#Saudi Arabia is a key player in the fight against so-called 'Islamic State' and #Terrorism around the world. It shares many common interests with the #United Kingdom and the two countries cooperate very closely when it comes to global issues. In the Middle East, it is seen as a pillar of stability and an important force against chaos, especially since the rise of aggressive Iranian influence and Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. So what could be the issue?

Boris needs to understand local issues

Many outspoken British critics of the oil-rich Kingdom, most notably Jeremy Corbyn, have commented on human rights violations, not just within Saudi Arabia but also in Yemen.

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A recent opinion poll states of 2000 Brits shows that 62% of them think we should not sell arms to the Saudis. Even Boris Johnson has irresponsibly dabbled in this as foreign secretary, in which he said at the Rome Mediterranean Dialogues forum in Rome in 2016 'There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion . . . that's why you've got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, puppeteering and playing proxy wars'. If Boris is referring to Syria or Yemen then he should also understand the local issues that allow these wars to continue and not just foreign intervention, of which Britain is a part. Particularly in Syria where the UK has similar interests to the Saudis. People also rush to condemn them as a sponsor of terror but are these claims really justified and fair? The UK has close trading relationships with many countries known to be human rights abusers such as China and Ethiopia but the noise is always focused on Saudi Arabia.

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It is necessary to reevaluate how Saudi Arabia benefits the world.

The Kingdom is reforming rapidly, the notorious religious police no longer have the power of arrest and women, as of this year, have the right to drive. This could be partly due to the influence of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman who has gained a popular position with the Saudi youth. These things all signal towards the fact that the Kingdom is willing to listen to its citizens. In regards to fighting terror, the Kingdom has played a key role in the region and has had to be very tough within its own borders to counter this problem. Radical clerics are being arrested and silenced in vast numbers across the nation. The Kingdom has also been a pillar of stability in the region, providing support for the fight against terror in Yemen and Libya as well as providing assistance to the Egyptian military which is engaged in a tough internal battle against Islamist terror organisations.

There is a necessity for anti-Saudi critics to look at the facts on the ground, and the fact is that Saudi Arabia is not building Wahhabi mosques within the UK and has shown it does not wish to impose this ideology outside its own borders as is commonly claimed.

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There is a moral dilemma

Even if this is looked at from a pragmatic perspective, Britain's trade with Saudi Arabia profits the UK. The weapons trade brings in estimated profits of $775 million. The moral dilemma then, is how are these weapons used? Iran is attempting to boost its regional influence by supporting Houthi militias in Yemen against the recognised Yemeni Armed Forces. These militias behave like a terrorist organisation, killing not only innocent Yemenis but Saudis as well. The Saudis and their allies felt a necessity to fight this militia on their own. When civilians are killed the Saudis own up and admit their mistakes were due to inexperience. If people in the west are willing to consider the Kingdom 'evil' due to this, what is to be said about the innocent civilians unintentionally killed in the military intervention in Iraq?

Double standards

It is clear that Britain benefits from Saudi Arabia and so does the region, so its critics should be aware of their double standards. Where is Corbyn's outcry on how people are treated in Venezuela, North Korea or even Syria? It is time to be sensible and remember which countries have common interests and those that wish to do no harm to this country. The ridiculous media campaign to smear Saudi Arabia, especially but not exclusively from left-leaning sources, is outrageous and harms the UK more than anyone else. David Cameron rightly stated on BBC Radio 4 while he was still Prime Minister "Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is important for our own security. They are opponents of Daesh and the extremism.". Britain has been able to stop terror attacks due to this relationship and British lives have been saved. If the UK wants to remain serious about fighting terrorism, it must continue this relationship.