Recently, there have been calls for the UK to re-evaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia. These calls have been based on the idea that the UK is muting its human rights criticism due to the country’s importance as an ally and arms trading partner.
Amidst this criticism, the government has argued that human rights in the region are best promoted when security co-operation and economic interdependence with the Saudi Arabia are maintained. Others argue that human rights in the region would be better served through a more assertive strategy, and that the UK government is not genuinely concerned with human rights in the region.
Evidence suggests that the government’s strategy of engaging Saudi Arabia on security matters to export more ethical international norms is not working. Moreover, any professionalisation that is achieved through continued close cooperation is overshadowed completely by the UK’s continued support of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen.