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  • Dodgy dealings galore!

    by Al-Hack
    29th September, 2005 at 4:35 am    

    In 1997 I welcomed New Labour on the assumption that it would have a more ethical foreign policy. They said it, not me. What a farce that turned out to be. The Guardian reports this week on secret dealings between the British government and the Saudis, showing the level to which our government is now stooping to.

    Britain has already agreed to expel two Saudi dissidents as part of a $40 billion arms deal on behalf of BAE systems. That is pretty bad in itself. Not only is it acting on behalf of a defence contractor, but we’re handing back people to a regime known for not being nice to such people.

    The two dissidents are also interesting. Both Saad al-Faqih and Mohammed al-Masari have been outspoken critics of the Saudi government, though not in the normal democractic sort of way. Mohammed al-Masari, a physicist who fled from the kingdom in 1994, was a leading figure, along with Saad al-Faqih, in the Committee for Defence of Legitimate Rights apparently. This and more from a BBC profile.

    Al-Faqih has written for the Guardian previously, saying:

    Both moderate and jihadist Islamist activists have long recognised the values of justice and liberty within western societies as the foundation of western dominance in the past few centuries. A dictum attributed to Ibn Taymiya, a renowned Muslim scholar born seven centuries ago, states that God will lend victory to a just nation even if it is infidel and bring defeat to the unjust even if it they are Muslim. When the west loses its values of justice, it will be defeated in the long run.

    Though David T at Harry’s Place dug up more dirt on him when he wrote this piece.

    So, the government is (probably illegally) planning to hand back these guys who are opposed to the Saudi govt, but may be Al-Qaeda supporters as others point out.

    The thing is, BAE is also under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for allegedly running a £60m Saudi “slush fund”. But guess what?

    The Saudis want the London-based dissidents expelled, British Airways to resume flights to Riyadh, and a major corruption investigation into BAE and a Saudi prince to be dropped.

    You couldn’t make it up.

    The government is happy to deal with dodgy regimes that prop up Al-Qaeda while making statements about fighting terrorism in every shape or form. Not only that, the Saudis get their kickbacks and BAE gets away scot free with another £40 billion. Everyone’s happy.

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    Filed in: Current affairs,Economics,The World

    6 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Rahul Verma — on 29th September, 2005 at 10:37 am  

      Hmm. I’m not that surprised - tis the way of the world and this situation echoes the Scott Inquiry which found the British Government (then Conservative) guilty of supplying arms and chemical weaponary to one Saddam Hussein in 1994. But it makes me angry as hell.

      In ten years time America and Britian will probably be taking on Saudi Arabia for WMDs (code for Oil).

      The presiding Lawlord on the arms to iraq inquiry, Lord Justice Scott spoke out in 2001 to say that his findings in 1994 had been ignored

      And the third world, and developing worlds, are tarred as corrupt. it’s sickening.

    2. Sunny — on 29th September, 2005 at 2:07 pm  

      What’s funny is the slush fund IMO. There has been rumours of slush funds like this in Nigeria too and other African countries, and then we have the gall to accuse them of being corrupt.

      I’m pretty sure the oil companies still refuse to disclose the full accounts of how much money they’re spending in Nigeria.

    3. Mokum — on 29th September, 2005 at 6:03 pm  

      It’s amazing what you can get done with invoices for “consulting services”.

      This deal stinks at both ends.

      Scenario: Saudi finally falls to radical Islamists. Heh. They have always complained about not having F-16s.

      Today’s regime will just park them in the desert and forget to train enough pilots to operate them. But the king will be happy with his new toys, so everything’s fine in Saudi. “Go back to sleep, please, everyone, and let us do da bizness. Don’t you trust us? Why ever not?”

    4. Mokum — on 29th September, 2005 at 6:12 pm  

      There, now that I’ve tried to be moderate and middle way and all that (measured brimstone for all), please allow me to elaborate in a proper rant:

      Rahul, the Scott inquiry made no such conclusion.

      Saddam’s top armourers were the Soviet Union and France. I don’t hear much outrage about them these days. Funny that. Perhaps it was all a Mirage.

      As for dear Saudi being “tarred” as corrupt itself, hollow laughter rings out from Jeddah to Londonistan.

      Of course, it is true that all Saudi oil goes directly to the UK and America alone through the Henry Dontcha Love Him Kissinger super-secret pipeline network. The rest of the world runs on hot air.

      In fact, it’s really cool how they hide the UKUS pipelines from everyone, all the way up to employing those huge decoy tankers sailing for Europe and Asia every day.

      It is also true that no Arabs, or anyone else really apart from the Anglos, supported Hussein, ever. In particular, the Gulf Arabs really wanted to see revolutionary Iranian troops on their borders back in the 1980s, oh yes they did. Another Arab hope, dashed.

    5. Rahul Verma — on 30th September, 2005 at 12:10 pm  

      Fair enough Mokum, you’re right the British Government was not found directly guilty of supplying arms to Iraq by the Scott Inquiry, but it was found guilty of turning a blind eye to British companies supplying arms to Iraq (and Iran). Same difference - if the British Government isn’t going to regulate, and lead by example, who is??

    6. Mokum — on 30th September, 2005 at 5:44 pm  

      if the British Government isn’t going to regulate, and lead by example, who is??

      Why should that be Britain’s job? It should be charged to all or none.

      Anyway, that is what the UK did, right up to the end of the 1980s, when the guidelines were shifted to allow non-lethal equipment sales to Iraq. The Iran-Iraq war had come to an end and some shipments were found to be useful tools for learning more about Saddam’s military (world’s second oldest profession).

      I think that the guidelines shouldn’t have shifted, and the change should have been made public. Nonetheless, in the long and tangled tale of Saddam (and the even more intricate Saudi story), Britain almost smells like a rose compared with so many others.

      That Norton-Taylor article is full of exaggerations, deliberately misleading phrases, and heaps of blame for Britain and America while the rest of the world was, presumably, never once thinking of pursuing its “naked self-interest” in Iraq. Oh yes, how they helped.

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