Commons written response confirms Saudi pilots being trained in Wales

 

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Training jet over RAF Valley, Anglesey, Wales

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’:

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Saudi Arabia has been severely criticised for the civilian devastation caused by relentless bombing raids on Yemen.

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Lloyd Russell-Moyle

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.

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Devastation in Yemen

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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18 responses to “Commons written response confirms Saudi pilots being trained in Wales

  1. So while Mr Burt defends our position and confirms our involvement will continue the US calls for a ceasefire within thirty days. It’s almost as if America hadn’t bothered to inform the UK about the statement they were about to make,but of course,given we have a “special relationship “that could not happen.

  2. “Saudi Arabia has been severely criticised for the civilian devastation caused by relentless bombing raids on Yemen.”

    Saudi is a western imperial construct and remains a geostrategic and financial asset of the western Capitalist imperial system. It backs up the dollar via petro dollar system. US and UK are deeply involved in the genocidal assault on Yemen. Training Saudi pilots in Wales is a tiny part of the egregious and murderous relationship in this effort to repress Yemini sovereignty and people. UK and US contracts come with servicing agreements so planes cannot even fly without UK/US contractors, US/UK military are in the so called Saudi coalition operational and targeting rooms, US refuels Saudi planes in air and is a major force in enforcing the land sea and air blockade on Yemen.
    I believe this is a UK/US/Capitalist war using a willing Saudi coalition to further joint and individual interests.

    UK government/Whitehall is not just complicit, it is a key director and enabler as well as middleman for arms manufacturers.

    • “Can we just not be honest? We are party to this war.”

      Lloyd Russell-Moyle is correct but then weakens his comment by saying “We have decided to cosy up to a regime that dismembers its own civilians in consulates of NATO allies.”

      UKs relationship with Saudi (and all ME ‘allies’) is far more than cosy, it is a cynical, immoral ‘ruling class’ centred business relationship and UK/US et al hold the winning cards.

  3. As an arms exporting nation we pretend to absolve ourselves of responsibility for our products’ future use with things like end-user certificates.

    Arguments for nuclear non-proliferation are just as applicable to non-nuclear weapons – we don’t sell nukes to Finland or Lithuania so the ‘right of purchasers to defend themselves’ argument is selective at best.

    Sorry about the job losses but I’d vote to stop exports – because there’s no such thing as ethics in arms sales..

    • Not difficult to develop an industrial strategy to reallocate training & investment to peaceful & socially useful projects. Eg renewable energy! Swords into ploughshares!!!

  4. Never forget the 100 Blairite and Centrist Labour MPs that abstained 2 years ago to end selling arms to Saudi Arabia! One more reason for these turncoats to be deselected.

  5. Just to piss on the flowerbed a bit (being a Groucho marxist), I do get something of an Orwell twitch when the language here becomes a mirror of trigger words (‘imperialist’, ‘capitalist’ etc.) that reflect the sort of knee-jerkery found in the mainstream (‘terrorist’; ‘extreme’ etc.)

    Why? Because knee-jerk language simply deflects from reality – OK if you’re doing propaganda, but not a great way of doing something different : i.e. trying to get at the reality of power, hierarchy, hegemony and exploitation. All those are rooted far more widely than just in simple economically labelled boxes.

    An alternative media has to pose an alternative language that cuts through the assenting nod (or head shake) as an indicator of virtue.

    • “An alternative media has to pose an alternative language that cuts through the assenting nod (or head shake) as an indicator of virtue”

      Give me an example of this alternative language you propose please.

      • I have no generalised lexicon in mind – which is my point. Neither do I have simple solutions.

        But take this sentence :

        “Saudi is a western imperial construct and remains a geostrategic and financial asset of the western Capitalist imperial system.”

        How might that be revised with the aim of actually persuading workers in the ‘defence’ industries that it is morally necessary to put their jobs on the line?

        Or, say – how would you make an argument that contradicts the MSM take on Palestine? I guarantee that the description of Israel as “a western imperial construct” (which is indeed part of the picture – but not the entirety) won’t do it.

        Or, say – how do you adequately and convincingly describe exploitative situations that don’t fall neatly into the ‘western’ ‘Capitalist’ ‘imperial’ system’ box? – there’s an awful lot.

      • “I have no generalised lexicon in mind – which is my point. Neither do I have simple solutions.”

        I was hoping to learn from you.

        Making moral arguments that ask people to put their ability to provide for their families at risk without a concrete alternative is never going to work and just reinforces the us v them paradigm. That’s why I have never suggested workers should walk out or resign from the arms industry in an effort to change the system. Unfortunately being laid off is likely to be the catalyst for arms manufacturing workers to look for ways to use their skills and inventiveness for other purposes. Having said that the current systems, banking etc. are not conducive to start up and community projects, that’s one reason I support for eg. Richard Werner’s initiative of non profit local banks that serve the local community and local small and medium businesses and initiatives.

        I take your points though. I will endeavour to stop using shorthand in future though I still think having a view of the/a bigger picture is important.

        I am not a Marxist, just someone (a political for most of my life)still trying to make sense of the world I inhabit and am still in the learning stage. I believe that humans need and are programmed as a social species to work together. For me the systems, rewards and supporting propaganda incentivise divisiveness, selfishness even ruthlessness which to me is anathema to humanity.

        I’m interested in your answers to your own questions though, especially this one. “.Or, say – how do you adequately and convincingly describe exploitative situations that don’t fall neatly into the ‘western’ ‘Capitalist’ ‘imperial’ system’ box? – there’s an awful lot.”
        I would be very interested to have some idea of the “awful lot” that you see aren’t in that box directly or indirectly.

      • Serendipity has thrown this article into my view today. It is close to (and added points to mull over) my current thinking on western led/inspired imperialism/s. The war on Syria has been an important learning event for me personally and has helped clarify why I am often not aligned with many on the left spectrum on foreign policy. https://zeroanthropology.net/2018/10/06/syria-the-new-terra-nullius/

      • There are many worse regimes than Syria’s. I’m less interested in judging Syria than in judging my UK govt (using MY taxes!) exploitation, destabilising & bombing another country!!!

    • Got most of it on your chips there buddy… think you’ll find everyone here understands those perfectly adequate words just fine.
      They’re no more knee-jerk than your examples.

      “An alternative media has to pose an alternative language that cuts through the assenting nod (or head shake) as an indicator of virtue?”
      GTFOOH

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