Evidence Links Spanish, EU Arms Sales to Saudis to Yemen War Crimes

Western arms sales continue to fuel conflict in Yemen

A new report (PDF) from the European Center for Constitutional And Human Rights investigates arms sales by EU nation companies, notably Airbus Spain, to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The report finds direct links between the arms sales and war crimes committed in Yemen over the last seven years. It concludes that this raises the question of complicity, particularly by Spain, in international crimes.

In the context of the EU, the concern is particularly about Spain, but internationally it would be even more so nations like the US and UK, who have been selling arms to the Saudis for the war.

This is all well-documented, and is part of how the Saudi Kingdom went from a large spender on its military to one of the world’s biggest, importing huge amounts of weapons, particularly for airstrikes, to engage in years of brutal war killing a large number of civilians.

Questions about complicity are hardly a shock, as this air war could not have been sustained at this level without all the arms sales. Time and again questions of whether the sales are prolonging the war were quietly brushed aside, with moral questions answered by the billions of dollars the companies made.

The Saudis have dismissed the moral issues, denying the war crimes, but their repeated statements make it clear they are constantly running low on bombs, and if nations stopped selling them rush shipments, this war could end pretty quickly.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.