The news from a certain middle eastern country was very depressing last weekend. Riven in recent years by a brutal civil war news broke on saturday that over 100 innocent civilians had been killed in a direct hit on a funeral - assembled by a terrible irony to remember earlier victims of the terrible civil war this country is experiencing.The perpetrator of this obscenity (and 'war crime' most certainly) was the airforce of a foreign power - a foreign power which has been propping up the unpopular regime in this country.
But dont expect to hear the bigoted bombastic Boris Johnson urge folk to protest outside that country's London embassy anytime soon. You see the foreign power i'm refering to isnt Russia and the country in which these slaughters of civilians is taking place isnt Syria - i'm refering to the murderous military campaign of Saudi Arabia in Yemen. https://theintercept.com/2016/10/10/u-s-and-u-k-continue-to-actively-participate-in-saudi-war-crimes-targeting-of-yemeni-civilians/
Dogged by conflict and division in the decades since the British colonists were driven out of what was Aden the Yemeni civil war began in 2015 when the largely Shia Houthis led a revolt against the corrupt administration of the Sunni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who the UN has reported stole 60 billion dollars from the Yemeni people during his 3 decades in power http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/yemen-president-saleh-stole-60bn-150225180029123.html
The Houthi rebels have proposed a transitional government of National Unity as a solution to end the civil war but this was unsurprisingly rejected by the clique around the deposed president and his saudi backers. But nearly one million Yemenis marched in support of the proposal in August http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-37143876
The scale of the humanitarian catastrophe currently taking place in yemen was made clear earlier this year - the UN reporting that many thousands have been killed, over 10 million yemenis dont have enough food to eat or access to clean water and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. The medieval homicides of Al Qaeda and Daesh have also been carrying out mass slaughters of Houthi civilans.
Saudi Arabia is an absolutist and feudal dictatorship. It is ruled by the Saudi royal family much in the way European states were ruled centuries ago. Unsurprisingly then there is much about life in contemporary Saudi Arabia which could be described as positively 'medieval' - there are no forms of free and democratic politics, public beheadings are commonplace, women are stoned to death for adultery and gay people face imprisonment and even death.
Given the authoritarian nature of the Saudi Arabian state and its total absence of any form of democracy, its role in arming jihadist terrorist groups and world wide promotion of the most reactionary branch of Islam (wahhabism) and its appalling human rights record you would think then that the western democracies like the US, France and the UK would want nothing to do with Saudi Arabia and would be clamouring for the imposition of sanctions on the Saudi regime - er you couldnt be more wrong! And there are two main reasons for this - Oil and Arms sales.
British and American multi national oil companies enjoy very lucrative business from their plants in Saudi Arabia while US and British governments have been arranging multi billion arm sales to saudi arabia for decades. In fact the Obama administration has sold more arms to the Saudis than even George W Bush did, with the US completing arns deals with Saudi Arabia amounting to 130 billion dollars on Obama's watch.While during David Cameron's 6 years as British PM the MOD sold 6 billion pounds worth of arms to the Saudis.The UK based Campaign Against the Arms Trade has produced an excellent report on the murky and long history of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countries/saudi-arabia
Interestingly the Saudi royal family has donated millions to both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump via their 'foundations'. So whoever wins the US presidential election don't expect any change towards the Saudi regime from the next US president.While the British foreign office recently blocked an inquiry by the EU parliament into the Saudi's role in the Yemen Civil war, and Boris Johnson did his best to water down an MPs report into UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/boris-johnson-slammed-mps-demand-8842109
The example of Saudi Arabia and its murderous role in Yemen simply confirms what we all know - British and American governments are generally only concerned with human rights and protecting human lives when it doesnt impact on their own economic interests.