Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and defense minister in charge of the war in Yemen, arrived in Britain on Wednesday for a three-day state visit, heralded by 300 billboards in the capital proclaiming that he is “bringing change to Saudi Arabia”. Salman is obviously keen to discuss the sale of a 5 percent share in Saudi Aramco with the British elite. The 5% stake in the country’s petroleum and natural gas company is expected to raise $2tn, part of a plan to reduce the Saudi economy’s depedence on oil, and to begin manufacturing arms and set up other industries.
The Saudi war against Yemen is being waged with billions of pounds of British arms and equipment, as well as British military advisers (not to mention US drones). Despite all their advanced equipment and advisors the Saudis failed to quickly win the war, and proceeded to bomb vital infrastructure, including hospitals, and implement a blockade. Some 78% (20 million) of the Yemeni population are in urgent need of food, water and medical aid, and a major death toll from famine and famine-related disease is expected should the war continue.
The protest outside Downing St, focusing on the war against Yemen, had a disappointing attendance, almost being outnumbered by the police presence. It is not surprising considering that every demonstration hosted by the usual suspects (i.e. Stop the War and co) is in reality, a Labour rally, and the only solution to such crises that they will offer any assembled crowd is to mobilise for, and to vote for Labour.
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