MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — On Thursday, the UK Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) launched an inquiry into the use of UK-produced arms in the Yemen conflict. Committee Chairman Chris White noted that the financial success of the UK defense industry should not come at the cost of the UK strategic interests.
"The parliamentary inquiry will have influence, but it does not have the power to change government policy. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the world's largest buyer of UK arms," Andrew Smith said.
On Tuesday, Leigh Day law firm, representing CAAT, began formal legal action in the High Court to challenge the government's decision to export arms to Saudi Arabia following evidence that Saudi forces are acting in violation of the international humanitarian law in Yemen.
"The government is supposed to regulate the arms industry, yet it also actively promotes it. All too often arms sales and arms company profits are put ahead of humanitarian need. The situation in Yemen is desperate, and the bombing campaign has exacerbated the civil war and created a humanitarian catastrophe. The UK hasn't just provided military support for the bombardment, it has also provided political support," Smith added.
A Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched airstrikes against the Houthis in March last year at Hadi's request.
In January, the UK government released arms sales statistics demonstrating that British arms companies had boosted their sales to Saudi Arabia by more than 100 times over the course of last year — from contracts worth 9 million pounds (almost $13 million) in April-June 2015 to over 1 billion pounds ($1.43 billion) in July-September.