THE UK and US are fuelling relentless violence in the Middle East through arm sales – with Scotland providing killer precision missiles, a new report has found.

The study, published by Oxfam today (Weds), found that the two countries were the sole suppliers of weapons to Saudi Arabia in its campaign against rebel armies in Yemen, which the charity said resulted in 87 civilian deaths between January 2021 and the end of February 2022.

Scotland’s main contribution has been through the supply of the circuit boards for precision missiles manufactured in Glenrothes, Fife, the report’s author Martin Butcher, Oxfam’s policy advisor on arms and conflict, said.

He told The National: “The big ticket item in Scotland are the Paveway IV guided bomb kits that are produced at the Raytheon plant.”

The National: Women hold their malnourished children at a hospital in Yemen Women hold their malnourished children at a hospital in Yemen (Image: AP Photo)

Oxfam’s report, called Fuelling Violence, found the Saudia Arabia-led coalition of forces who have attempted to stamp out the Houthi movement in Yemen had carried out 19 attacks on hospitals, clinics and ambulances in little over a year.

There were also 293 attacks that forced people to flee their homes.

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Butcher added: “The sheer number of attacks on civilians is stark testament to the terrible tragedy the people of Yemen have suffered. 

“Our analysis shows there is a pattern of violence against civilians, and all sides in this conflict have not done enough to protect civilian life, which they are obligated to do under international humanitarian law. 

“The intensity of these attacks would not have been possible without a ready supply of arms. That is why it’s vital the UK Government and others must immediately stop the arms sales that are fuelling war in Yemen.”

Oxfam said that since the beginning of the campaign in Yemen, the UK had licensed at least £7.9 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia across 547 licences.

And the war had caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties and forced 4 million people from their homes since 2015 – one of the world’s worst-ever humanitarian catastophes, the charity said.

This had resulted in 21.5m Yemenis in need of assistance and 17.3m people suffering from acute hunger, including over 2m children with acute malnutrition, Oxfam added.

The UK Government restarted arm sales to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and faces another legal challenge against the policy at the High Court in January.

The UK's 'central role' in the crisis

Butcher said: “One of the reasons the government gave for restarting arms sales was its view that attacks that breached or potentially breached international humanitarian law were isolated incidents that did not display a particular pattern.

“Our report reveals a very different picture, a large number of attacks which harm civilians every day. These daily events require proper investigation and while there is a risk that serious human rights abuses could be taking place, arms sales must be immediately discontinued.”

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Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens’ external affairs, slammed the UK’s “central role” in the crisis.

He said: “The UK Government has played an utterly central role in inflicting the worst humanitarian crisis in the world on the people of Yemen. The terrible war has killed thousands of children while destroying schools, hospitals and homes and fuelling a dreadful famine.

“This report exposes the shameful hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy and underlines the complicity of successive Tory governments.

"After eight years of brutal bombardment, and with the death toll continuing to rise, it is simply unacceptable that the UK Government continues to promote this state-sanctioned murder."

A spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said: "We take our export control responsibilities seriously and operates one of the most robust and transparent export control regimes in the world.

“We consider all our export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard.”