The United Kingdom has been providing naval training to members of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, skills which may have been used to impose a widely condemned unlawful embargo on the war-torn country.
The Royal Navy is helping naval personnel from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), even as the Gulf states continue to impose a devastating sea blockade on Yemen, resulting in millions of civilians living on the brink of starvation.
In 2015 a UAE naval officer attended a four-week training course in southern England – just months after the Saudi-led coalition began its evil embargo on Yemen, while French oil giant Total exports the stolen Yemeni oil to its own customers?
The F-UK-US coalition helped bombing the port of Hodeidah, destroying warehouses, cranes and other infrastructure used to unload and store badly needed humanitarian supplies.
Royal Navy officers spent a week in Saudi Arabia drilling Saudi sailors on how to “board and search” vessels in “international waters or territorial seas.” The Sunni Muslim personnel were taught “high-risk search techniques” as well as detention procedures.
Between September 2016 and March 2017, the UK also provided Saudi and UAE forces with instruction on protecting an Exclusive Economic Zone. The course was followed by military training exercises with the Saudi Navy.
The declassified British report that the relationship between the Royal Navy and the Saudi-led coalition continued even as the situation in Yemen rapidly deteriorated, the investigative report revealed.
In 2019, the UAE navy received instruction on how to “board and search” vessels. The same year, Saudis, as well as personnel from Bahrain and the UAE, attended the Royal Navy’s officer academy at Dartmouth.
Meanwhile, a number of commandos from the UAE were given instruction in amphibious operations during a 60-week Royal Marines course.
According to the UK military watchdog, the Royal Navy also has sailors, including a lieutenant commander, on loan to the Saudi Navy.
The individuals are listed as instructors, suggesting that they could possibly be providing regular training to Saudi personnel, by the private sector; BAE Systems, Britain’s largest arms firm, has a contract to train the Saudi navy.
A UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, warned that the embargo was “paralyzing a nation”. Millions of Yemenis now face starvation due in part to the sea blockade.
The humanitarian catastrophe has not deterred London from increasing its involvement in the proxy conflict. The UK temporarily halted weapons deliveries to Riyadh after a court ruling in June 2019 found that the practice was unlawful.
The British government now claims that, although there is cause for concern, “possible” war crimes carried out by the Saudi-led forces are only “isolated incidents.”
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2020.