The role of banks in the Yemen bombings

BY: Valeria Rodriguez

The role of banks in the Yemen bombings

PEJOURNAL – An investigation published by the Delas Center for Peace Studies revealed that several European banks financed the Saudi and coalition bombings of Yemen.

The report is called “Financing the weapons of the Yemen war” and analyzes the period from 2015 to 2019 in which it accounts for the presence of financial capital from banking entities such as BBVA, Santander, the French Bank BNP Paribas, among others.

It should be noted that these banks were not sanctioned for financial support to the bombing against Yemen despite demonstrating the violation of international law, but in contrast in 2014, BNP Paribas had to pay a fine of 8,834 million dollars for having entered into commercial agreements with Sudan and Iran.

In this way, it became the first financial entity to be weighed down by economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

The reason why they contributed financially to the arms companies is simple, Yemen has the Bab al Mandeb Strait, one of the most important oil passages in the region.

Saudi Arabia, which was an ally of the United States, seeks hegemony over the Straits and with the new Biden administration that alliance may falter.

Within the coalition is the United Arab Emirates, which signed the normalization of relations with Israel and is emerging as the successor to Saudi Arabia when it comes to alliances with the United States.

Despite the Saudi and coalition bombings, the resistance of the Ansarullah movement does not give them respite and they respond to each bombing by relying on Chapter VIII and Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which speaks directly about the self-determination of the peoples. and the right to defense.

While Saudi Arabia had signed multi-million dollar deals with the Trump administration, the companies borrowing the arms sold also received financing from banks.

Military investments

It is estimated that financial institutions paid a total of $ 607 billion to the main arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2015 and 2019, during which the most aggressive military operations of the Saudi army against Yemeni civilians were carried out. .

Among the 50 financial institutions cited in the study are some of the leading banks and investment funds in Europe and the United States.

Some of them are: Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and European banks such as Deutsche Bank, Barclays and the French insurance company AXA.

These entities allocated their financing to nine arms companies: Airbus, Boeing, General Dynamics, Leonardo, Navantia, Raytheon Technologies, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Rheinmetall AG.

Notably, the report shows that 48.7 percent of the weapons exported to Saudi Arabia and the coalition were aircraft, 19.5 percent missiles, 14.6 percent armored vehicles, and 7.6 percent air defense systems. .

Banks and the arms industry

On the other hand, BBVA and Banco Santander have played an important and controversial role when it comes to financing.

The central controversy is in the case of the Raytheon company which was denounced by United Nations experts on Yemen for the production of the GBU-12 Paveway bombs that violate international standards and have been used since 2011 in Yemen.

These bombs were also dropped in 2016 against Hajjah hospital, and in Sana’a over a civil funeral the same year.

In the attack on the hospital, 19 people died and 24 were injured while in the attack on the civil funeral 32 people lost their lives and 695 were injured.This scandal demonstrated the intention of Saudi Arabia and the coalition to directly attack civilian targets which villa the international right.

In turn, the Spanish shipping company Navantia received financing from banks such as BBVA, Santander, Bankia or Bankinter.

This company built five Avante-2200 frigates commissioned by the Saudi Arabian government in 2018 to be delivered in 2022.

Likewise, human rights organizations in Spain asked that the export of these corvettes to Saudi Arabia be stopped.

The main argument is the non-compliance with the Spanish law on arms trade and the European Common Position, for having as its destination a country that is involved in the flagrant violation of Human Rights and being guilty of the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in recent times.

According to the United Nations, the bombings in Yemen have caused almost 4 million people to be displaced from their territories and left more than 7 million without humanitarian aid.

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