Kim Brown speaks to Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) who says Theresa May’s apologetics for arming Saudi Arabia reflects the arms industry’s role in shaping British foreign policy. (The Real News)
- Made-In-America Weapons, War Crimes, and the Outcry Over Yemen
- HRW Report: Saudi-Led Coalition Used Banned Cluster Bombs in Yemen War
- Saudi-Led Coalition to Stop Using British-Made Cluster Munitions in Yemen
- Use of UK cluster bombs by Saudi Arabia is characteristic of a brutal war and a brutal regime
- Saudi Arabia admits it used UK-made cluster bombs in Yemen
- Banned by 119 Countries, US Cluster Bombs Continue to Orphan Yemeni Children
- Iona Craig: The U.S. Could Stop Refueling Saudis and End Devastating War in Yemen Tomorrow
- Yemen Edging Nearer Famine as War Takes Toll
In early December, the British government released its first annual report on the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Despite the total media blackout, the document reveals in stark detail the Conservative government’s plans to expand Britain’s military activities around the world.
In the name of defending “national security”, Britain is building a “permanent” military presence in the Gulf to defend Britain’s access to regional energy resources; deploying more troops into Eastern Europe, near Russia’s border; and drumming up support for rampant arms sales to despots in search of better tools to repress their own populations. This is all happening as it promotes economic aid as a mechanism to open up poorer economies to “UK businesses”.
To illustrate the levels of official delusion that saturate the thinking behind this document, it opens with a foreword from Prime Minister Theresa May, which describes “the phenomenon of mass migration” as “one of the global challenges of our times”, having “become more pronounced in the last 12 months”.
The defence secretary was forced to tell the Commons that British-made cluster bombs had been dropped by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, prompting MPs and charities to say that the UK should stop supporting the Gulf state’s military action.
Sir Michael Fallon said that a “limited number” of the controversial BL755 bombs had been used by Saudi Arabia, shortly after the Gulf state formally admitted it had deployed the weapons in the Yemeni conflict.
Although an international treaty bans the use of cluster bombs, Fallon defended Britain’s support for Saudi Arabia and insisted there was no breach of international law because they were used against “legitimate military targets”.
The UK is one of 120 countries to have signed the 2008 Ottawa convention on cluster munitions, banning their use or assistance with their use. Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the treaty. The munitions pose an indiscriminate risk to civilians because they contain dozens of bomblets that can explode long after they are dropped.
The British government and the UK arms industry have a “politically intimate and hugely compromising relationship” that sees government officials working “hand in glove” with companies promoting weapons exports, according to campaigners who have tracked thousands of meetings between officials and arms trade representatives.
Officials from the government’s dedicated arms export department, the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), attended more than 1,000 meetings since the 2010 election – more than a third of all meetings recorded by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which has published data on contact between the government and the arms industry.
The data reveals how crucial the export of British-made weapons and security equipment – totalling £8bn last year – has become to both government and the industry, ensuring that Britain is among the world’s largest arms exporters.
“The government may talk about the importance of human rights, but its role is absolutely central to the UK arms trade,” said a CAAT spokesman, Andrew Smith.
Crispin Blunt, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, on Whether War Should Have Waged on Libya
Afshin Rattansi speaks to British MP Crispin Blunt, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, about the new report on the 2011 military intervention in Libya. (Going Underground)
[…] The post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought in the full glare of the media and came to haunt the politicians who had initiated them. Despite this, Britain continued to invest in war – politically, technically and financially – as a means of projecting power and securing influence among key allies, and also, it seemed at times, in an attempt to impose order and a degree of familiarity upon a chaotic and unpredictable world.
But could this be done in secret? Surely, in the age of global media, 24-hour rolling news, social media, and the troops’ own ability to record and instantly share images of conflict, it would be impossible for a British government to go to war and conceal its actions, in the way that Britain’s war in Dhofar was hidden from the public for six-and-a-half years? Tony Jeapes, who commanded the first SAS squadron that was covertly deployed to Oman, considered this question, and concluded that while such secrecy was “an ideal state of affairs”, it would probably be impossible to repeat.
