‘Bin Salman buying his way out of war crimes’

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has visited Paris amid public outrage over France's arms sales to the kingdom. The trip came after Mohammed bin Salman’s weeks-long tour of the United States, Britain and Egypt, where he courted business leaders and clinched a host of multi-million dollar deals. President Emmanuel Macron has defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia, noting that Paris fully supports Riyadh’s security. Press TV has talked to Catherine Shakdam, director of Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, as well as Jihad Mouracadeh, political commentator and Middle East expert, to discuss the issue.
Shakdam believes the Saudi crown prince is going on a global tour in an attempt to buy some “good political will” in the West, adding that he is trying to present himself as the best choice possible for the future of Saudi Arabia.
She went on to say that bin Salman is seeking to win allegiances so that his rule in Saudi Arabia will continue “unchallenged.”
“I think this is clearly working because apparently when human rights violations are committed or atrocious war crimes are committed in Yemen or in other places for that matter, one only has to buy a few million worth of weapons from Western capitals to make it go away … This is the reality of politics today, is that human life is worth nothing, when it comes to capitalism and making more money who cares who dies along the way just as long as this is not their own people because of course when something happens in France or people die in France, it is actually worthy of outrage, when it comes to the Middle East and a few Muslims, who cares. This has been the policy for decades now,” she said.   
The analyst further noted France is using Saudi Arabia’s national security as an excuse to justify its arms sales to the kingdom, asserting that Riyadh is actually the one who is “generating instability” in the Middle East.
France is the world’s third biggest arms exporter and counts Saudi Arabia among its biggest purchasers.
Most of these weapons have been used in Saudi Arabia’s more than three years of war on its southern neighbor Yemen. Rights groups have repeatedly called on Paris to stop the provision of arms and instead impose pressure on Saudis to stop the carnage which has left more than 14,000 people, mostly civilians, dead since the war started in March 2015. As part of the increasing arms sale, Riyadh has been supplied with French tanks, armored vehicles, munitions and artillery and navy ships over the past years.
Paris has come under fierce criticism by rights groups at home and abroad for selling arms to the Saudi regime.
Shakdam further maintained that Western countries are using terror to promote their own political agendas, arguing that they are the ones who are benefiting from insecurity in the Middle East because the likes of Saudi Arabia will continue buying their weapons.
According to the analyst, the Saudis have been used for decades by Western governments to destabilize the Middle East and to ensure that wars are being promoted in order to make money out of them.
Meanwhile, Jihad Mouracadeh, the other panelist on the program, stated there is nothing wrong with arms sales to Saudi Arabia when many countries in the world are buying weapons –namely Egypt, India and Pakistan.
He also opined that it is an “excellent thing” to sell arms to Saudi Arabia given the fact that the kingdom is “facing a threat” in the region.  


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