Syria and Diplomacy 2917

The problem with the Geneva Communique from the first Geneva round on Syria is that the government of Syria never subscribed to it.  It was jointly chaired by the League of Arab States for Syria, whatever that may mean.  Another problem is that it is, as so many diplomatic documents are, highly ambiguous.  It plainly advocates a power sharing executive formed by some of the current government plus the opposition to oversee a transition to democracy.  But it does not state which elements of the current government, and it does not mention which elements of the opposition, nor does it make plain if President Assad himself is eligible to be part of, or to head, the power-sharing executive, and whether he is eligible to be a candidate in future democratic elections.

Doubtless the British, for example, would argue that the term transition implies that he will go.  The Russians will argue there is no such implication and the text does not exclude anybody from the process.  Doubtless also diplomats on all sides were fully aware of these differing interpretations and the ambiguity is quite deliberate to enable an agreed text. I would say that the text tends much more to the “western” side, and that this reflects the apparently weak military position of the Assad regime at that time and the then extant threat of western military intervention.  There has been a radical shift in those factors against the western side in the interim. Expect Russian interpretations now to get more hardline.

Given the extreme ambiguity of the text, Iran has, as it frequently does, shot itself in the foot diplomatically by refusing to accept the communique as the basis of talks and thus getting excluded from Geneva.  Iran should have accepted the communique, and then at Geneva issued its own interpretation of it.

But that is a minor point.  The farcical thing about the Geneva conference is that it is attempting to promote into power-sharing in Syria “opposition” members who have no democratic credentials and represent a scarcely significant portion of those actually fighting the Assad regime in Syria.  What the West are trying to achieve is what the CIA and Mossad have now achieved in Egypt; replacing the head of the Mubarak regime while keeping all its power structures in place. The West don’t really want democracy in Syria, they just want a less pro-Russian leader of the power structures.

The inability of the British left to understand the Middle East is pathetic.  I recall arguing with commenters on this blog who supported the overthrow of the elected President of Egypt Morsi on the grounds that his overthrow was supporting secularism, judicial independence (missing the entirely obvious fact the Egyptian judiciary are almost all puppets of the military) and would lead to a left wing revolutionary outcome.  Similarly the demonstrations against Erdogan in Istanbul, orchestrated by very similar pro-military forces to those now in charge in Egypt, were also hailed by commenters here.  The word “secularist” seems to obviate all sins when it comes to the Middle East.

Qatar will be present at Geneva, and Qatar has just launched a pre-emptive media offensive by launching a dossier on torture and murder of detainees by the Assad regime, which is being given first headline treatment by the BBC all morning

There would be a good dossier to be issued on torture in detention in Qatar, and the lives of slave workers there, but that is another question.

I do not doubt at all that atrocities have been committed and are being committed by the Assad regime.  It is a very unpleasant regime indeed.  The fact that atrocities are also being committed by various rebel groups does not make Syrian government atrocities any better.

But whether 11,000 people really were murdered in a single detainee camp I am unsure.  What I do know is that the BBC presentation of today’s report has been a disgrace.  The report was commissioned by the government of Qatar who commissioned Carter Ruck to do it.  Both those organisations are infamous suppressors of free speech.  What is reprehensible is that the BBC are presenting the report as though it were produced by neutral experts, whereas the opposite is the case.  It is produced not by anti torture campaigners or by human rights activists, but by lawyers who are doing it purely and simply because they are being paid to do it.

The BBC are showing enormous deference to Sir Desmond De Silva, who is introduced as a former UN war crimes prosecutor.  He is indeed that, but it is not the capacity in which he is now acting.  He is acting as a barrister in private practice.  Before he was a UN prosecutor, he was for decades a criminal defence lawyer and has defended many murderers.  He has since acted to suppress the truth being published about many celebrities, including John Terry.

