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Letters

04/20/2016

 

Canada’s sale of weapons of war to Saudi Arabia questioned

The Editor: Canadians may or may not be aware that we are involved in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is a country that has one of the worst human rights record on the planet. They are now also involved in the civil war between the Sunni and the Shia tribes in Yemen.

In March 2015 the Saudis launched ruinous bombing attacks on Yemen, inflicting devastating effects on its citizens. According to the UN, 5,700 were killed and 1.5 million Yemenis were displaced. Hospitals and schools were destroyed. About one-third of its citizens are short of food.

There is no apparent reason why Canada should be selling weapons of war to Saudi Arabia. In 2013-14 the Harper government signed a contract to sell $15.5 billion of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. But we Canadians were not alone in this death-dealing folly. The British government authorized $8.3 billion of weapons for the Saudis for fighter jets, machine guns, bomb components, etc. and another $234 million for precision-guided 500-pound bombs. The U.S. approved of about $12.5 billion for four Lockheed Martin warships, equipped with weapons — and training in the use of laser-guided bombs.

There can be no doubt that the only interests that profit from the sale of weapons of war are the manufacturers of those weapons. The sale and possible profits of weapons to a rogue nation like Saudi Arabia is the responsibility of the politically elected officials in Canada, Britain and the U.S.

Amnesty International has called for the suspension of these sales of weapons, as it violates international law.

Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is most deplorable and worrisome for those Canadians who would like to believe that Canada is a nation of peacemakers and peacekeepers. — Leo Kurtenbach, Saskatoon