Published February 28, 2018
Despite Icelandic law and international treaties banning the practice, Iceland has been knowingly greenlighting weapons shipments through the country to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging war on civilians in Yemen. Shortly after the matter was brought to light, the Icelandic government has stopped future shipments, and will review its standards and practices.
Both Icelandic law, and international treaties that Iceland has agreed to, forbid the distribution of weapons to areas where they are used against civilians. Investigative news show Kveikur has brought to light, however, that over the past few years, Air Atlanta has been flying weapons from eastern Europe to Saudi Arabia through Iceland, where the shipments have been rubber stamped for passage.
As has been widely reported, numerous civilians in Yemen have been killed in an ongoing war between that country and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has also been using the weapons in Syria, bringing with it untold civilian casualties.
The weapons passing through Iceland, with the blessing of its government, include some 170,000 land mines. This is especially troubling as while Saudi Arabia is not a signatory country of the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use of landmines, Iceland is.
In the wake of this reporting, RÚV reports, the Icelandic government has halted the latest request from Air Atlanta to fly further weapons through the country. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir told reporters that the government needs to “review its regulations and practices looking forward. And it is of course important that we show that we are follow these international treaties which we have signed.”