In the years since the Dhofar war, the UK’s special forces have been gradually expanded, and since 1996, all its members have been obliged to sign a confidentiality agreement. This has reinforced the discretion with which members of elite units within the military traditionally perform their duties, and it has rarely been broken.
Meanwhile, the evolution of successive generations of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, has presented military planners with greater opportunities to mount operations that could remain unknown, other than to those who are ordering, planning and executing them, and to those on the receiving end.
The reliance of modern societies on the internet and the increasing frequency with which states probe and attack each other’s cyber defences have led some analysts to talk of a hybrid warfare, much of which is shrouded in deniability. The result is that the line between war and peace is increasingly blurred.
[…] Top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept offer an unprecedented glimpse behind Menwith Hill’s razor wire fence. The files reveal for the first time how the NSA has used the British base to aid “a significant number of capture-kill operations” across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by powerful eavesdropping technology that can harvest data from more than 300 million emails and phone calls a day.
Over the past decade, the documents show, the NSA has pioneered groundbreaking new spying programs at Menwith Hill to pinpoint the locations of suspected terrorists accessing the internet in remote parts of the world. The programs — with names such as GHOSTHUNTER and GHOSTWOLF — have provided support for conventional British and American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But they have also aided covert missions in countries where the U.S. has not declared war. NSA employees at Menwith Hill have collaborated on a project to help “eliminate” terrorism targets in Yemen, for example, where the U.S. has waged a controversial drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.
The disclosures about Menwith Hill raise new questions about the extent of British complicity in U.S. drone strikes and other so-called targeted killing missions, which may in some cases have violated international laws or constituted war crimes. Successive U.K. governments have publicly stated that all activities at the base are carried out with the “full knowledge and consent” of British officials.
Britain is now the second biggest arms dealer in the world, official government figures show – with most of the weapons fuelling deadly conflicts in the Middle East.
Since 2010 Britain has also sold arms to 39 of the 51 countries ranked “not free” on the Freedom House “Freedom in the world” report, and 22 of the 30 countries on the UK Government’s own human rights watch list.
A full two-thirds of UK weapons over this period were sold to Middle Eastern countries, where instability has fed into increased risk of terror threats to Britain and across the West.
Meanwhile statistics collated by UK Trade and Investment, a government body that promotes British exports abroad, show the UK has sold more arms than Russia, China, or France on average over the last 10 years. Only the United States is a bigger exporter.
Downing Street gagged military chiefs from responding to the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry and prevented them from issuing their own views to soldiers, sailors and airmen, it has been disclosed.
Interviews with chiefs were forbidden, while Downing Street gave them “agreed top lines” to pass down to troops according to communications orders seen by the Telegraph.
Defence sources said there were “real worries” about the impact on morale in the Armed Forces of the damning conclusions, but the muzzling of military leaders had appeared to create a “leadership vacuum” in the wake of the report.
After seven years, the Chilcot report has delivered a damning verdict on Tony Blair’s role in the war on Iraq, but British Prime Ministers playing a destructive role in Iraq is a centuries old practice.
Britain has used its military might and commercial prowess to subjugate Iraq and control its oil resources for over one hundred years.
Churchill invented Iraq. The end of World War I left Britain and France in command of the Middle East and the allies carved up the region as the defeated Ottoman Empire fell apart. Winston Churchill convened the 1912 Conference in Cairo to determine the boundaries of the British Middle Eastern mandate. After giving Jordan to Prince Abdullah, Churchill, gave Prince Abdullah’s brother Faisal an arbitrary patch of desert that became Iraq.
Historian Michael R. Burch recalls how the huge zigzag in Jordan’s eastern border with Saudi Arabia has been called “Winston’s Hiccup” or “Churchill’s Sneeze” because Churchill carelessly drew the expansive boundary after a generous lunch.
A multinational military operation involving British, French and US forces is coordinating air strikes in support of a renegade general battling Islamist militia groups from a base near Benghazi in eastern Libya, air traffic recordings obtained by Middle East Eye reveal.
The leaked tapes appear to confirm earlier reports suggesting the existence of an international operations centre that is helping General Khalifa Haftar in his campaign to gain control of eastern Libya from groups he has declared to be “extremists”.