If the Assad regime and not the government of Qatar had instructed him and paid him, he would now be on our screens arguing the opposite case to that he is putting.  That is his job.  He probably regards that as not reprehensible.  What is reprehensible is that the BBC do not make it plain, but introduce him as a UN war crimes prosecutor as though he were acting in that capacity or out of concern for human rights.  I can find no evidence of his having an especial love for human rights in the abstract, when he is not being paid for it.  He produced an official UK government report into the murder of Pat Finucane, a murder organised by British authorities, which Pat Finucane’s widow described as a “sham”.  He was also put in charge of quietly sweeping the Israeli murders on the Gaza flotilla under the carpet at the UN.

The question any decent journalist should be asking him is “Sir Desmond De Silva, how much did the government of Qatar pay you for your part in preparing this report?  How much did it pay the other experts?  Does your fee from the Government of Qatar include this TV interview, or are you charging separately for your time in giving this interview?  In short how much are you being paid to say this?”

That is what any decent journalist would ask.  Which is why you will never hear those questions on the BBC.




2,917 thoughts on “Syria and Diplomacy

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  • doug scorgie

    19 Feb, 2014 – 6:23 pm

    “Could you point out which part of the UN Charter states Israel has a right to exist?”

    Fred, Israel has been accepted into the United Nations as a sovereign state. It has, in that sense, a right to exist within (at the time) the 1947 partition borders.

    The UN does not accept Israel as a Jewish state but a state for all its people.

    When the Zionists say that “Israel has a right to exist” they miss out four words – “as a Jewish state.”

    The Palestinian Authority has already recognised the state of Israel so what is the problem, you might ask.

    Well, the Zionists insist that the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas recognise Israel “as a Jewish state.”

    Which is a demand the Zionists know is unacceptable to the Palestinians; thereby causing peace talks to fail and blaming the Palestinians for the failures.

  • Mary

    Israeli Apartheid Week London; Dr Ang Swee Chai discusses ‘Medicine and Apartheid’

    Tuesday February 25

    Medicine and Apartheid in Palestine
    6pm at University College London, Roberts 421

    Dr Ang Swee Chai will be talking about medicine in Palestine and about her 30 years of experience working with Palestinians in conflict zones from Lebanon to Gaza. She will touch on the memories of the horrors of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre of September 1982 which the recently dead Ariel Sharon played role in.

    Ben White will be highlighting the ways in which apartheid works inside the 1948 areas and the occupied Palestinian territories. He will also talk about Israel’s discriminatory policies and will touch on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a response.

    Daily events:

  • fred

    “Fred, Israel has been accepted into the United Nations as a sovereign state. It has, in that sense, a right to exist within (at the time) the 1947 partition borders.”

    Palestine was accepted as a non member observer state.

    Yet Israel and America deny their right to be a state.

    So obviously Israel and America don’t see being accepted as a state by the UN carries much weight or gives any rights.

  • ESLO

    “The Jews ESLO are an ethnic race or tribe many of them are atheists or secularists.”

    The Jews in Israel are made up of many races from many different places and some believe in religion and some don’t. You are right that Israel is intended to be for all of them. The record of those who have attempted to define what it is to be Jewish is not very encouraging to say the least.

    If an Arab state were to be established as originally intended – it would hopefully be for all Arabs irrespective of their religion, especially since there is a sizeable Christian minority. In addition, to answering the long standing question about the Hamas Charter – you might also want to consider how much protection a Palestinian Christian might derive from the contents of that document.

    “Fred, Israel has been accepted into the United Nations as a sovereign state. It has, in that sense, a right to exist within (at the time) the 1947 partition borders.”

    Well at last we are making some progress.

  • ESLO

    “So obviously Israel and America don’t see being accepted as a state by the UN carries much weight or gives any rights”

    That is status of a Permanent Observer is based purely on practice, and there are no provisions for them in the United Nations Charter – there are no rights to recognise apart from allowing them to attend and observe the UN – which both Israel and the US respect

    The US also accepts that the Palestinians are entitled to a permanent mission in the US

  • ESLO

    “The issue is how will the people of Israel and the people whose grandparents and theirs were born there find a way out of the mess that 65+ years of landgrabbing and killing leaves behind.

    Sooner or later, whatever it’s called, people will coexist there again and, just as here in Ireland, it won’t be easy, but it will be a better than war.

