The ride today was hell, into a biting strong wind thankfully I was well layered up. I did a wee job for my neighbour, on my return, taking down curtain poles and filling in holes in the walls where raw plugs had been inserted. I will be returning there again tomorrow lifting the carpets and re-laying them in Charles new home, he is walking around on bare boards at present. He is living on charitable handouts and help from neighbours, awaiting the social services sorting out his claim for support, returned to his country of origin from abroad, which has become a bit of a nightmare for him. It does not help that he is not a well man. I despair the state of social services today. Then Nicola Sturgeon did hand back control of social services to Westminster, and not as promised, C’est la vie.
They do it in your name,
Despite the total catastrophic failure of the intervention in Iraq, we underestimate the determination of western politicians to advance their neo-imperial interests in the Middle East at our pearl. Armed intervention as a tool of policy is the tool of choice for the US and UK governments as we have seen in Iraq.
The “Arab Spring” of 2011 provided the opportunities, for many countries across the Middle East to rise up against repressive governments, first in Tunisia then against the western-backed dictatorship in Egypt, with gusto. The uprising spread to other countries that the west regarded with disproval.
The Libyan government of Muammar Gadhafi was one such oil-rich country that had attained one of the highest development levels in Africa and had long followed an anti-imperialist policy, the uprising started in the east of the country, they were demanding democratic rights. Under the guise of, prevent Gadhafi’s government from repressing the uprising, the British Prime Minister, at the time, Cameron and French President Sarkozy allied to demand intervention. Cameron was not in a position to do as Blair and Bush had done in Iraq, he would need US support (approval) to which President Obama secured, a limited UN mandate for war as well as the support of other states in the region. Cameron did not invade but simply bombed the hell out of the country, much as they had done in the Kosovo war of 1999. Fewer body bags for British soldiers and once more the innocent suffered disproportionably (collateral damage).
The UN mandate, a mere, get us into war legitimise card, was soon turned into a mission to bring down Gadhafi rather than protecting protestors against his rule. This left many that had backed the original mandate at the UN feeling they had been had, as they certainly had, Russia amongst them.
Cameron’s hypocrisy had been evident from the outset; allegedly he was protecting protesters in Benghazi from Gadhafi in Libya, whilst turning a blind eye, even cheering on, the client dictatorship in Bahrain that was violently putting down its own Arab Spring. Opposition to the war was vocal enough in the country but much more muted in the Commons with only a handful of MPs voting against the war. Leaked documents in France made the neo-imperial intentions of the war clear – it was about controlling energy resources, extending strategic and business interests and installing pliable (puppet) governments.
Again like Iraq, the British intervention was a disaster for Libya that has barely managed a functioning government decade on.
The same story unfolded in Syria. A democratic movement against the Assad dictatorship rose up in towns and cities across the country and was met with repression. Sadly this movement was hijacked by western powers and various jihad’s movements sponsored by the western allies in the Gulf, turning a civil war into an international power struggle with unfortunate Syria as the playing field. The aim of the western intervention was as it had been in Libya, regime change to suit its own strategic interests, rather than helping the people of Syria.
Haunted by 2003, Ed Miliband, led Labour to oppose the plan and it fell in a Commons vote. As a consequence, Obama too abandoned the intervention and instead worked with Russia on a diplomatic plan to remove chemical weapons from Syria. However, the civil war struggles on, with no resolution in sight.
Whilst the tragedy of Syria is rooted in dictatorship and a popular movement against it, the self-interested western intervention has helped transform tragedy into calamity and produced another shattered society, again creating space for Islamic State to flourish.
Yemen too has been wrecked by western interference. After the pliable dictatorship in place in 2011 crumbled under popular pressure, Yemen, a former colony of Britain who made a violent exit (remember, Mad Mitch?) fell into civil conflict, exacerbated into catastrophe by intervention by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, western powers and British in particular. Britain is no bystander in Yemen, but right at the heart of this, one more disaster by western powers. Supplier of military material, political and diplomatic support has been provided to the Saudis by Britain, in the stark moral responsibility for the immense suffering imposed on the Yemen people.
I am no historian or expert on foreign policies, but you do not have to be a doctor of international affairs to understand that these wars have been a calamity. They were launched to expand western power and interest in the post-Cold war era. They have caused millions of deaths, and millions of more refugees, incalculable material losses and have nowhere left a better situation than they found. They have not diminished the danger of terrorism; on the contrary, they have given it a cause. From Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya and Syria they have failed.
Sadly they do it in your name – bad things only happen when good people stand idly by and do nothing.