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Britain’s breathtaking double standard

July 16, 2009

Opinion piece on
Britain’s breathtaking double standard
The decision made this week by the British Foreign Office to cancel export licenses for Israeli warship parts is not the first time Her Majesty’s Government has embargoed arms to Israel…But the UK’s concern for how its military equipment will be put to use by the IDF rings rather hollow when considering the list of other countries to whom the UK has recently supplied arms; countries which have not fallen foul of Westminster’s new “ethical” standards for weapons exports.

In 2008, while the civil war in Sri Lanka was raging, Britain sold $22 million worth of armored vehicles, machine gun parts and semi-automatic pistols to the government in Colombo. During the course of the Sri Lankan army’s assault on the last Tamil Tiger strongholds from January to May this year, approximately 20,000 civilians were killed.

The Foreign Office said of the cancelled Israeli contracts “We do not grant export licenses where there is a clear risk that arms will be used for external aggression or internal repression.” The Sri Lankan army appears to have killed more than 40 times the number of civilians in its campaign against the Tamil Tigers than were killed in the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year, but we have yet to hear of any restrictions on British arms exports to Sri Lanka…
Read full article here.

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