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World

UK securely deployed units to guard Saudi Arabia oil fields: report

The UK's Ministry of Defence commenting on the issue stated that oil fields are "critical economic infrastructure" and that gunners from the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery were needed to help defend against drone strikes.
Published November 28, 2020

The United Kingdom (UK) secretly sent military units to guard the oil fields in Saudi Arabia without informing Parliament and public opinion of the decision, claims a report published in the Independent.

The move brought about severe criticism from the opposition in Parliament and accusations of lacking a “moral compass” and evading supervision.

Politicians termed it a “symptom of the toxic relationship” between the British government and the oil-rich country.

The UK's Ministry of Defence commenting on the issue stated that oil fields are "critical economic infrastructure" and that gunners from the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery were needed to help defend against drone strikes.

Talking to the British publication, Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesperson said “The reports that the government have secretly been deploying troops to Saudi Arabia are shocking.

“Not only is this government selling the Saudi government arms to use against civilians in Yemen, but deploying troops to defend Saudi oil fields, reveals just how absent this government’s moral compass truly is.”

The ministry spokesperson confirmed that the deployment had included an advanced military radar system to help detect drone strikes, but would not be drawn on "exact timescales or the numbers of personnel involved due to operational security".

The publication added that the sending of British forces to Saudi Arabia took place “in a shocking way” last February, in conjunction with the decision to ban the export of arms to this country.

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