Martin Turner’s cartoon (30 October) truly captures what so many articles on the refugee issue have failed to even acknowledge i.e. how the actions of the major world powers have created and prolonged the wars that have caused the crisis, primarily through the sale of arms to the Middle East.
An IHS Jane 360 Global Defence Trade Report shows that in 2014 alone both Saudi Arabia and the UAE imported $8.6 billion worth of weapons – more than the whole of western Europe combined, moving the former to the top arms importer in the world. The main beneficiaries of this obscene purchase of destructive weaponry were the US at $8.4 billion, the UK at $1.9 billion, Russia at $1.5 billion, France at $1.3 billion and Germany at $1 billion. Therefore all these powers benefit from the wars raging in the region. These armaments are currently being deployed by Saudi Arabia in such destructive force on one of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen, while many others contribute to prolonging the Syrian civil war.
The Syrian people are being sacrificed in a bloody geopolitical sandwich constructed by the world’s leading powers who are also the world’s biggest arms dealers, with the western powers on one side and Russia on the other, all of whom are perversely addicted to perpetual warfare. It is long past time for an end to arms sales to the region and for an immediate ceasefire between all the belligerents as a prelude to any hope for peace. Simultaneously, a Dunkirk-type operation should be instigated to save and help those refugees fleeing for safety from wars not of their own making.