Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

25 June 2014

Saudi Arabia and Egypt among UK’s largest arms markets despite human rights violations

Last year, the British government approved the export of GBP 1.6bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which makes the Saudi market the UK’s biggest arms market. The export of GBP 51m worth of arms to Egypt has also been approved by the United Kingdom. These figures derive from government reports and were assembled by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which estimates that last year the UK approved the export of in total GBP 2bn worth of weapons to oppressive governments. (more…)

Source: The Guardian | Saudis and Egypt among biggest markets for UK arms despite human rights breaches
Source: The Guardian | Egypt’s secret prison: ‘disappeared’ face torture in Azouli military jail

19 June 2014

Baghdad accuses Saudi Arabia of promoting ‘genocide’ in Iraq

In a statement issued on 17 June, the Shi’ite-led government of Iraq accused Saudi Arabia of promoting ‘genocide’ in Iraq by assisting Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The statement said that ‘we hold them responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that – which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites’.

Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia finances and supplies Sunni rebels in Syria, but that it denies assisting ISIL.

Source: Reuters | Baghdad blames Saudi Arabia for promoting 'genocide' in Iraq

3 June 2014

Obama pledges to support moderate Syrian rebels

On 28 May, at the United States Military Academy at West Point, president Barack Obama pledged to build up military support with equipment and training to moderate Syrian rebel groups. The proposal still needs to be approved by Congress, but a senior administration official said that ‘what we’re saying today … is not only do we want to continue to increase the assistance that we provide to the Syrian opposition, but we do want to have this discussion with Congress about the potential for there to be a role for the US military in that effort.’ (more…)

Source: Reuters | U.S. pledge of support for Syria's moderate rebels in early stages – official
Source: The Guardian | US nears decision on training Syrian rebels
Source: The Wall Street Journal | Obama Close to Authorizing Military Training of Syrian Rebels

8 January 2014

The Saudis support Syrian rebels

The New York Times reports that Saudi Arabia, which supports the ousting of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, has become the main backer of the Syrian rebels, even when these include Islamists who fight alongside militants loyal to Al Qaeda. Also, at least a thousand of Saudies have travelled to Syria to fight with rebel forces. Even though Saudi Arabia officially bans their citizens from going to Syria for jihad, this ban is not enforced.

Source: The New York Times | Saudis Back Syrian Rebels Despite Risks

15 November 2013

Saudi Arabia plans, with the help of other states, to build a national army for the Syrian opposition

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new national army for the Syrian opposition, aiming to create a force trained outside of Syria that is capable of defeating the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and countering the growth of jihadist rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

According to Saudi insiders, training involving some 5,000 rebels had already been under way in Jordan for several months with the aid of Pakistani, French, and US instructors, although Jordanian sources suggest a much lower number. Saudi Arabia reportedly plans to build a rebel army of 40,000–50,000 at a cost of ‘several billion dollars’. A high-level Saudi delegation visited Paris in October to negotiate contracts for arming and equipping both the Free Syrian Army and the new national army.

According to Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center, competition for external funding is a powerful driver of organisational dynamics within Syria’s armed rebellion. Not all of that support comes from government sources however, private donors in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates also sponsor rebel groups of their choice.

Source: Carnegie Middle East Center | Unifying Syria’s Rebels: Saudi Arabia Joins the Fray

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