Former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) has called on the UK Government to “abandon its military obsession” next year.
Speaking in his New Year message he said, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government should take an ethical approach and abandon arms sales and “knee-jerk militarism.”
He said, “The new year is not one of celebration for many people in countries like Syria and Yemen where the horrors of 2016 will continue into 2017.
“For the UK Government, the New Year should be one of recognising and correcting the errors in their foreign policy approach, and one where they adopt a more ethical and effective approach that abandons military obsession and instead puts humanitarian and political efforts at its core.
“After all, we know that the Foreign Secretary actually personally believes that our allies are engaged in proxy wars.”
He added: “You cannot arm regimes with stained military tactics with one hand and then raise the other to proclaim the need to uphold human rights. The lessons are clear for all in the last year, from the lessons of Libya to Yemen and Syria.
“The SNP have consistently called for a wider strategy rather than knee-jerk militarism and we will continue to hold the Tory government to account on these crucial issues.”
So far Theresa May’s government has rejected calls to stop the sale of British arms to Saudi Arabia, despite the latter being reported as committing war crimes.
Incidents such as Saudi Arabia attacking and destroying hospitals, schools, funerals, and weddings in Yemen, using British made cluster bombs sold in 1989 are widespread. This type of weapon has been outlawed since 2011.
Since Saudi Arabia began its offensive in Yemen, Britain has signed off a further £3.3bn in arms sales, despite the worsening refugee crisis, and civilian casualties on the ground.
Given the profits involved it is unlikely that the arms sales will stop.