Last UK government licensed £4.1 billion arms sales to Middle East, says CAAT

By agency reporter
June 3, 2017

Using government figures,  Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), has calculated that the UK has licensed over £4.1 billion of arms sales to the Middle East since the last election in May 2015. Two-thirds of all UK arms exports go to the Middle East.

CAAT's Andrew Smith  said, "For decades now the UK has poured arms into the Middle East. Whoever is elected next Thursday must think about the damage these arms can do, and the terrible regimes they are supporting."

By far the largest buyer of British weapons was Saudi Arabia, which purchased arms to the value of £3.3 billion. Other countries who purchased British weapons included Egypt, Bahrian, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait and Turkey.  Saudi Arabia has used UK fighter jets and bombs in its ongoing bombardment of Yemen, a conflict which has killed more than 10,000 people.

Andrew Smith said,"These arms sales do not make any of us any safer. They fuel war and conflict by providing political and military support for some of the most brutal and oppressive regimes in the world. If the UK is to be a force for good in the region then it must end its policy of military interventionism, which has seen the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and stop selling arms to brutal dictatorships like Saudi Arabia."

The legality of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia is currently the subject of a Judicial Review, following an application by CAAT. The claim calls on the government to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with UK and EU legislation. The verdict is still pending.

Read more about the Judicial Review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia here

*Campaign Against Arms Trade

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