"The British and American government emphasis on how they provide at least $450 million worth in vital aid support to the people of Yemen, while at the same time, Amnesty International has claimed, this year, that both the US & UK have pocket up to $5 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia alone which is 10x more in arms sales than aid given to Yemen. This proves that any money given to help the Yemen crisis is mere peanuts compared to the billions made in profits from the ongoing conflict,” Robert Carter said in an interview with the Basirat.
Robert Carter is an English journalist and political commentator based in London, UK. Robert specializes in Middle Eastern culture, geopolitics and history as well as current affairs of the global Muslim world. He has visited the region many times and focuses his talents on Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Bahrain & Yemen. Robert also contributed for Iraq Insider, Veterans Today, Press TV, Muslim Press and American Herald Tribune. Robert Carter, also known by his Muslim name Muhammad Ali Carter.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Basirat: Since March 2015, a ‘coalition’ of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, and supported by the US, Britain and France, has been dropping bombs on Yemen. Today we see US and Britain’s growing arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Could we say that there is hypocrisy in UK and US manner as claimers of Human Rights? Kindly explain.
Yes, we can. It pains me deeply that my own government is so deeply involved in the horrors taking place in countries like Yemen. I have spoken to victims living in Yemen and have heard their heart breaking stories - one man by the name of Ibrahim Abdul Karim lost his 1-year-old daughter during Ramadan 2015 when a Saudi air strike hit the street just outside his home during the night as he and his family slept. His wife's legs were crushed under the falling rubble, his son somehow survived but his daughter, Zainab, was buried alive. "Why was she targeted?” Ibrahim asked me, "Was she a fighter, a rocket, or an artillery gun?” These same type of questions have been asked to our government on many occasions but with very few answers.
Basirat: In your view, what are the reasons behind the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia?
The UK government claims that its relationship with Saudi Arabia "protects Britain from terrorism” yet the UK and EU remain the victims of Salafi terrorist attacks and Saudi Arabia’s state religion ‘Wahhabism’ continues to preach radical Salafi ideology which inspires sympathy for extremist Wahhabi groups such as Da’ish and Al-Qaeda. The UK has built economic reliance on weapons manufacturing and selling to wealthy tyrannical regimes and Saudi Arabia is a prime example of the UK’s ‘death economy’ at work.
Take the Yemen conflict for example. The British and American government emphasize on how they provide at least $450 million worth in vital aid support to the people of Yemen, while at the same time, Amnesty International has claimed, this year, that both the US & UK have pocket up to $5 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia alone which is 10x more in arms sales than aid given to Yemen. This proves that any money given to help the Yemen crisis is mere peanuts compared to the billions made in profits from the ongoing conflict - money is the real concern of our government, not human rights - a fact which the people of Yemen have learned the hard way.
Basirat: West claims that the Yemeni people need their support and help. Based on practical experience, can you accept this claim?
The people I have spoken to in Yemen, none of them have asked for the West to come and save them, they have asked for us to tell our Saudi ally to lift the siege and leave their country alone, freedom from us and our partners aggression is what the Yemeni people want, but we won’t even give them that.
Basirat: Please let me to turn into another subject. These days there are various stories about Theresa May. Leaked memo, for example, shows Theresa May ignored election guru over calling election.What's your opinion?
Theresa May has built a rather poor reputation since she came to office. She has been labelled in local British media as a ‘submarine’ politician due to the fact that she disappears during times of pressure, something which she did during the election campaign this year - avoiding to speak to any journalists, news channels or an open debate with the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. I have reached the conclusion, from watcher her performance since becoming PM that she lacks any real or genuine character for the role. She seems to lack creativity and a personal opinion of her own, which forces her to rely on what public opinion wants of her in order to create a political mandate. This tactic may work sometimes but when public opinion changes, which it often does as it is unpredictable, it forces May to prefer huge political U-turns which make her appear ‘weak and wobbly’ instead of ‘strong and stable’ - again, there are many examples of her famous high profile U-turns including her stance on Brexit, decision to call an early election and changing her promises on energy price caps, social care, free school lunches, public sector pay - I think you get the picture. She is a leader who says one thing but does another, her foreign policy has been no different, as she discusses ‘humanitarian law’ with Saudi Arabia and ending the Yemen war while also refusing to stop selling Saudi Arabia arms despite endless condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s actions by human rights groups and the UN.
Theresa May is not in the position she holds today because she was the best person for the job, she is there because no one better wanted the Premiership following the titanic disaster which was the Brexit referendum, which was prescribed to the British public by her own predecessor, David Cameron. I think she is a weak leader who lacks the character to steer the UK through a most volatile time of our modern history and has yet to prove to me that I am wrong in anything negative I have said about her or her government.
We thank you for taking time out to answer our question. We appreciate you taking the time to respond personally to us.
Interview by Amir Mohammad Esmaili