History of UK Arms Deals with Saudi Arabia

HIn 1965 the UK played the major part in the first big arms shipment from the West. It was to supply British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) aircraft and other equipment, for $280m, while the US would send surface-to-air missiles worth $70m.

In 1966 the UK appointed a government arms salesman signalling that it was now UK policy to exploit its armaments capabilities for economic gain.

In 1970-1973 the UK secured new contracts for air defence equipment, together with an important commitment to the training of the Saudi Air Force.

In 1985, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, negotiated the Al-Yamamah arms deal for BAE. Since then, the deal has brought in £43 billion .

In 2005, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia agreed a military agreement, where BAE Systems would equip Saudi Arabia with Eurofighter Typhoons/

In 2006, the Saudis threatened to end co-operation with the UK unless the Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation into BAE Systems over the Al-Yamamah arms deal.

On the 8th December 2006, Tony Blair wrote a secret personal letter to the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, in which he urged Goldsmith to stop the Serious Fraud Office investigation.

In February 2014, British arms company BAE Systems agreed a deal to supply the Saudis with 72 Typhoon fighter jets, worth £4.4billion (just over $7billion)

In 2015 The UK government licensed arms exports worth £3.3bn ($4.2bn) to Saudi Arabia during the first 12 months of the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen

Analysis of HM Revenue and Customs figures by Greenpeace EnergyDesk shows that in 2015 83% of UK arms exports – almost £900m – went to Saudi Arabia.

In the first quarter of 2016 alone, the UK licensed £538m of weapons, including military training aircraft for the Royal Saudi Air Force, despite increasingly vocal international condemnation of the country’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

The UK continues to profit from the death and destruction of innocent civilians with its alliance with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States.







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