By Walt Finch
JEREMY Corbyn has demanded the cessation of arms sales to Saudi Arabia that drive the killing of children and the destruction of an entire country.
Days before US President Joe Biden halted American support for the Saudi incursion, Corbyn made the call at an online Stop the War global rally as he introduced his new initiative, the Project for Peace and Justice.
The former Labour leader said: “Those arms sales are absolutely incredible; $90 billion of arms sales over five years to Saudi Arabia, even more to neighbouring countries in the region. Massive profits for the arms industry and massive destruction for the people of Yemen.
“I want us to look at the way profits are being made from the killing of children and the destruction of an entire country, and the proxy war that is being sought by a number of countries between Saudi Arabia and Iran is part of this.”
The Saudi-led incursion into Yemen began in 2015 when Riyadh feared a Houthi revolution was afoot.
By 2019, the UN Development Programme estimated that 233,000 people had died as a result of the fighting and the humanitarian crisis.
Corbyn lamented the growth of the billionaire class in certain parts of the world thriving in tax havens while their bombs fall on the people of Yemen.
He added that it is profits for western arms companies that are driving the humanitarian disaster of cholera, Covid, hunger and poverty in Yemen.
The relentless bombing of schools and hospitals and the loss of so many children’s lives only adds to the misery.
“In 2003, we mounted that huge demonstration against the Iraq war, we warned that war in Iraq would have untold consequences of terrorism of poverty of the refugee flows and the wars of tomorrow,” he said.
“Sadly, we were not wrong on any of those things, all of which have come to pass.
“A global movement can stop the war in Yemen, can stop the arm supplies; it can stop and choke off what is killing the people of Yemen.”
A UK government spokesman said: “The UK operates one of the most comprehensive export control regimes in the world.
“The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and rigorously assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria.
“We are leading international efforts to secure a political solution to end the conflict and we regularly raise the importance of human rights with the parties to the conflict, including the Saudi-led Coalition.
“The UK takes seriously all alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law.”
According to Sinn Fein MP John Finucane, speaking at the same event, 80% of the Yemeni population relies on humanitarian aid as budgets dry up year-on-year, and Covid mortality rates are five times the global average.
Meanwhile, 7 million people are facing famine and there are as many as 2.4 million malnourished children.
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