Donald MacLeod: This atrocity is just the latest so when do we finally tell these arms-buying, oil-selling Saudis enough?

I’VE never been a fan of Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.

She comes across as being aloof, arrogant, pompous and too removed from the general public to be considered a real voice of the working class.

But to her enormous credit, she didn’t mince her words in a recent article condemning Saudi Arabia’s warmongering government.

She positively – and rightly – slated its disgraceful military attacks in Yemen, deplorable human rights record and, of course, the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in what the Saudi regime claim was a “fist-fight” in its Istanbul consulate.

But the main thrust of her article centred upon the uncaring duplicity that has been shown by the UK Government over this horrible killing.

She rightly asked what our Government’s reaction would have been if Russia or Iran had carried out a similar atrocity on one of their foreign dissidents within the sovereign territory of another country.

As she pointed out, it took Boris Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, less than 24 hours to have a hairy fit over the alleged assassination of journalist Arkady Babchenko on the streets of Kiev five months ago.

His death was actually staged in an attempt to get Vladimir Putin’s agents to reveal themselves.

However, in comparison, it took our new Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, a lamentable seven days before he even issued a tweet saying he was seeking “urgent answers” from the Saudi authorities over Jamal’s disappearance.

One rule for one brutal regime, another for a more despicable one.

It is about their blockades and carpet bombing of Yemen, now regarded as the greatest humanitarian crisis in modern times, their systematic repression, jailing, torturing, whipping and beheading of their own citizens, and a few unlucky foreigners, who criticise or mock Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his well-heeled, oil-rich regime. Not to mention their abhorrent treatment of women which harks back to the dark ages.

Let’s not forget that Osama bin Laden and 15 of the hijackers who destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, but for some strange, unexplained reason 300 eminent Saudis and members of their extended royal family were the only people given clearance and allowed to fly out of the US straight after the attack.

Yet the UK and the US have continually let them away with murder and the most heinous of crimes.

Rather than make them answerable for their crimes, they queue up for barrels of oil and the opportunity to sell them new and improved weapons of war.

It has to stop.

Crown Prince Salman and his regime have no respect for human rights, the rule of law and territorial boundaries.

Theirs is, or should be, a pariah state which uses the threat of pushing up the price of a barrel of oil and the withdrawal of the deals replenishing their billion-dollar arsenal to say what they want and do what they want without care for the consequences and suffering they inflict on others.

I say, let them do their worst.

Our Government and others must stand up to them and they must be held accountable.

President Donald Trump has warned the consequences will be severe once guilt has been 100% established. I hope the UK follows suit, and if that pushes up the price of a gallon of petrol or causes a few hundred jobs to be lost in the global arms sales market, then so be it. It is a price worth paying.

The Saudis need to be brought to heel, arms sales should immediately be stopped and their diplomats must be weeded out and sent back to their own country.

And the thugs responsible for poor Jamal Khashoggi’s grisly demise must face justice in a court of law.

We cannot be at the beck and call of evil, undemocratic and cruel regimes.

Enough is enough.

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