A written answer to a parliamentary question has revealed that the UK is training Saudi pilots at RAF Valley on the North Wales island of Anglesey/Ynys Mon.
A question put to the Ministry of Defence by Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards about the security risk posed by the training brought a response from defence minister Mark Lancaster that dismissed any security risk as ‘negligible’:
Saudi Arabia has been severely criticised for the civilian devastation caused by relentless bombing raids on Yemen.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle made a direct link between the UK’s training and civilian deaths today in an infuriated response to Middle East minister Alastair Burt’s claim that the UK is not a party to the military assault on Yemen:
We arm the Saudis. We maintain the air force. We have British soldiers embedded in the control centres. We command the war flight paths. We train Saudi pilots in Wales – the only thing we don’t do is press the button to drop the bomb.
Can we just not be honest? We are party to this war. We have decided to cosy up to a regime that dismembers its own civilians in consulates of NATO allies.
Russell-Moyle was referring to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in a Saudi consulate in Turkey. The Tories have come under increased pressure to cease its cooperation with the Saudi government as a consequence, but have shrugged off the deaths of large numbers of civilians in Yemen and the threat to at least eight million Yemenis through famine and disease as a result of the brutally one-sided ‘conflict’.
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