It is a matter of shame for the international community especially the powerful Western nations to have allowed the atrocities in Yemen continue. The country has been a victim of a brutal Saudi-led war that has killed thousands of civilians including children. Food shortages, disease and human suffering continue unabated. That Washington hasn’t spoken out against the impropriety of the lead military aggressor in a proxy war against one of the world’s poorest nations setting the parameters of an investigation into suspected war crimes and other human rights abuses speaks volumes. Saudi Arabia has stood accused of manipulating the Netherlands-Canada resolution seeking to establish an International Commission of Inquiry into possible war crimes in that country, to be put to the vote at the UN Human Rights Council. Yet Riyadh is said to have issued threats on behalf of the entire Gulf Cooperation Council, including diplomatic repercussions as a well as a scaling down of petro-dollar trade opportunities, to anyone thinking of supporting the move. Resultantly, the Dutch and their allies have downwardly revised the text to instead call for an “international eminent group of experts”. The UN Human Rights Council chief has spent the last three consecutive years calling for just such an international inquiry. Thus the message sent by the Trump White House is that the world body and its various agencies and bodies are profoundly irrelevant, particularly when it comes to Iran. The latter may or may not be backing the so-called Houthi rebels. Though a certain amount of skepticism must be maintained over such labels, especially when coming from a warmongering superpower. Thus what Saudi Arabia is keenly interested in seeing happening at the Geneva vote, which at the time of writing is said to have been delayed to give further opportunity for negotiation, is backing for its own alternative resolution. Bluntly put, Riyadh is seeking to give itself a clean chit. Indeed, it is already halfway there following its success last year in having the GCC coalition removed from a UN blacklist of states and armed groups that maim and kill children in times of war. Yet while it is only right to put the Saudi kingdom and its regional allies in the dock — space should be made for their western backers. And this must include good ol’ Blighty, a country that really ought to stop trading on its long gone commitment to fair play and fighting for the underdog. Not only is it old hat — British assertions that Riyadh would be best positioned to investigate the coalition’s human rights record is less than a brilliant disguise for prioritising commercial interests over everything else. After all, since the fires of war first engulfed the MENA region some six years ago — London today finds itself in the lucrative position of being the second largest global arms supplier. Which may or may not have given Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson the necessary boost to give his country a clean chit of its own over Iraq by suggesting to the people of that country that they must do more to prosecute ISIS members for war crimes. Sadly, the trouble with clean chits is that they rarely remain so. More often than not do they turn the kettle black. * Published in Daily Times, September 30th 2017.