    Let’s see Israel legitimate itself by acting in accordance with the Un Charter. Then it will be appropriate to expect others to do the same.

    At some point people will have to negotiate in good faith. Please do us all a favour and start soon.”

    I don’t disagree with most of that – but I’m afraid good faith is a two way process – and I fail to see how the current approach from Hamas does much to encourage good faith either. Gestures and actions are required from both sides of the argument – as well as acknowledgement of the others sides position and concerns – didn’t the same happen in Ireland?

  • fred


    OK let’s talk about some real rights. The right of a refugee to return to his homeland.

    I can show you where that is written, I can quote you chapter and verse where it is enshrined in international law both customary and treaty.

    So don’t go pushing your Zionist made up rights at me, either show me where it is written in international law or just shut up.

    Because personally I don’t have much time for people who ignore genuine rights where they apply to the Palestinians then call people why don’t recognise their pretend rights racist.

  • ESLO


    I have shown you where the rights are written in International Law – i.e the UN Charter.

    I don’t deny that there are conflicting rights on both side of the argument – there usually are in any dispute. Just read what I have said.

    I haven’t called anyone racist for disputing the rights that Israel claims – I have made it abundantly clear that there is a difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism – the fact that you cannot see that there is a distinction and acknowledge that some people are both is your problem rather than mine. End of discussion on my part.

  • fred

    “I have shown you where the rights are written in International Law – i.e the UN Charter.”

    I’ve read the UN Charter and nowhere does it say Israel has the right to exist. Nowhere does it say one people have the right to steal a country from another. It does however say Palestinians have the right to self determination, a right still denied them 70 years later.

    So stop bullshitting, either put up or shut up, show me where this right for Israel to exist is written.

    Or at least explain why, when the UN charter states quite clearly in black and white that all people are equal, that this right only seems to apply to Israel and not to Palestine. Show me this law that says Israel has a right to exist but Palestine doesn’t.

  • Mary

    As I was saying earlier. Lovely people here, an arms salesman and his clients.

    Prince Charles’ dance of shame

    By Sarah Waldron, 20th February 2014
    Topics: BAE, Saudi Arabia

    Charles dressing for a ‘sword dance’
    Prince Charles joined Saudi Arabia’s autocratic rulers in a ceremonial sword dance. Saudi Arabia executed more than 70 people last year, mostly by public decapitation with a sword. Image: AFP/Getty

    This week Prince Charles flew to Saudi Arabia and danced for its autocratic rulers. The next day Saudi Arabia and arms company BAE Systems announced they had finalised their latest multi-billion pound weapons deal.

    Charles was in Saudi Arabia at the request of the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. BAE’s share price was set to fall this week unless agreement could be reached on its latest sales of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, so the UK government sent in the royals to seal the deal. As a Buckingham Palace spokesperson has said “Middle East potentates like meeting princes.”

    Human rights organisations had highlighted Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on human rights and urged Charles to use his visit to promote reform. Instead he has sent a clear signal of support for repression.

    Please sign CAAT’s petition to challenge the Royal Family’s complicity in arms dealing.

    This is just the latest instalment in a shameful record of UK governments pulling out all the stops to help secure BAE’s weapons deals ‐ and of the royal family helping.

    Prince Charles last visited Saudi Arabia only 11 months ago: the trip was explicitly requested by the UK government to help ‘enhance military links’. Just last month, Prince Andrew was promoting BAE’s jets to Saudi ally Bahrain – despite its own ongoing crackdown.

    The royal family claim to be apolitical – but these are not apolitical actions. They are political actions which put the interests of private weapons companies before human rights – and they are a shameful international representation of the UK.

    Please add your voice to our petition to the Foreign Office and Buckingham Palace to say that the royal family should not be promoting arms sales.

    The media are reporting Charles’ ‘sword dance’ with glee, but very few outlets are focusing on the wider message he is sending. This morning, campaigners were threatened with arrest for unveiling a banner at Buckingham Palace to expose the royal family’s support for arms sales and human rights abuse. This message shouldn’t be hushed up. Please help to expose it!