At least one air strike was heard being coordinated in the tapes, which total just under an hour in length, suggesting the operations room is being used not only for reconnaissance.
The recordings were passed to MEE from the Benina air base, which is considered to be Haftar’s most important military facility.
The leaks could prove damaging for the international parties involved because Haftar has refused to support the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli and has been fighting some groups that have taken part in the Western-backed campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group.
- Profile: Libya’s military strongman Khalifa Haftar
- Fighting the Islamic State in Libya
- Britain and Jordan’s secret war in Libya
- The anti-Islamist general mounting a divisive campaign in Libya
- Libya’s Haftar confirms military support for Operation Dignity from Egypt and UAE
- Libya’s rogue general, an ex-CIA asset, vaunts his anti-extremism services
- Coup leader? CIA asset? Mystery surrounds Libya’s rogue General Haftar
- Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?
Eleven years ago, three suicide bombers attacked the London subway and a bus and killed 51 people. Almost immediately, it was obvious that retaliation for Britain’s invasion and destruction of Iraq was a major motive for the attackers.
Two of them said exactly that in videotapes they left behind: The attacks “will continue and pick up strengths till you pull your soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq. … Until we feel security, you will be targets.” Then, less than a year later, a secret report from British military and intelligence chiefs concluded that “the war in Iraq contributed to the radicalization of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims.” The secret report, leaked to The Observer, added: “Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalization of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the U.K. as legitimate.”
The release on Tuesday of the massive Chilcot report — which the New York Times called a “devastating critique of Tony Blair” — not only offers more proof of this causal link, but also reveals that Blair was expressly warned before the invasion that his actions would provoke al Qaeda attacks on the U.K. As my colleague Jon Schwarz reported yesterday, the report’s executive summary quotes Blair confirming he was “aware” of a warning by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”
Could the War in Iraq Have Been Averted? Interview with Nafeez Ahmend, Piers Robinson and Frank Ledwidge
Presenter Martine Dennis discusses the Chilcot report and its conclusions with Nafeez Ahmed, investigative journalist and author, Piers Robinson, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester, and Frank Ledwidge, Senior Fellow at the Royal Air Force College at the University of Portsmouth and former Military Intelligence Officer who served in Iraq. (Al Jazeera English)
Chilcot report: The demonisation of Tony Blair distracts from where things really went wrong in Iraq
Denunciations of Tony Blair as the evil architect of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War often dominate discussions of what happened there and many will look to the Chilcot inquiry to provide further evidence of his guilt. But the demonisation of Mr Blair is excessive and simple-minded and diverts attention from what really happened in Iraq and how such mistakes can be avoided in future.
He may have unwisely followed the US into the quagmire of Iraq, but British government policy since 1941 has been to position itself as America’s most loyal and effective ally in peace and war.
There have been significant exceptions to this rule, such as the Suez Crisis and the Vietnam War, but during the last 70 years the UK has generally sought to influence US policy in its formulation and then support it unequivocally once adopted.
[…] Thirteen years on from the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq is a country still dogged by war and corruption, pulled apart by opposing political and religious forces, and struggling to define its character.
The trauma is all too apparent in Basra, the largest city in southern Iraq – whose six-year period under British control, following Saddam’s overthrow, will come under renewed scrutiny this week with the expected release of the Chilcot report. The report will examine both the decision to go to war and Britain’s conduct in the invasion and its aftermath.
All around the city, the legacy of that time hangs heavy.
French DM Jean-Yves Le Drian made a last minute appeal to Britain to remain in the EU right before last night’s vote, in which Britain ultimately decided to leave the union, Le Drian’s argument was primarily a military one, arguing Britain would be “weaker” without the EU, and the EU would be weaker without Britain.
Other French officials are also expressing concerns about that, now that the vote is in, noting that Britain and French represented the biggest military forces in the EU, and saying they believe post-Brexit Britain might start looking to cut military spending at any rate.
Britain and France also have extremely close military ties, to the point where during discussions on austerity measures, the two had discussed the possibility of “sharing” an aircraft carrier as a way to cut down on expenses.
Western governments may be dithering over taking action over climate change, but their defence chiefs think differently – at least regarding changing weapons systems to suit rising world temperatures.
