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UK’s controversial £3.4 billion arms deal with Qatar

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The UK Government’s over £3.4 billion worth of military equipment and weapons deal with Qatar has come under intense scrutiny, for the nation’s ties with Hamas, a group recognized by many countries, including the US and the EU, as a terrorist organization, this alarming figure, is disclosed by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Caat). This connection is particularly concerning in light of Hamas’s responsibility for the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, casting a shadow over the ethics of the UK’s arms trade decisions.

The UK’s arms sales to Qatar, an unchangeable supporter of Hamas, raise serious questions about the indirect facilitation of activities that go against international peace and security.

Over the past 14 years, the UK has been exporting a range of lethal weaponry to Qatar, including bombs, ammunition, aircraft, machine guns, weapon sights, assault rifles, and riot shields. These figures, however, only represent the potential value of these exports, as the actual amount of equipment sent remains shrouded in secrecy due to the nature of unlimited-value licenses.

Qatar, a long-standing friend of Hamas, became the focal point following the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7, an incident that has intensified scrutiny over Qatar’s transnational arms trades. This connection raises grave concerns about the implications of the UK’s extensive arms deals with Qatar.

The October 7 attack, attributed to Hamas, underscores the potential consequences of Qatar’s international alliances and poses serious questions about the UK’s role in indirectly supporting Hamas through the Qatari regime.

The UK, by continuing its arms trade with Qatar, risks being seen as complicit not only in the nation’s internal human rights violations but also in its external political alignments, which may have far-reaching and devastating consequences.

The UK Government’s decision to remain engaged in such substantial arms deals with Qatar, therefore, must be reevaluated in light of these recent developments. It is imperative that ethical considerations and counterterrorism commitments take precedence over economic interests in shaping foreign policy and trade decisions.

The Scottish Greens have been vocal in their criticism of the UK’s dealings with Qatar, pointing out the stark contradiction between the UK’s professed commitment to human rights and its ongoing arms trade with a regime known for its repressive laws and practices, and now supporting terrorism, Hamas.

Ross Greer, the Greens’ external affairs spokesperson, had condemned the UK’s role in bolstering a regime capable of such “atrocities and abuse”. The UK’s arms sales to Qatar not only make it complicit in the killing of innocent Israeli civilians but also the Qatari people and it sends a clear message that innocent human lives are secondary to the profits of the United Kingdom and their arms companies.

Qatar’s patronage of terror outfit Hamas extends beyond just an Arab concern, representing a significant and deep-rooted security threat on a global scale. This situation is further complicated by recent events involving the prosecution and conviction of retired Indian Navy officials in Qatar. These incidents, when viewed alongside the Hamas terror attack on Israel, paint a concerning picture of Qatar as a potentially dangerous nation in the Middle East.

The arrest and subsequent conviction of former Indian Navy personnel in Qatar, under circumstances that remain unclear, have raised serious questions about the nation’s legal processes and respect for international norms. When these incidents are juxtaposed with Qatar’s support for Hamas, it suggests a pattern of behavior that could destabilize regional and global security.

Qatar’s actions, from its support of Hamas to its treatment of foreign nationals, including the Indian Navy officials, contribute to an image of a nation that poses significant security risks. These developments necessitate a reevaluation of Qatar’s role and influence in the Middle East and its impact on international security dynamics. The convergence of these issues underscores the need for a vigilant and coordinated response from the global community to address the multifaceted threats emerging from Qatar.

In such a situation the UK’s continuous arms deals with Qatar are not just transactions; these are testaments to the values the nation chooses to uphold or disregard on the world stage. The choice between profit and principles is clear.

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