According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, British arms sales have increased 70% since 2006.
Over that span, the United States was the single largest purchaser of British arms, while the Middle East and Asia combined to yield the largest profits.
Israel, The United Arab Emirates, Algeria & Egypt all imported significantly more weapons than ever before, but no middle east country matches Saudi Arabia’s excessive spree.
The Saudi government itself ordered 260 armored personnel carriers, in addition to scores of more lo-tech ‘conventional’ weapons (guns, cannons, tear gas).
This creates a situation where Saudi-manned British arms are silencing pro-democracy protestors in Bahrain, while coalition forces (UK, US, France) aim to squash dictator Gaddafi in Libya.
CAAT (Campaigners Against Arms Traders) spokeswoman Kaye Stearman said:
“It is shameful that a British-manufactured armoured vehicle is being used by Saudi Arabia to support repression of peaceful protest in a neighboring country.”
The Bahraini government also imports British arms. A report from codewit.com states:
“Despite long-running concerns among activists over Bahrain’s human rights record, British firms were last year granted licenses, unopposed, to export an arsenal of sometimes deadly crowd control weapons. Licenses approved included exactly the kind of weapons and ammunition used by Bahraini riot police to clear the Pearl Roundabout protest encampment, including shotguns, teargas canisters, “crowd control ammunition” and stun grenades.”