Major defense companies are studying the retro-fitting and upgrade of armaments, power plants and platforms to cope with rising temperatures amid predictions the world’s hot spots are getting hotter on land and on sea.
The world’s defence chiefs are particularly concerned with two zones in particular, the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. Both seas are shallow and therefore absorb more heat than the great oceans and certainly the world’s seas.
And rising temperatures are already making themselves felt. Some of a group of six British Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers, costing $1 billion each, have stopped operating in the Persian Gulf because the sea was too hot, with water temperatures rising above 90 degrees fahrenheit (32.2C).
The issue saw Royal Navy staff questioned on 2nd June by the UK’s Commons Defence Committee as to why their Type 45 destroyers keep losing power. The response was that the ships’ turbines overheated resulting in massive technical failures that can slow the ships to a crawl.
The row over Trident is set to reignite after it emerged Britain has been secretly upgrading its arsenal of nuclear weapons and developed an entirely new warhead.
A report from the Nuclear Information Service revealed ministers have already authorised £85 million for the more accurate and destructive Mark 4A warhead without consulting Parliament.
According to the report, the costs and the timetable of the program have not been revealed to Parliament. David Cameron is now facing calls for an urgent vote on the issue of Trident’s renewal following the EU referendum.
The independent research body said work has already been undertaken at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, and new warheads have been tested at Sandia National Laboratories in the US.
The UK is selling record quantities of arms – including missiles, bombs and grenades – to countries listed by the Foreign Office as having dubious human rights records. Several have been accused of war crimes or suppressing popular protest.
More than £3bn of British-made weaponry was licensed for export last year to 21 of the Foreign Office’s 30 “human rights priority countries” – those identified by the government as being where “the worst, or greatest number of, human rights violations take place”, or “where we judge that the UK can make a real difference”. Listed countries that last year bought British arms and military equipment include:
- Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of perpetrating war crimes in Yemen.
- Bahrain, which used troops to quell protests following the Arab spring.
- Burundi, which is being investigated by the UN for human rights violations.
- The Maldives, which in 2015 jailed its former president, Mohamed Nasheed, for 13 years following what critics said was a politically motivated show trial.
Figures shared with the Observer show that in 2014 the UK licensed just £170m of arms to 18 of the 27 countries then on the “priority countries” list. The massive increase in sales was largely attributable to sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
As part of a warning by a group of former military officers that the European Union undermines the UK’s military effectiveness, former General Sir Michael Rose expressed concern at the EU’s plan to set up its own army.
But in a speech on May 9 outlining why the UK would be more secure if it remained in the EU, the prime minister, David Cameron, said suggestions of an EU army were “fanciful” and that the UK would veto any suggestion of it.
As Cameron pointed out, there is a significant gap between the rhetoric and reality of the establishment of a fully functional European army.
As defence falls within the intergovernmental sphere of EU law, any single member state can veto its creation ensuring that the prospect of the UK getting dragged into an EU army against its will is zero. In fact, one could argue that the UK remaining inside the EU would do more to prevent an EU army than a Brexit would.
- Is there a secret plan to create an EU army?
- Britain will never be part of an EU army, government insists
- Plans for EU army ‘kept secret’ until after Brexit vote
- Plans for closer EU military cooperation held until after vote
- New threats are forcing NATO and the EU to work together
- Germany pushes for a European army
- Toward a European Defense Union
- We need a European army, says Jean-Claude Juncker
Britain is providing military training and support to the majority of the countries named on its own human rights abusers watchlist, The Independent can reveal.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated 30 nations as “human rights priority” countries last year, warning of their conduct on a range of issues from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflict.
But information released by ministers shows that British armed forces trained “either security or armed forces personnel” in 16 of the listed countries since 2014.
According to the Ministry of Defence, British soldiers have trained the armed forces of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe – despite the human rights records of those countries.
The revelation comes days after the Government announced it would step up the level of military training it provided for the armed forces of Oman. Though Oman is not among those nations named on the FCO’s watchlist, human rights observers working for Amnesty International say they have identified widespread use of torture and detention in the country.
