In January this year, David Cameron told the House of Commons that Britain was not involved in Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen, which has claimed thousands of lives.
But an investigation now reveals this may be untrue.
In response to a question from the SNP’s Angus Robertson, the PM said in January:
Just to be absolutely clear about our role: we’re not a member of the Saudi-led coalition, British military personnel are not directly involved in the Saudi-led coalition’s operations, personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we’re not involved in the Saudi targeting decision making process.
The piece on Britain’s “Covert War” in Yemen reveals that:
- UK agents were providing Americans with locations and information for drone strikes
- Britain played a “crucial and sustained role” with the CIA in “finding and fixing targets”
- British intelligence also assessed the effect of drone strikes
- Agents were also training Yemeni intelligence for US drone strikes
The investigation also reveals that:
British forces also, on occasion, took the lead. In Sanaa, the British training team was living in a team house, moved every six months for security reasons, with a permanent medic. However, according to UK military personnel who served in Yemen, some rooms were kept empty for “temporary visitors” — British special forces who were flown in for short missions. Due to the low profile maintained by the British trainers, these teams could avoid drawing attention.
The vast majority of bombings in Yemen have been authorised and carried out by Saudi Arabia.
But British and American interests are thought to operate in Yemen not just to learn about potential threats to their countries, but continue operations against al-Qaeda.
The VICE revelations seem to go beyond what was admitted by Cameron earlier this year.
Perhaps another statement on the matter is necessary.