UK to continue arms deals with repressive regimes: Analyst

UK to continue arms deals with repressive regimes: Analyst

Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:21AM

The UK government will continue to strike new arms deals with other countries regardless of their human rights record in order to cope with the consequences of Brexit, says an analyst.

Ian Williams, a senior analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV about British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon’s praising of a European weapons manufacturer known for selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Addressing staff members of the notorious missile manufacturer MBDA at its headquarters in the town of Stevenage, Fallon said Friday that was a “role model” for the sort of business that his country will be engaged in once it leaves the European Union (EU).

The remarks drew fire from politicians and peace groups, with anti-arms trade activists accusing Fallon of glorifying a company that “profits from war and arms tyrants.”

The firm had signed a contract in 2007 to sell £200 million worth of missiles and military communications equipment to Gaddafi. The dictator, who was accused of bombing his own people during an uprising in 2011, eventually was ousted and killed in October that year.

The arms manufacturer has also been providing Saudi Arabia with missiles, with which the kingdom bombs schools, hospitals and food factories in Yemen, killing thousands of civilians.

“Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in many years has depended upon selling it weapons,” Williams told Press TV.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was caught in a big controversy after his son’s extensive weapons deals with repressive regimes in the Middle East were revealed, the analyst added.

Noting that Britain has a big military budget, Williams argued that London needed more arms deals to make up for the huge bill and that is why arms manufacturers were siding with the government in the upcoming general election.

“That of course overrides all of the provisions that the UK signed up to in terms of human rights,” he added. “Britain has been selling weaponry to tyrannical and aggressive states.”

London needs the deals because most of its industries are in for a “huge shakeup” as it prepares to withdraw from the European Union (EU).

“So the government is naturally thinking, ‘what else can we sell to the world?’ and what do they do that they can sell to the rest of the world… that they can’t sell to Europe?” he continued. “And the answer comes back: Weaponry.”

“They will sell weapons to whoever who will buy them as long as it produces foreign exchange and manufacturing jobs in Britain,” he concluded.

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