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Fred. 2 07pm

    >em> …“personally I don’t have much time for people who ignore genuine rights where they apply to the Palestinians then call people who don’t recognise their pretend rights racist.”

    ELSO. 4 40pm

    …“End of discussion on my part.”

    Quite so!

    Would that be a promise?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!


    “It {ie, the UN Charter}does however say Palestinians have the right to self determination,…”


    I didn’t know that. Can you indicate in which article?

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Dad. 11 20pm

    Re your question to Fred. This might help you.

    It’s a long document Dad, but if you have the stamina to read as far as the second paragraph of Chapter 1. PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES you will find, “2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”

    Are Palestinians not a people?

    But don’t stop there, there’s another 13 chapters detaiing how member states have obligations to fulfil regarding universal human rights.

    Are Palestinians not human?


  • Mary

    From Amena Saleem at the PSC

    Please see this news item on Gaza, which was broadcast on Channel 4 News on Tuesday 18th February:

    It couldn’t be more different from the BBC’s ‘From our own correspondent’ report broadcast just five days earlier (see my email below). The picture Channel 4 paints of Gaza is that described by the UN, of a grim place on the verge of breakdown, and the item is placed wholly in the context of the Israeli occupation and siege. In the BBC’s report, where Gaza is a happy, ‘not such a scary place’, the occupation and siege aren’t even mentioned.

    While the BBC continues to broadcast its Potemkin Village-style distraction pieces on Gaza, it’s good to see Channel 4 running a hard-hitting report based on reality and facts.

    If you haven’t complained yet about the ‘From our own correspondent’ report (‘Come to sunny Gaza!’), please consider doing so.

    Best wishes

  • Mary

    Chris Floyd is right. Sinister is the word for Obama.

    Sinister Illusions: Masking Tragedy in Ukraine

    Chris Floyd
    February 20, 2014 “Information Clearing House

    It is no secret that Barack Obama is one of the supreme illusionists of modern times. The disconnect between his words and his deeds is so profound as to be almost sublime, far surpassing the crude obfuscations of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Their projections of unreality were more transparent, and in any case were merely designed to put a little lipstick on the pig of policies they were openly pushing. For example, they openly wanted to conquer Iraq and expand the militarist state, they openly wanted to redistribute national wealth to the elite, so they just gussied up this unhidden agenda with some fantasies about WMD and the occult magic of “tax cuts,” whereby enriching the rich and degrading all notion of the common good would somehow create a utopia of prosperity (for deserving white folk, at least).

    There was a disconnect between their rhetoric and reality, to be sure, but it was easily seen through (except, of course, by the highly-paid credulous cretins of our national media). Indeed, the Bushists seemed unconcerned by how threadbare their lies were; they delivered their lines like bored performers at the end of a long stage run, not caring whether they were believed or not — just as long as they got to do what they wanted.

    But Obama has taken all this to another level. He is a consummate performer, and strives to “inhabit” the role and mouth his lines as if they make sense and convey some sort of emotional truth. Also, most of the time his rhetoric, his role, his emotional stance are in stark opposition to his actual policies. He is not just gilding his open agenda with some slap-dash lies; he is masking a hidden agenda with a vast array of artifice, expending enormous effort not to prettify an ugly reality but to create an entire counter-reality, an alternate world that does not exist. Again, no one one was in any doubt about the Bushists’ militarism, their dedication to the financial elite or their disdain for anyone who was not, in their view, a “normal American” (white, traditionalist, bellicose, greedy). In fact, that’s exactly why millions of “normal Americans” voted for them. But Obama’s image — cool, compassionate, progressive, peace-seeking, non-traditionalist, anti-elitist — is so far at odds with his actual policies, and with the world as it actually exists, that you can get severe whiplash turning from his rhetoric to reality.

    Take his astonishing attack on Vladimir Putin for “interfering” in Ukraine. That Obama could make this charge with a straight face — days after his own agents had been exposed (in the infamous “#### the EU” tape) nakedly interfering in Ukraine, trying to overthrow a democratically elected government and place their own favorites in charge — was brazen enough. But in charging Putin with doing exactly what the Americans have been doing in Ukraine, Obama also fabricated yet another alternate world, turning reality on its head.


