“By our swindle they were glorified…The more we condemned and despised ourselves, the more we could cynically take pride in them, our creatures…They were our dupes, wholeheartedly fighting the enemy.” T.E. Lawrence, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”
The enemy Thomas Edward Lawrence (a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”) is referring to in the above quote is none other than Turkish Ottoman Empire. The people who were ‘swindled’ and ‘duped’ are the Arabs who were convinced and manipulated to take up arms and rise up in an ‘Arab Revolt’ a hundred years ago, against their Turkish overlords in support of the British Empire’s war effort during World War One.
The Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of Germany in November 1914. In the United Kingdom, many thought the war would end quickly and everyone would be home for Christmas because the British populace were weaned on stories of imperialist heroics administering the natives of Asia and Africa a military beating in a surprising short amount of time. Unsurprisingly, millions immediately enrolled to fight Germany to only find that they too were shockingly fighting with the latest military technology. To overcome the stalemate that quickly transpired on the western front i.e. the war in Europe, the British came up with a supremely cunning idea of prioritising the defeat of Germany’s ally, the Ottoman Empire in the hope of hastening a quick and decisive victory. On this basis, the primary and most important military strategy was an attack through the Strait of Dardanelles to capture Istanbul, the seat and capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, put the idea forward of a naval expedition to sail through the Strait of Dardanelles and capture Istanbul Continue reading
The covert alliance between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Zionist entity of Israel should be no surprise to any student of British imperialism. The problem is the study of British imperialism has very few students. Indeed, one can peruse any undergraduate or post-graduate university prospectus and rarely find a module in a Politics degree on the British Empire let alone a dedicated degree or Masters degree. Of course if the European led imperialist carnage in the four years between 1914 – 1918 tickles your cerebral cells then it’s not too difficult to find an appropriate institution to teach this subject, but if you would like to delve into how and why the British Empire waged war on mankind for almost four hundred years you’re practically on your own in this endeavour. One must admit, that from the British establishment’s perspective, this is a remarkable achievement.
In late 2014, according to the American journal, “Foreign Affairs”, the Saudi petroleum Minister Ali al-Naimi is reported to have said “His Majesty King Abdullah has always been a model for good relations between Saudi Arabia and other states and the Jewish state is no exception.” Recently, Abdullah’s successor King Salman expressed similar concerns to those of Israel’s to the growing agreement between the United States and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme. This led some to report that Israel and KSA presented a “united front” in their opposition to the nuclear deal. This was not the first time the Zionists and Saudis have found themselves in the same corner in dealing with a common foe. In North Yemen in the 1960’s, the Saudis were financing a British imperialist led mercenary army campaign against revolutionary republicans who had assumed authority after overthrowing the authoritarian, Imam. Gamal Abdul-Nasser’s Egypt militarily backed the republicans, while the British induced the Saudis to support them in financing and arming remaining remnants of the Imam’s supporters to stretch Nasser’s forces. During this campaign, the British organised the Israelis to drop arms for the British proxies in North Yemen, 14 times. The British, in effect, militarily but covertly, brought the Zionists and Saudis together in 1960’s North Yemen against their common foe.
However, one must go back to the 1920’s to fully appreciate the origins of this informal and indirect alliance between KSA and the Zionist entity. Continue reading
As we once again darkly commemorate the anniversary of the British-American invasion and destruction of Iraq launched on 20th March 2003 it is important to revisit one of the more endearing fabrications that was peddled in the lead up to that war. Alongside the ‘45 minute claim’ and ‘Uranium purchases from Niger’, one wing of the British establishment also let it be known that Tony Blair’s involvement was due to his subservience to George W. Bush. The latter was the line enthusiastically propagated by Great Britain’s anti-war movement, “Stop the War Coalition” (StW) and also its leading mainstream journalist, the Guardian newspaper’s associate editor, Seumas Milne.
No lesser figure than anti-capitalist social activist and writer Naomi Klein vouches for Milne’s “sound” anti-imperialism.
A year before 9/11 attacks on American soil and the subsequent ‘War on Terror’, Milne wrote an excellent and aptly titled article “Throwing our weight about”. In it he took to task Tony Blair’s infatuation with military interventionism (or ‘humanitarian war’) specifically in Kosovo, Iraq (1998) and Sierra Leone as well as noting British interference in Zimbabwean domestic issues. Milne further endorses Nelson Mandela’s rebuke of Blair, in that he is, Continue reading
On Sunday, Februrary 23rd 2014, the world witnessed the spectacular ceremonial finish to the Sochi winter Olympic games with dance, fireworks and customary pomp; on the preceding Tuesday the world clearly witnessed the ceremonial ending of a long running business saga with Prince Charles customarily dancing to the tune of the Saudi-Wahhabi clan. The first in line for the British crown dressed to the nines in traditional military regalia of the Saudi nepotistic despots, as he helped to seal another military deal which will healthily burnish the order book of Europe’s largest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems. The price for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets was finally agreed to by the Saudi clan.
The deal, aptly and orwellianly named “Salam” (i.e. Peace), is worth £4.5 billion (equivalent to roughly $7.1 billion) and according to a report in the Times of London, is part of the notorious and corrupt £40 billion “Yamamah” (i.e. Dove) deal. Furthermore, the hundreds of millions of pounds newly “wringed” from the Saudi clan will underpin thousands of jobs in the North West of England “and around the British defence supply chain” added the Times.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT,) an organisation which monitors the arms industry, claimed that the United Kingdom sells Continue reading
In the first decade of this century, amidst the flames of the “War on Terror” which had hitherto taken in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez made a private visit to London to meet Ken Livingstone, the mayor. Two days earlier British Prime Minister, Tony Blair had lectured and rebuked Chavez and Evo Morales, Bolivian President on the need to use the resources of his oil rich country ‘responsibly’.
According to the Guardian, Blair “called on the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, to show some responsibility in the use of their energy resources.”
Responsibility is the act of being responsible and the Oxford English Dictionary defines “responsible” as “having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone.”[i] On the other hand, what Blair actually meant by “responsibility” was not qualified or spelt out. If by chiding Chavez and Morales, Blair is arguing that the two South American leaders are using their respective countries wealth incorrectly, inappropriately and unwisely, what exactly was Blair’s prognosis? Continue reading