Cancel Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia

Justin Trudea DoD News Features

Target: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Goal: End Canadian arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

A Canadian arms manufacturer is proceeding with a $15 billion arms contract with the Saudi military. This comes despite mounting evidence of Saudi war crimes and evidence that previous arms shipments have fallen into the hands of groups that Saudi Arabia is combating.

The Saudi-led war in Yemen has claimed the lives of 3,000 civilians, including 700 children. The conflict has displaced 2.5 million people. Furthermore, there is an apparent pattern of targeting schools, mosques, markets and hospitals in bombing raids. The destruction of Yemen’s infrastructure has produced a humanitarian crisis due to a lack of adequate food and medical supplies.   

The $15 billion contract with Ontario company General Dynamics is for several years’ worth of shipments of armored personnel carriers. There is alleged photographic evidence that the Saudi military has been using similar vehicles — often ones previously bought from Canadian companies — in the Yemen conflict.  Furthermore, during the 2011 Arab Spring, the Saudi security forces deployed similar vehicles in order to crush protests in neighboring Bahrain.

According to the Saudi government, the goal of their campaign in Yemen is to dislodge the Houthi rebels, who have occupied large parts of the country, including the capital, since 2013. Photos recently emerged of Houthi fighters armed with rifles allegedly produced by Canadian arms manufacturers. While there is no record of the manufacturers in question selling arms to the Houthi rebels, they do count the Saudi security forces among their customers. Therefore, not only are the weapons helping a regime responsible for numerous human rights violations, they could also be ending up in the hands of the groups they are fighting against.

Whether intentional or not, arming both sides can only extend the conflict, costing more Yemeni lives. Sign our petition and demand that Canada commit to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Arms manufacturer General Dynamics will soon begin shipments of its armored personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia. Considering the mounting evidence of war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition, I believe all arms trading with Saudi Arabia must cease.

Canada has always tried to hold itself to a high moral standard; protecting human rights is part of the modern Canadian identity. Those values do not seem to be shared by the Saudi Arabian government. The Saudi coalition recently bombed a market in Yemen killing 119 people, including 20 children. There have been multiple reports of bombing raids targeting hospitals, schools, markets, and mosques. One can reasonably expect that further arms shipments will be employed in a similar manner.

Additionally, recent reports have indicated that arms sold to Saudi Arabia may not remain in the hands of the Saudi security forces. Not only have there been images published showing Houthi fighters in possession of rifles allegedly manufactured in Winnipeg, but also the recent use of surface to air missiles by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula raises questions about whether Canada’s avowed enemies might come into possession of Canadian arms. I must urge you to do everything in your power to halt the transfer of arms to Saudi Arabia, to uphold human rights and to maintain Canada’s reputation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DoD News Features

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