Spain Will Go Ahead with Sale of 400 Bombs to Saudi Arabia

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Summary

On Thursday, September 13, 2018 Spain reneged on its promise to halt the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia. Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borell announced that Spain would re-commit to selling the 400 bombs to Saudi Arabia, framing the decision as one rooted in upholding an arms-sale contract it had previously signed with Saudi Arabia. Ministries of the Spanish government, as well as a government arms-sales commission, assessed the contract for at least a week, concluding that there was no reason for the Spanish government to not honor the contract.

Spain’s decision to sell the bombs to Saudi Arabia has not come without public scrutiny, especially from prominent human rights groups such as Amnesty International. These groups have criticized the Spanish government for this sale over concerns that the bombs will be used against civilians in the ongoing Yemeni civil war, which according to the United Nations has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths. The Spanish government has assured the public that the laser-guided bombs are so precise that the intended targets will be hit and civilian deaths reduced.

 

 

 

Spain Will Go Ahead with Sale of 400 Bombs to Saudi Arabia

 

Spain will go ahead with the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Thursday, after the deal was halted amid concerns over the Saudi role in the war in Yemen.

 

“The decision is that these bombs will be delivered to honor a contract that comes from 2015, and was made by the previous government,” Borrell told Onda Cero radio.

 

Human rights groups including Amnesty International have denounced Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies in a war which the United Nations says has killed more than 10,000 people and left 8.4 million on the brink of famine.

 

Several government ministries had worked on the issue for a week and the contract was reviewed three times by a commission that authorizes arms sales, Borrell said, adding, “We found no reason not to carry it out.”

 

Asked whether Spain had received any guarantees that the weapons would not be used against the civilian population in Yemen, Borrell said the laser-guided bombs hit their targets with “extraordinary precision” of within one meter.

 

“This kind of weapon does not produce the same sort of bombing as less sophisticated weapons, launched a bit randomly, that create the sort of tragedy that we have all condemned.”

 

“This kind of weapon does not produce the same sort of bombing as less sophisticated weapons, launched a bit randomly, that create the sort of tragedy that we have all condemned.”

 

The defense ministry said last month that the current Socialist government, which took power in June, had never sold arms that could be used against a civilian population and would review the criteria used to authorize arms sales.

 

 

Source: Reuters, Isla Binnie, Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Sep. 13, 2018. Photo credit to Juan Medina / Reuters.