is now.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.