Government Secretly Deployed British Troops to Defend Saudi Arabian Oil Fields (excerpt)
(Source: The Independent; published Nov. 28, 2020)
By Jon Stone
LONDON --- British troops were sent to defend oil fields in Saudi Arabia without the knowledge of parliament or the public, it can be revealed.

Opposition parties accused the UK government of lacking a “moral compass” and dodging scrutiny. Campaigners said the episode was “symptomatic of the toxic relationship” between the government and the oil-rich autocracy.

The Ministry of Defence says the oil fields are “critical economic infrastructure” and that gunners from the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery were needed to help defend against drone strikes.

Incredibly, the military operation, launched in February, overlapped with a ban on exporting military hardware to the Middle Eastern dictatorship.

Until July, ministers were blocked by the Court of Appeal from signing off military exports because of concerns that Saudi forces were committing war crimes in their conflict with rebels based in neighbouring Yemen.

Until July, ministers were blocked by the Court of Appeal from signing off military exports because of concerns that Saudi forces were committing war crimes in their conflict with rebels based in neighbouring Yemen.

Legal action is ongoing in British courts to reinstate the ban, which ministers discarded in the summer after judging that the 500 alleged war crimes amounted only to “possible” breaches of international humanitarian law and were “isolated incidents”. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on The Independent website.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: The unit deployed to Saudi Arabia, 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, is the “British Army’s only regiment equipped with Short Range Air Defence capability,” namely the Rapier SAM system.
Rapier is in the process of being replaced by the MBDA Sky Sabre, which was to be initially deployed to protect the Falkland Islands, but deliveries by the manufacturer have been slowed because of the Covid epidemic.
Given the proximity of the UK and Saudi Arabia, it is not impossible that 16 Regiment would have deployed to Saudi with its first Sky Sabres, instead of the venerable Rapier, as this would also serve as a real-life demonstration of the new system’s capabilities.)


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