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We ARE responsible: in our name the British and American government have destabilised the Middle East

george-osborne-aleppoMP George Osborne opened his Commons speech with the truth: “We are deceiving ourselves in this Parliament if we believe we have no responsibility for what has happened in Syria.”

Saddam Hussein was for many years funded and armed by the US and British governments, as a counterweight to Iran whom they feared. Support from the U.S. for Iraq was frequently discussed in open session of the Senate and House of Representatives. On June 9, 1992, Ted Koppel reported on ABC’s Nightline that the “Reagan/Bush administrations permitted—and frequently encouraged—the flow of money, military intelligence, Special Operations training, agricultural credits, dual-use technology, chemicals, and weapons to Iraq” (refs 1-3 here).

There is evidence that Hussein committed atrocities (as did and do other ‘friendly’ rulers in the region) but also that he had developed an economy in which citizens’ basic needs were met and a greater degree of equality of income and opportunity was achieved than anywhere else in the region.

He was encouraged to fight a proxy war with Iran but then went a step too far and felt that he could invade Kuwait with impunity after discussing the matter with US Ambassador Glaspie, who said, according to the tape and transcript of their meeting on July 25, 2000: “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasise the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.”

‘We’ – the British and American governments – are responsible for destabilising the Middle East – a process which some see as dating back to the Sykes-Picot boundaries agreement but which, within living memory, starts with the first Iraq War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991) mounted to expel the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Subsequently America and its allies wrecked Iraq’s water, sewage and electricity systems by imposing sanctions which prevented imports of the parts needed to repair them. Iraq’s army and police force was dismantled and the country has been beset by bloodshed ever since.

All this – as is rarely pointed out – happened well before 9/11 (2001) which preceded the second Iraq war.in 2003, launched on the pretext of removing non-existent weapons of mass destruction from the country.

Osborne said that the tragedy in Aleppo was due in part to the August 2013 vote, when MPs refused to act against the Assad regime; he is very short-sighted – the tragedy started when USA and UK befriended the Iraqi leader. He recommends intervention – but if we had not intervened in Iraq it might well today have continued to be a relatively egalitarian country in which its citizens’ needs were met and other countries in the region might well have continued to be relatively peaceful.

Intervention has been disastrous: continued civil war in Iraq and Libya – following the West’s intervention –  and the US and British deployment of military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for repeated lethal Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen.

 

 

 

Political loyalties: EU or USA? The red carpet treatment wins the day

cameron red carpet muscat

Saudi Arabia, with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led a gulf coalition airstrike against Yemen in March. The Obama administration is supporting the Saudi-led air war with intelligence, air refueling operations and expediting weapons deliveries and other crucial support.

Today a Moseley reader draws our attention to the news reported by the Guardian that – eager to follow suit – David Cameron has extolled the ‘defence’ products made by BAE Systems and assured the company that every effort would be made by the UK government to support the selling of their equipment to Saudi Arabia, Oman and other countries.

This, despite the European parliament’s vote in favour of an EU-wide ban on arms being sold to Saudi Arabia in protest at its heavy aerial bombing of Yemen, which has been condemned by the UN.

According to a BBC report, Houthis – aka Shiite Muslim rebels – are seeking change from weak governance, corruption, resource depletion and poor infrastructure, unemployment, high food prices, limited social services and large-scale displacement.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have taken to the streets of the capital, Sana’a, to voice their anger at the Saudi invasion.

yemen bombing

Death and destruction: the fruits of Saudi, UK, USA labour

 

Will the British government have to choose between two ‘special friends’?

Saudi security analyst: “We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States”

WSJ logo

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Saudi government has made no public comment so far on the phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama, whose country Saudi Arabia sees as the main military protector of its interests, and new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, whose country Saudi Arabia sees as its main threat.

Its journalist, Ellen Knickmeyer, alleges that Sunni-dominated Gulf Arab governments, especially Saudi Arabia, fear that Shiite-ruled Iran wants to use Shia populations in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen to destabilize Gulf Arab governments and try to throw the regional balance of power toward Iran.

Saudi Arabia wanted to do more to boost the power of armed Sunni rebel groups on the ground in Syria but the U.S. declared Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra to be a terrorist organization, while many in the Gulf consider the rebel faction to be a legitimate, predominantly Syrian fighting force against Mr. Assad.

prince saud al faisalPrince Saud al Faisal, speaking to the Friends of Syria group, a coalition of Western and Gulf Arab countries and Turkey, said that Saudi Arabia wants “intensification of political, economic and military support to the Syrian opposition . . . to change the balance of powers on the ground” in Syria.

Ms Knickmeyer reports that the state-run Saudi Press Agency carries a transcript of his remarks.

The Gulf Research Center

The Geneva-based Gulf Research Center is said to ‘maintain cooperation agreements’ with major partners such as Emirates Bank, Shell, Glaxo Smith Kline, the University of Queensland, the Saudi Arabian Marketing and Agencies Company (SAMACO) group, Pakistan’s National Defence College and the FRIDE Foundation.

mustafa alani gulf researchEllen Knickmeyer  reports that Dr Mustafa Alani, Saudi security analyst and Senior Advisor and Director of the National Security and Terrorism Studies Department at the Gulf Research Center, said that Saudis now feel that the Obama administration is disregarding Saudi concerns over Iran and Syria, and will respond accordingly in ignoring “U.S. interests, U.S. wishes, U.S. issues” in Syria:  “They are going to be upset—we can live with that. We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States.”

Saudi leverage

Gulf security analysts are reported to have said that Saudi and other Gulf Arab countries have little leverage to advance their aims in any U.S.-Iran diplomacy. Michael Stephens, researcher at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in Qatar, is quoted as saying that Saudis have only a few other means, such as directing more of their arms or energy deals to Asia.

In an ill-judged article by John Stanton (October 30’s English edition of Pravda), he asked, “Why does the world’s most powerful nation bow down before the House of Saud even as it becomes less dependent on Persian Gulf and Saudi oil?”

Other commentators are now saying that the American administration now evidently does feel freer to act, now that its new energy resources have been developed.

Read the full article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303643304579104910000148876.html

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