Saudi Arabia’s potentially illegal bombing of civilian targets in Yemen, currently being investigated by the United Nations, is helping to grow sales of fighter aircraft made by BAE Systems, according to Amnesty International.
Amnesty International says that that financial figures from the British-based multi-national defence contractor, reveal that a net gain of close to £1 billion over the last year in the company’s UK division is down to continuing sales and engineering support of its Eurofighter Typhoon jet to the Royal Saudi Air Force.
BAE stongly denied that sales to Saudi Arabia were helping fuel the conflict in Yemen, and that their improved sales were related to the bombing campaign.
Details of fighter jet sales, and UK-manufactured missiles, both licenced by the UK government, are examined in a UN report currently being studied by the Security Council.
The Saudi-led coalition of nine Sunni states began its attacks on Houthi-controlled areas of neighbouring Yemen in March last year. The airstrike campaign and naval blockade has so far claimed the lives of over 6,000 civilians.
Bombing raids on schools, medical facilities, mosques and markets, according to the UN, have violated international humanitarian laws, with regions of Yemen facing acute levels of famine.
Amnesty International alleges that although BAE’s military-related sales contracted in recent years, the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, alongside plans for further Saudi involvement in bombing in Syria, helped improve operating profits last year from £1.3 billion to £1.5 billion.