Lib Dems call for halt to training of cadets from Gulf states with bad rights records

Britain’s elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst is being paid £4.2m this year to train 105 overseas military officer cadets, many of whom come from Gulf states whose human rights records are regularly condemned, according to official figures.

The government is facing calls to stop training “Sandhurst sheikhs” who return home to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to put into practice military techniques learned in Britain.

Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, spoke out after figures released by the Ministry of Defence showed an increase in revenues from a number of Gulf states despite the imposition of repressive measures in response to the Arab spring. [The Guardian]

Back when Robin Cook was Foreign Secretary there was a brief push to end the training of overseas military cadets as part of his “ethical foreign policy”. The idea however foundered when Tony Blair took against it.

Amongst Sandhurst’s past trainees are Ian Fleming (who did not pass his course) and singer James Blunt.

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