Sajid Javid ‘hails’ a country accused of war crimes as a force for ‘peace’

Sajid Javid Home Secretary
Mohamed Elmaazi

The home secretary Sajid Javid met the minister of foreign affairs for the United Arab Emirates in London recently. The Home Office has not released any statement on the 3 September meeting. It also hasn’t received coverage in most of the mainstream press. But the UAE’s foreign ministry did release a short statement describing the discussion between Javid and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

According to the statement, Javid:

hailed the UAE’s important role and pioneering initiatives to promote international peace and security and combat extremism and terrorism.

War crimes in Yemen

Javid’s comments come after the UN released a report on 28 August indicating the UAE may be guilty of committing war crimes in Yemen. The report says:

Coalition air strikes have caused most direct civilian casualties. The airstrikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities.

A bombed out area in Aden 770 x 403

Strong trade and investment links

The international trade minister, Liam Fox, also met Al Nayan on 4 September. He tweeted:

In August, Fox set an objective of increasing:

exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%

UK trade with the UAE has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years, according to the Office for National Statistics:

UK trade with the UAE from 1999 to 2016

The UAE was the UK’s 13th largest trading partner for exports in 2016, totalling £9.8bn:

UK trade with the UAE in 2016

According to Arabian Business:

Total trade between the UK and UAE rose by over 12 percent to £17.5 billion… in 2017

In April 2018, the UK Government’s Export Credit Agency declared that the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the UAE is a member, is:

a priority market.

And it established a “dedicated UK Export Finance… team” based in the UAE.

Arming conflict

According to the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the UAE is Britain’s ninth largest purchaser of arms. From 2008 to 2018, UK weapons sales to the UAE totalled nearly £904m.

Military Tab £904m + 1.6K unlimited licences SOURCE: CAAT

That number increases to more than £7.3bn if “dual-use” technology is included.

Dual-use £6.4bn + 1.6k unlimited licences SOURCE: CAAT

Total £7.3bn + 3.2k unlimited licences SOURCE: CAAT
SOURCE: Campaign Against Arms Trade





Fox’s department, the Department for International Trade, is also responsible for weapons sales.

The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE sent a statement to The Canary, saying:

By providing arms and weaponry to this authoritarian regime, the UK is clearly complicit in war crimes and human rights violations.

While we acknowledge that a strong trading bilateral relationship is beneficial to Britain, especially in the context of Brexit, applauding those who systematically violate international human rights law is certainly not in our nation’s interest. We call on the UK government to immediately implement an arms embargo on the United Arab Emirates.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP told The Canary, in a recent exclusive, that arms controls in the UK are a “bad joke”.

Featured image via YouTube

Images in the article via Doctors Without Borders – YouTube; Office for National Statistics, and Campaign Against Arms Trade

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Mohamed Elmaazi