Saudi Arabia and the UK: More and more questions as election nears

Opposition party leaders urge the UK Home Office to release its report into foreign funding of terror groups after it was suppressed

[Editor’s note: Saudi Arabia is the principal sponsor of terrorism, this is established fact, they are the money men behind Islamic State. However, they are also Britain’s best customer for arms sales and since Britain’s economy is dependent on these sales, do not expect the British government to spills the beans about Saudi malfeasance any time soon. Money is far more important than the lives of innocent people in Manchester and London, obviously…. Ian]

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Middle East Eye
Saudi Arabia and the UK: More and more questions as election nears

Questions continue to dog the UK government over its relationship with Saudi Arabia just days before the general election.

It comes after opposition parties called on the government to release a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups, which has been delayed by the UK Home Office, as criticism mounts over Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The report, commissioned by then-prime minister David Cameron in 2016, sought to investigate the foreign funding of “extremist” groups. It was intended as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats to support air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

But the report may never be published due to its “sensitive” contents which are thought to directly implicate Saudi Arabia in the funding of militant groups.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron on Monday called on the UK Home Office to release the report.

Corbyn has made Britain’s decades-long alliance with Saudi Arabia an election issue. But the current Conservative government is pushing for a post-Brexit trade deal with the Gulf kingdom and continues to sell weapons to support its bombing campaign in Yemen.

Saudi gifts to Conservative ministers

The delay to the publication of the report comes as parliamentary documents reveal that senior Conservative government ministers have been lavished with gifts and consulting fees by Saudi Arabia since the Yemen war began.

Figures published on the parliamentary register of financial interests revealed that senior Conservative ministers and MPs collected £99,396 ($128,035) in gifts, travel expenses and consulting fees from the government of Saudi Arabia.

Former foreign secretary Philip Hammond, now finance minister, who had come under fire for defending a mass execution in Saudi Arabia, accepted a watch from the Saudi ambassador worth £1,950 ($2,517).

Charlotte Leslie MP, who is the chair of the House of Commons all-party group on Saudi Arabia, received a food basket from the Gulf kingdom with an estimated value of £500 ($644).

The Saudi Arabian government has also picked up the tab for four expenses-paid junkets taken by Tory lawmakers to visit the kingdom since the Yemen war began.

At least 18 Conservative MPs have participated in the trips, according to parliamentary documents, with the cost for accommodation, travel and meals for the MPs ranging from £2,888 ($3,724) to £6,722 ($8,668).

Conservative MP Rehman Chishti, one of the participants in a Saudi junket last year, was also paid £2,000 ($2,579) per month as an adviser to the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, a state-backed think tank in Saudi Arabia. The arrangement began in February 2016.

Yemen war

Since the last UK election, the Conservative government has licensed £4.1 billion ($5.3 bn) worth of arms to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia being its largest customer.

During the first 12 months of the Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign in Yemen which began in 2015, Britain approved £3.3bn ($4.3 bn) worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Corbyn has used Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia to call for an “ethical foreign policy” and an immediate review of arms sales to the Gulf kingdom, which has been accused of perpetrating war crimes in Yemen.

The ruling party hit back at criticism of its relationship with Riyadh by saying its that it is in Britain’s national interest to have an alliance with the oil-rich kingdom.

Conservative defence minister, Michael Fallon, said on 11 May that Saudi Arabia was fully entitled to defend itself and fully entitled to call on its friends in so doing. “Saudi Arabia is a key partner of ours – an enormously important trading partner, a commercial partner, but also a defence partner…

“Every arms export application is very carefully looked at and judged by our criteria – some of the toughest in the world. But Saudi Arabia, equally, is entitled to defend itself,” Fallon told the BBC.

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Posted by on June 5, 2017, With 1418 Reads Filed under Government & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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4 Responses to "Saudi Arabia and the UK: More and more questions as election nears"

  1. David Odell  June 6, 2017 at 7:26 am

    It seems I remember an incident where foreign intelligence operatives were caught during an attempted assassination in the ME , by security for the target who walked out of the mosque just before it blew. I am not sure of names or dates , but that stuck out in my mind at the time, as being the turning point at which multiple countries began using Saudi operatives instead of westerners to carry out ops against muslim populations. The Saudi’s simply have leverage, due to years of joint ops that nobody wants to come out.
    I can’t help but think there is an inextricable situation from the past.

    • Dr. Abu-Bakr Susta  June 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      David: Manchester suicide bomber & useful-idiot London perps were ALL MI5/MI6 useful idiots. As Home Sec., Theresa May tasked MI5/MI6 with ‘cultivating’ Muslim-Brotherhood-type operatives in Mideast & in UK. May then cut staffing for UK police — making Manchester & London inevitable.

      To save face for self & for ‘Conservatives,’ Theresa May should resign — BEFORE June 8.

  2. joetv  June 6, 2017 at 6:15 am

    This piece makes the recent “terrorist”(?) artacks in Britian appear to be related to the upcoming election. Morals, and logic are no longer necessary for voters to make up their mind. Fake news creates fake fear which allows our politicians to believe we.are dumb as rocks, and therefor it is no longer necessary for any of the lot to keep any campaign promise. Why? Because “we the people” are too busy worrying about making rent, paying for food, our own suppression and of course entertainment such as the phone I am using right now. I’m telling you now there is something to be said for anarchy.

    • Dr. Abu-Bakr Susta  June 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      JTV: Tony Blair’s, David Cameron’s & Theresa May’s foreign policies CAUSED the Manchester & London events — rightfully so says Jeremy Corbyn, who should be the next Brit PM.

      Trump, Bibi & the Saudi ‘d-Ruler’ will also soon be toast… Excuse me — my toaster is popping. ;-).

      P.S. ‘Tho Libertarian-style anarchy may be a good plan, JoeTV probably won’t get many votes.

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