Foreign Aid

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Selling arms to Saudi Arabia has been a hard drug for Western Governments to give up. Since entering the Yemen conflict in 2015 at the end of a coalition of Gulf monarchies, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become the world’s biggest weapons importer. In 2018 alone it spent nearly $70bn on arms, almost 9% of its GDP. The US was by far the biggest supplier, with about 70% of the market between 2014 and 2018. That changed recently with President Biden’s announcement of an end to “all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales”. The UK is the second biggest, accounting for about a tenth of total Saudi purchases and it has shown no sign of following President Biden’s example. The weapons that Western Governments sell to Saudi Arabia, bring untold misery and suffering in places like Yemen, and as always, it’s the children who suffer the most, as all war correspondents tell us.

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