Cordoning Yemen: A Saudi War at British Geopolitical Bidding?

The latest reports of British special forces injuries fighting in the Saudi led war on Yemen once again provides further evidence the British political establishment are the main Western backers behind the war launched in March 2015. It’s not for the first time British elite forces operating in Yemen are reported to have been injured. Yet western commentary, especially before these injuries became known, largely blames the United States as the main instigator behind the current destruction of Yemen. For example, former British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband’s latest article on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen claims that the war is a “strategic failure” and only the United States possesses the might to put it right. Above all else, he implies the US is the nation most responsible for the dire situation.  Last year, the same Miliband was forthright and declared after a visit to Yemen, that the United States, has a “threefold responsibility” for the crisis in Yemen without mentioning the British role in assisting the Saudis. But in the light of these latest reports of British injuries how accurate is it to say or imply that the United States is the main global power behind the war on Yemen? Continue reading

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Battle of Algiers: Decolonising the Imperial Elephant in the Room.

“This whole world is a corn field son, look out for flying locusts….” Dead Prez, Psychology

Having attended an event organised by the “Decolonising our Minds Society” commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the film ‘The Battle of Algiers’ subtitled, “Decolonisation and the War on Terror” held on the 14th February at London’s SOAS Brunei Gallery one is compelled to comment on a glaring omission. The film is based on the revolutionary Algerian struggle against French imperialism and depicts the torture meted out to freedom fighters by the colonialists. Dr. Sohail Daulatzai, the main speaker, has written a book commemorating the anniversary of the film.

Parallels and similarities were made between the torture administered by French imperialists to Algerians fighting for their freedom and Muslims in today’s ‘War on Terror’.  No doubt there is and both are morally inexcusable. However, there was a glaring difference or omission that was either not explored or deliberately overlooked: the reason why the ‘War on Terror’ was launched by the United States.

Obviously, we need first to establish how the Algerian revolt came about. French imperialism had been ruling Algeria for over 130 years. One of the speakers, Continue reading

Trump regurgitates British myths in his Saudi Conference speech.

Anyone with half a brain cell knows that Saudi Arabia shares the same ideology as ISIS and al-Qaeda. Anyone knows that only last year candidate Donald Trump rightly condemned Hilary Clinton’s proximity to the Saudi Arabian ruling clan while at the same time supposedly being a champion of women’s rights. Yet here he was in the capital of jihadism on his visit abroad as President lecturing Muslims on the need to combat extremism in a land were public floggings and executions are a norm. Where campaigners for freedom of speech are met, if they’re lucky, with prison sentences.

But for a moment let’s put aside Trump’s brass-necked and sickening hypocrisy. Early in his speech he regurgitated this myth about the founding of the Kingdom that demands unpacking:

“King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader — American President Franklin Roosevelt — King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries.”

Firstly, the notion that AbdulAziz ‘founded’ the Kingdom is mythic nonsense. The British actually founded the Kingdom and AbdulAziz was merely their puppet. When AbdulAziz expanded into the Ha’il region (in the north) it was because the British drove him there because the then rulers, the Rashidis, rejected the British Empire’s advances to be another puppet. The British even sent in reinforcements for AbdulAziz to capture the region. Continue reading

Fluid Alliances: War on Terror, Yesterday and Today

Within a month of al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th 2001, a so-called ‘War on Terror’ was declared to combat the source of this outrage. Invasions and occupations of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) were promptly executed because the rulers of these countries were considered to be providing support to terrorism.

In the case of Afghanistan, it was obvious the Taliban rulers were providing a refuge for the al-Qaeda leader, bin Laden, and arguably making itself complicit in the attacks on the United States. Whereas Iraq was a supposedly rogue state which potentially could enter an alliance with terrorists like al-Qaeda and supply them with its alleged supply, of what transpired to be, its phantom weapons of destruction.

The United States-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on bogus arguments eventually destroyed the Iraqi state, killed hundreds of thousands, created millions of refugees and led to a proliferation of Islamist terrorism. Only nuclear war could have created a better Armageddon. Under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda and its supporters, the decisions taken by George Bush and Tony Blair within the first two years of the ‘War on Terror’ led to more manifestations of Islamist extremism of the al-Qaeda variety, the most recent being ISIS.

Fast-forward fourteen years and the ‘War on Terror’ has dumbfoundingly been turned on its head. Continue reading

The Myth of Bitter Lake: Did the British Empire foist Saudi Arabia on the United States?

Founding political myths provide reassuring points of reference but they do not provide the full, or even, real reason on why major historical moments occurred. As is popularly known the American Revolution was triggered specifically by the Boston Tea Party in defiance of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773. Yet in a recent article in the New York Review of Books, historian Professor Steve Pincus argues it was a series of economic policies, enforced by the British parliament from the 1760’s onwards that made no small contribution to the colonialist’s rebellion against King George’s tyranny.

Recently in the United Kingdom a commemoration was held to mark hundred years since the Gallipoli expedition during World War One. The British Empire had intended to defeat the Ottoman Empire’s forces by sailing through the straits Continue reading