Afshin Rattansi talks to Dr Lucy Morgan Edwards, author of The Afghan Solution, who was based in Kandahar at the height of the Taliban regime. Following last week’s deadly attack on the Afghan capital, Dr, Edwards says that British soldiers fighting there have died in vain and that the war was completely unecessary. (Going Underground)
- The Afghan prelude: the overthrow of the Taliban in the aftermath of September 11
- A Special Relationship: The United States Is Teaming Up With Al Qaeda, Again
- Does the US Have a Plan in Afghanistan? Interview with Anand Gopal
- No End to The War in Afghanistan: Interview with Professor Junaid S. Ahmad
- Afghan Opium Production Increases 35-Fold Since U.S. Invasion
- Ghost Troops: 40% of Afghan Military ‘Doesn’t Exist’
- Whistling Past the Afghan Graveyard of Empires
- Afghanistan: Failure to Deliver on Key Reforms
- Afghanistan’s Failed Transformation
- The Rise of Afghanistan’s Insurgency
- Bitter Lake (Documentary)
- Catch-22 in Afghanistan
Last week, major French newspaper Le Monde reported that the French government is engaged in a “secret war” in Libya, and has deployed special forces already. The Pentagon has also talked about its own presence in Libya, and Britain is understood to have some special forces there as well.
The numbers keep growing, and other assets for a Western war in Libya, which officials have been publicly championing for months, are being moved into place. It’s only a matter of time until the “secret war” becomes a public one, but how long?
- Libya intervention: jigsaw near completion but final pieces still missing
- Libya Will Need American Help to Defeat ISIS, US General Says
- Even critics understate how catastrophically bad the Hillary Clinton-led NATO bombing of Libya was
- Inside Hillary Clinton’s Push for War in Libya and the Making of a Failed State: Interview with Scott Shane
- French Special Forces Waging ‘Secret War’ in Libya, Reports Le Monde
- Signs Grow of New Western Urgency to Stop ISIS in Libya
- A Radical Idea to Rebuild a Shattered Libya: Restore the Monarchy
- Italy Quietly Agrees to Armed US Drone Missions Over Libya
- US Special Ops Teams in Libya Helped Direct Airstrikes Against ISIS
- Military Role for Canada in Libya a Possibility, Says General
- Lost Lessons of Libya
- Is America About to Sleepwalk Into a War in Libya?
- Libya Epitomizes Clinton’s Not-So-Smart Power
- A Sequel to the US ‘Smashing Success’ in Libya Is Coming
- The War on ISIS Expands to Libya
Britain must keep its Trident nuclear deterrent to maintain its “outsized” role in the world, the US defence secretary, Ash Carter, has said.
Carter said the nuclear-armed submarines were an “important part of the deterrent structure of Nato”.
MPs are expected to vote on government plans to renew the weapons system, an issue on which Labour is split.
The Ministry of Defence estimates that acquiring four new submarines to carry the Trident deterrent would cost £31bn over the course of the 20-year procurement programme, with a further £10bn set aside to meet any additional unexpected cost increases.
Carter told the BBC that Trident enabled Britain to “continue to play that outsized role on the global stage that it does because of its moral standing and its historical standing”.
- Trident lets UK punch above weight, says US defence secretary
- Former Blair defence chief warns Corbyn not to scrap Trident
- Tories playing ‘petty, grubby’ politics with Trident, Lord West warns
- Trident vote to be delayed by David Cameron until after EU referendum
- Owen Jones: Trident is too important an issue to be shouted down
- Trident programme to cost £167bn, far more than expected
- Corbyn to complain to MoD about army chief’s ‘political interference’
- Children in Need raises 0.037% of how much it will cost to replace Trident
- Trident is useless, that’s why we must debate its renewal
- Trident whistleblower discharged from Royal Navy
Despite an almost total lack of public debate, Western military escalation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya is on the rise.
Renewed military interventionism has been largely justified as a response to the meteoric rise of Islamic State networks, spreading across parts of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
Missing from government pronouncements, though, is any acknowledgement that the proliferation of Islamist terrorism is a direct consequence of the knee-jerk response of military escalation.
Discarded to the memory hole is the fact that before each of the major interventions in these three countries, our political leaders promised they would bring security, freedom and prosperity.
