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ACTION ALERT: Spain Cancels Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia Amid Yemen Concerns


September 5, 2018
Fritz Parra / Associated Press & Amy Frame / Win Without War

On September 4, Spain cancelled the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia amid fears that the weapons could be used in the Riyadh-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. The deal was originally signed in 2015 under a conservative government. The new Spanish center-left administration plans to return the 9.2 million euros (10.6 million dollars) already paid by the Saudis. The US should follow Spain's example and cancel further arms sales to the Saudis.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/spain-cancels-bombs-sale-to-saudi-arabia-amid-yemen-concerns/2018/09/04/c06b9f0c-b042-11e8-8b53-50116768e499_story.html

Spain Cancels Bombs Sale to
Saudi Arabia Amid Yemen Concerns

Aritz Parra / Associated Press



In this April 12, 2018 file photo, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left and Spain’s then Defense Minister Maria Dolores Cospedal shake hands after signing bi-lateral agreements in the presence of the then Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy, at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain. (Paul White, File/Associated Press)

MADRID (September 4, 2018) -- Spain said Tuesday it has canceled the delivery of 400 laser-guided bombs purchased by Saudi Arabia, amid fears that the weapons could be used against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The arms deal was originally signed in 2015 under Spain’s former conservative government, but the new center-left administration of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez plans to return the 9.2 million euros ($10.6 million) already paid by the Saudis, Cadena SER radio reported on Tuesday.

A Defense Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the report, but declined to elaborate. She was not authorized to be identified in media reports.

International rights groups have blamed a Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes and other attacks in Yemen for the killing of civilians, including children. U.N. human rights experts say all sides, including militias backed by the United Arab Emirates, may have committed war crimes in the conflict raging since March 2015.

The Saudi embassy in Madrid did not immediately respond to emailed questions and follow-up calls.

Sanchez’s Socialist party had promised to revise the country’s arms deals before the new prime minister ousted his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, in a parliamentary vote in June.

As a longtime commercial ally of Saudi Arabia, Spain is the fourth largest provider of military equipment and weapons to the Gulf state, according to Amnesty International. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global security database, says the United States, Britain and France are Riyadh’s main suppliers.

The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, visited all four countries in April this year. Two months later, his government signed the purchase of five navy corvettes that a Spanish state-owned military shipbuilder has pledged to deliver for 2 billion euros ($2.31 billion). The contract had been in the works for years.

The sale was sharply criticized by Weapons Under Control, a campaign seeking to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its role in Yemen. The campaign, backed by Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Intermon Oxfam and Spain’s FundiPau, also wants to end exports of weapons to Israel, a country they accuse of violating international laws in Palestine territories.

The group’s representatives were meeting with Spanish trade officials on Tuesday to deliver thousands of signatures in support of their campaign, which also advocates for greater transparency in the sales of military and defense equipment that Spain shields under state secrecy laws.

A U.N. experts committee urged the international community last month to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the Yemen conflict, in reference to Western countries selling sophisticated weapons systems to the Gulf States.

The UN says the conflict in Yemen has become the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people in desperate need in what was already the Arab world’s poorest country.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



ACTION ALERT: Exciting News from Spain
Amy Frame / Win Without War

(September 4, 2018) -- Spain just cancelled a $10.6 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia! And since Spain is the fourth-largest arms supplier to the horrific Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen, throwing this wrench into an already paid-for years-old arms sale is a big deal [1].

Antiwar activists everywhere are celebrating this invigorating news. So let’s ride this global momentum by blocking a US bomb sale too!

Luckily, Win Without War activists are already pushing the Senate to block US bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. More than 12,000 activists have already written their Senators and we need you to join them. If we can turn up the heat and demand our Senators oppose Trump’s proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE, we have a real chance at disarming the war in Yemen too.

The Senate kept funding brutal war in Yemen. Don’t let them sell more bombs, too. Last week, Senate leadership blocked a vote on Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy’s amendment to stop supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s war crimes in Yemen.

There’s no excuse for this political maneuvering. This month alone, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen -- aided by the United States -- bombed and killed over 60 Yemeni children in two separate airstrikes. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

Win Without War members made hundreds of calls in just 48 hours in support of Sen. Murphy’s amendment. Now, we’ve got to keep that grassroots power going full throttle -- because we have another chance to seriously upend United States support for this brutal war.

Trump wants to sell billions more in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- the same bombs that these countries are using to murder Yemeni civilians.

We can’t let that happen. We need to jump on the momentum from Sen. Murphy’s amendment to let our senators know they aren’t off the hook to end US support of the war in Yemen.

Look -- we shouldn’t even need to pressure our senators on this arms sale. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E are deliberately bombing weddings, hospitals, and schools in Yemen. It’s a no-brainer: Cancel the sale.

But let’s follow the money for a minute. US defense mega-corporation Lockheed Martin manufactured the bomb that hit a school bus and murdered 40 kids in Yemen. Lockheed Martin was also the top campaign contributor to Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who helped block Sen. Murphy’s amendment to cut off support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Appalled yet? That’s not even remarkable. Massive campaign contributions from the war lobby are normal. And it’s no coincidence that arms sales to proven human rights violators like the Saudi and UAE governments keep sailing right through Congress.

Not this time. Not if we have anything to say about it.

Can you take 30 seconds to demand your senators stop enabling the brutal bombing of Yemeni civilians and block Trump’s planned arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the UAE?

ACTION: Take 30 seconds to demand your senators block Trump’s planned arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

THE LETTER
Dear Senators,


I am your constituent, deeply concerned about US support of the brutal Saudi and Emirati-led war in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition recently hit a school bus in Yemen and killed 40 children with a bomb manufactured by US defense company Lockheed Martin.

This is only one instance of the ways that US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are directly enabling the coalition’s violations of international law and empowering the coalition to continue their disastrous air campaign in Yemen indefinitely.

I am extremely disappointed that Sen. Murphy’s amendment to the 2019 Defense Appropriations Act to stop funding the coalition’s war crimes against Yemeni civilians was denied a vote. I hope you will rein in US complicity in this brutal war by blocking President Trump’s reported plans to sell another $2 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and UAE as soon as these sales are notified to Congress.


[1] The Washington Post, "Spain cancels bombs sale to Saudi Arabia amid Yemen concerns"

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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