UK MPs question arms sales to dictators



Britain’s Business Secretary Vince Cable and Foreign Secretary William Hague will be grilled on Tuesday over their role in the brutal suppression of protesters in Bahrain and Egypt.


British lawmakers will challenge Cable and Hague over Britain’s £12m arms sales to Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia over just three months.

The Bahraini regime and the British-trained troops from Saudi Arabia’s national guard have killed scores of anti-regime protesters in Bahrain.

This comes as the British government has sold arms worth £2.2m to Bahrain over the short span of time between July and September 2011.

Moreover, Britain supplied Saudi Arabia with nearly £9m worth of arms. The revelations shed more light on Britain’s role in the brutal suppression of the Bahraini protesters.

“There is a real concern that some exports to parts of the Middle East could end up in the suppression of internal dissent,” said Labour MP Richard Burden.

Britain’s relations with Saudi Arabia will specifically be addressed during the questioning session as the country has a poor record of human rights and “Britain wants good relations with Saudi Arabia at almost any cost,” as described by a member of the Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls.

“We turn a blind eye to the human rights situation there. It also means we might not make a fuss about whether things happening in Bahrain might be linked to Saudi Arabia,” added the committee member.

Furthermore, Britain sold £1.6m of arms to Egypt’s ruling junta over the same period as the ruling junta continues to suppress Egyptian protesters who have been calling for the resignation of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

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