Instead, they have done precisely the opposite.
- Is America about to sleepwalk into a war in Libya? We need a debate now
- The U.S. Intervention in Libya Was Such a Smashing Success That a Sequel Is Coming
- More Is Needed to Beat ISIS, Pentagon Officials Conclude
- Afghanistan: Failure to Deliver on Key Reforms
- Officials: Islamic State arose from US support for al-Qaeda in Iraq
- US to keep troops in Afghanistan indefinitely
- Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite
- Secret Benghazi report reveals Hillary’s Libya war push armed al Qaeda-tied terrorists
- New report claims al-Qaeda-Benghazi link known day after attack
- Robert Kagan: Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire
- Boot and Kirkpatrick: Defeating ISIS
- Iraq invasion was about oil
- Who is responsible for the Pakistan school massacre?
- Afghanistan’s Failed Transformation
- Cheney’s Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion on Iraq War
- Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links
- What will Free Libya look like?
- The Rise of Afghanistan’s Insurgency
- Ahmed Chalabi: The Manipulator
- David Ignatius: A War of Choice, and One Who Chose It
- Max Boot: The Case for American Empire
- Project for the New American Century – Wikipedia
Afshin Rattansi speaks to Dr. Lisa Cameron, a member of the UK parliamentary committee investigating evidence against David Cameron and his government in regards to the mass slaughter in the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen. (Going Underground)
- Britain and Saudi: The Shame of £2.8bn of Arms Sales
- British arms companies ramp up bomb sales to Saudi Arabia by 100 times despite air strikes on civilians
- Cameron accused of silently taking Britain into Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen
- UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia ‘worth £5.6bn under David Cameron’
- Yemen: A very British war
- UK Helping Saudi’s Yemen Campaign
- Britain seems to have outsourced foreign policy to Saudi Arabia
- Britain ‘fuelling war in Yemen’ through arms sales, says charity
- Saudi Arabia’s War On Yemen Is Also A British War
Britain has “got its mojo back” and stands alongside the United States in the fight to “reassert Western values”, George Osborne has said.
Speaking in the US, the Chancellor said it was a “source of real pride” for him that MPs had overwhelmingly backed air strikes in Syria against Islamic State.
Mr Osborne said Britain, in partnership with the US, was taking the fight to IS by cutting off financing and tackling extremist ideology.
He told the Council on Foreign Relations think tank: “Britain has got its mojo back and we are going to be with you as we reassert Western values, confident that our best days lie ahead.”
Major defense contractors Raytheon, Oshkosh, and Lockheed Martin assured investors at a Credit Suisse conference in West Palm Beach this week that they stand to gain from the escalating conflicts in the Middle East.
Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Bruce Tanner told the conference his company will see “indirect benefits” from the war in Syria, citing the Turkish military’s recent decision to shoot down a Russian warplane.
The incident, Tanner said, heightens the risk for U.S. military operations in the region, providing “an intangible lift because of the dynamics of that environment and our products in theater.” He also stressed that the Russian intervention would highlight the need for Lockheed Martin-made F-22s and the new F-35 jets.
And for “expendable” products, such as a rockets, Tanner added that there is increased demand, including from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia because of the war in Yemen.
- Weapons Companies’ Stocks Surge After Paris Attacks
- US Defense Budget Deal Provides Industry, Military Stability
- Yemen: Amnesty International criticises US arms sale to Saudi Arabia
- UK arms sales fuelling Yemen crisis in potential breach of law says Oxfam
- British arms sales to the Middle East are probably fuelling Isis, says Jeremy Corbyn
- Obama the super-salesman pours fuel on a Middle East in flames
- U.S. Offers Billions in Arms to Ease Mideast’s Iran Anxiety
- Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States
- 11 Defense Contractors That Are Raking It in from the Drone War
- ISIS: Military Contractors’ “Gravy Train” To Profits
So we decided to stop children drowning on the beaches by killing them in their beds. It’s hard to think of a more poetic metaphor for our utter lack of ideas than spending several years dropping high explosives on to a desert. Dropping something from a great height can never be precise – this is why Santa still parks up the sleigh. I have to admit that I was sort of disturbed by the palpable excitement in parliament, and couldn’t escape the feeling that our politicians like wars because they make them feel important.
