Posts Tagged ‘Houthi Rebels’

Vox Political on Cameron’s Boasting about Selling Arms to Saudi Arabia

February 26, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has a report from the Guardian about Cameron boasting about his arms sales to Saudi Arabia on a visit to the BAE Systems factory in Warton, Lancashire. He did so on the same day that the European Parliament voted for an arms embargo because of the country’s indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen. Mike in his comments says that Cameron simply doesn’t appear to understand why selling arms to these people is wrong. It is, according to Mike, the most indictment of him.

David Cameron boasts of ‘brilliant’ UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Mike’s right: this is truly scandalous. The Saudi regime has been condemned by a number of international bodies for its bombardment in Yemen. This has included the indiscriminate killing of civilians in what has been cautiously described as possible war crimes. In addition to killing Houthi rebels, the Saudis have also targeted Shi’a mosques, destroyed four hospitals operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres. They’ve also destroyed factories and even taxi drivers. The weapons dropped include cluster bombs, which remain to kill and mutilate in former war zones long after the war has actually stopped. They’re still a real problem in the former Yugoslavia, where people are still being killed and maimed by them, or at least they were a few years ago, long after the war in Bosnia and Kosovo officially ceased. International observers have stated that Saudi Arabia’s campaign in the Yemen looks very much like an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Shi’a. By selling the country arms, Cameron is making Britain complicit in their crimes against humanity.

And Saudi Arabia has also funded terrorism, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, under its head of intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal. They’ve had something of a volte-face since then, after ISIS told the Saudis that they were next and issued an ultimatum urging its people to rise up. Nevertheless, we have no business arming a state which, while claiming to represent peace and stability in the region, actually gives aid and succour to our enemies.

The arms trade to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere is extremely lucrative. I’ve blogged elsewhere that Cameron has sold weapons to autocratic states, and countries like South Africa, which have neither need for them, nor the ability to maintain them properly. It’s simply Cameron lining the pockets of the ‘merchants of death’.

Most telling is the childish joy in which he described the arms and warplanes sold as ‘brilliant things’. It reminds me of a spoof of a NATO general way back when I was a lad in the early 1980s. It was on a sketch show called End of Part One. That particular skit was about a British general going to buy nuclear warheads, rather like a young boy trying to buy fireworks, and saying really childish comments like, ‘I want that one. It goes ‘whizzzzzz”, and throwing a tantrum when they don’t have those he wants in stock. The sketch was directed at Britain’s military establishment at the time when Thatcher’s and Reagan’s new Cold War was at its height, and there were real fears that a nuclear war was about to break out. CND was on the rise again, and so the sketch attacked Britain’s generals and its supposed nuclear deterrent as literally puerile warmongers, intent on seeing big bangs without any thought of the consequences, the mass death and mutilation these weapons cause. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the sketch, as it seemed a mite too simplistic. And besides, it simply wasn’t funny or very subtle. On the other hand, it does describe part of Cameron’s attitude and rhetoric here.

David Cameron boasts of ‘brilliant’ UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Cameron’s a disgrace, a wannabe dictator over here, and the enabler of autocrats and dictators around the world through the arms trade.

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The Young Turks on Fox Lies over Obama Nuclear Deal with Iran

April 9, 2015

I’ve put up a number of videos recently of The Young Turks internet news programme reporting the negotiations between Obama and Iran about stopping the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. The Americans are understandably worried about the Iranian nuclear programme, which is currently directed towards generating domestic electricity, being turned to developing nuclear weapons instead.

These talks, which are intended to guarantee peace and prevent another nuclear arms race in the Middle East, are extremely unpopular with the Republicans. Several of the Turks’ videos I’ve posted on this report the Repugs stubborn opposition to the talks and their attempts to undermine them with a letter to the Iranian president himself.

In the video below, the Turks’ anchor Cenk Uyghur, explains how the talks have been successful for America. In return for lifting the sanctions, the Iranians have promised to scale back massively their nuclear programme. The plutonium stocks, which could be used to develop bombs, have been removed. The number of centrifuges have been reduced from 19,000 to 6,000. They have also agreed to give up 97 per cent of their stockpile of enriched uranium. The International Energy Authority has also been given full rights of access and inspection.

This is a very, very good deal. And as you’d expect, the Republicans are resolutely against it.

Uyghur here goes on to comment on Fox News’ report on the talks by their expert, Katie MacFarlane. She claims this is merely a paper agreement, and talks about how the Iranians still chant ‘Death to America’ and demand the annihilation of Israel.

Now Uyghur points out that this is far more than ‘a pinkie agreement’. It’s backed by a number of other countries, apart from America and Iran.

But the Repugs don’t want a negotiated peace. They want war, and an invasion of Iran.

There are several reasons why the Repugs want to invade Iran. The country is deeply hostile to both American and Israel. The Iranians, as a Shi’a nation, are backing the Shi’a population in Iraq and aiming to gain influence there through them. There are also reports that they are backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen, though this is unconfirmed.

However, as the Sisters of Mercy sang, ‘The real truth is never spoken’. I think a major reason why the Repugs want to invade Iran is the self-same one that motivated their invasion of Iraq: Iran is an oil-rich country, which won’t allow outsiders to own its industries. The oil industry was nationalised in Iran after the 1979 Revolution. The mullahs involved have massively enriched themselves. The regime has also passed laws preventing foreigners from owning Iranian companies. Forbes have placed Iran at the top of their list of countries that don’t allow free trade.

When Mossadeq, the then prime minister, attempted to nationalise the oil industry in the 1950s, he was overthrown in a CIA backed coup that inaugurated the Shah’s White Revolution. This led to eventual proscription of all opposition parties and autocratic rule by the Shah himself. The Iranian oil industry was dominated by Anglo-Persian Oil, or British Petroleum, now BP. The Iranians themselves received little in return for Britain’s exploitation of their oil wealth, and the Iranian workers were paid much less than their British counterparts.

British domination of the oil industry was massively resented, and Britain’s interference in the country’s affairs since the 19th century has been and continues to be a source of bitterness. There’s an Iranian saying, ‘If you find a stone in your path, it was put there by an Englishman’. Mossadeq’s administration and his nationalisation of the oil companies was extremely popular. His fall, and the political repression that followed, was one of the major factors leading to the Islamic Revolution.

It looks to me very much like Iran’s oil wealth is still coveted by Big Oil, who would like to invade the country and grab it for themselves. All under the guise of safeguarding international peace and bringing the country democracy. Just like they did in Iraq.

And look how successful that was.

The last thing the Middle East, Iran, Britain and America need is another war. The chaos and bloodshed in the region is bad enough as it is, without extending the war into Iran.

Far too many lives have already been lost, and there have been too many coffins going past Royal Wotton Bassett draped with flags, let alone the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, killed and left homeless by the war.

It’s time any talk about war with Iran was shown up as the dangerous nonsense it is.