The motion they voted on was a vague list of “necessary measures” and “requests for assistance”, with “specifically airstrikes” at the very bottom – as if someone had shouted it out of the front door as they were starting the car: “Oooh! Don’t forget eggs, milk – and airstrikes!!” One MP argued that IS need a lot of space to move and that airstrikes would limit their territory. The Paris shooters lived in one room with a mattress; we could bomb Syria to the average size of a London flat and they’d still find room to manoeuvre. Bombing Syria will achieve nothing. Let’s at least take a swing at China and have these dull winter skies replaced with a curtain of incendiary light.
What is Cameron’s problem with IS? Ordinary people who in their spare time have formed a huge multinational oil trade and a workforce of thousands willing to be paid in rice and fear – that’s the Big Society right there. Cameron called them “Women-raping, Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters” – he carefully avoided saying “child molesters” in case one of the backbench shouted: “Present!” This is before we get to the fact that he used the word “medieval” to justify a military expedition into the Middle East. Of course bombing will cause delight in Islamic State, where it will form the only entertainment. There’s no music, no dancing, and we’re spending a couple of million quid a night providing the mise en scènefor these sadists’ fantasy life.
- There was one winner in the Syria vote. And it wasn’t Dave or Hilary Benn
- Hilary Benn’s ‘Extraordinary’ Speech for Bombing Syria Was Disingenuous Bullshit
- Britain Begins Bombing Syria After Pro-War Vote, Cameron Accuses Corbyn of Being “Terrorist Sympathizer”
- What More Airstrikes Will Mean For Islamic State: Interview with journalist Jürgen Todenhoefer
- Frankie Boyle: ‘This is the worst time for society to go on psychopathic autopilot’
- ISIS wants to destroy the ‘grey zone’ — Here’s how we defend it
[…] The reviews are pouring in, as if this were a West End musical instead of the overture to a massacre. “Truly spellbinding”, the Spectator gushes. “Fizzing with eloquence”,gurgles the Times. “Electric”, gloops the Guardian. The Telegraph‘s Dan Hodges, who can reliably be called upon to provide the worst possible opinion at any given time, goes further. “He did not look like the leader of the opposition,” he writes. “He looked like the prime minister.”
But none of this is true. It is, however, a very convenient stance for those who see failure to drool at the prospect of an aerial bombardment as an unpardonable offence, and something that they hope to turn into fact by constant repetition.
Hilary Benn’s speech was not the masterstroke of a consummate statesman; it was disingenuous nonsense. Even on the level of pure rhetoric: he imitated better speakers by occasionally varying his tone, rising from a sincere whisper to tub-thumping declamation without much regard for the actual content of what he was saying; this is now apparently what passes from great oratory. The speech was liberally garnished with dull clichés: “clear and present danger”, “safe haven”, “shoulder to shoulder”, “play our part”, “do our bit”. He said “Daesh” a lot, and mispronounced it every time.
And then there’s what he actually said. Hilary Benn has form here: he voted for the 2003 war in Iraq (making him far more responsible for the rise of Isis than some of the people who will die in the airstrikes he’s so passionately promoting) and the disastrous 2011 air war in Libya. Much of his speech is familiar invocation of the just war doctrine: laying out the brutality of Isis, as if the eight British jets we’re sending could put an end to it; asking “what message would [not acting] send?”, as if the self-image of the British state were worth a single innocent life.
- Hilary Benn argued against bombing Syria in an interview two weeks before voting for it
- Full marks for oratory, but Hilary Benn gets a C in history for Syria speech
- Hilary Benn’s speech was just a shallow historical re-enactment
- Alex Salmond says Hilary Benn’s dad would be ‘birling in his grave’ over Syria speech
- Calm down. Hilary Benn isn’t going to be Labour leader – it’s still Jeremy Corbyn’s party
- Hilary Benn’s full speech on Syria air strikes
- Tony Benn v Hilary Benn on war votes
- Tony Benn in the House of Commons Iraq Bombing Speech
- Tony Benn 1992 Speech to Parliament on Arms Sales To Iraq