  • doug scorgie

    20 Feb, 2014 – 12:22 pm

    “Ben White will be highlighting the ways in which apartheid works inside the 1948 areas and the occupied Palestinian territories. He will also talk about Israel’s discriminatory policies and will touch on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a response.”

    Mary, I will try to attend.

    By the way, this is how Ben White is described by Comment is Free Watch:

    “An open supporter of the one-state solution, White regularly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, attributes the malicious slurs of colonisation, racism and apartheid to Israel, acts as an apologist for Islamist violence against the Jewish state, draws parallels between Nazi Germany and Zionism, has a problem with the police arresting those involved in plots to bomb synagogues, and has even gone as far as to flirt with Holocaust denial, or more accurately Holocaust revisionism.”

  • doug scorgie

    20 Feb, 2014 – 1:47 pm

    What if the Palestinian Authority unilaterally declared independence that set its borders at the 1947 partition lines?

    Would that be legitimate under international law?

  • doug scorgie

    20 Feb, 2014 – 1:35 pm

    “If an Arab state were to be established as originally intended – it would hopefully be for all Arabs…”

    No ESLO it would “hopefully” be for all its people Arab or otherwise.

  • doug scorgie

    20 Feb, 2014 – 1:35 pm

    You say:
    “In addition, to answering the long standing question about the Hamas Charter – you might also want to consider how much protection a Palestinian Christian might derive from the contents of that document.”

    ESLO Hamas is a religious fundamentalist organization. As a secularist and atheist I do not support them but I do support democracy.

    Regarding the charter:

    “Co-founder [of Hamas] Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.“


    “…in July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas’s political bureau chief, said the organization was willing to cooperate with “a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders”, provided that Palestinian refugees hold the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be the new nation’s capital…”


    “Article Thirty-One of the Charter states: “Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other.”

    Can you quote and reference which parts of the charter you are referring to that exercises you so much, bearing in mind the above quotes?

  • BrianFujisan

    i was over At mondoweiss a wee nosey….And goodness me i found this Dude / Dudette to be a regular Fountain of Knowledge

    As is often the case, in this piece he/she is replying to some other person….Here’s a part of the reply… loads of other well inforemed info in the Full piece…as well as Hostage’s other writings / reply’s

    It never existed. If you google for “Palestine” before 1964, be so kind as to post the relevant results.

    Every time someone challenged Palestine’s statehood in any connection with a case before an international or national Court, dealing with the period prior to November of 1947, the decisions uniformly held that Palestine was a State – no “ifs, ands, buts, or maybes”.
    Article 434 of the Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany was required to recognize the dispositions made concerning the territories of the former Ottoman Empire, “and to recognize the new States within their frontiers as there laid down.” The other Central powers and some of the treaty articles that required them to recognize the new states were:
    *Bulgaria Article 60 of the Treaty of Neuilly;
    *Hungary Article 74 (2) of The Treaty of Trianon
    *Austria Article 90 of The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

    Turkey and the US were signatories of the Treaty of Lausanne. The US ratified the Anglo-American Palestine Mandate Convention. It did, and still does, recognize Palestinian nationality and statehood as a matter of inter-temporal law. In 1995 the State Department published a Memorandum of Conversation between William Crawford Jr. and Mr. Shaul Bar-Haim from the Israeli Embassy (February 7, 1963) regarding Jerusalem. Bar-Haim said “The use of the term “Palestine” is historical fiction; it encourages the Palestine entity concept; its “revived usage enrages” individual Israelis”. Crawford replied “It is difficult to see how it “enrages” Israeli opinion. The practice is consistent with the fact that, ”in a de jure sense”, Jerusalem was part of Palestine and has not since become part of any other sovereignty. That it was not a simple matter, since there was a ”quota nationality”, in regard to which U.S. legislation and regulation continue to employ the term Palestine. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. Xviii, Near East, United States. Dept. of State, G.P.O., 1995, ISBN 0160451590, page 341. US immigration law, U.S. TITLE 8, CHAPTER 12, § 1101. Definitions says “(a) As used in this chapter— (14) The term “foreign state” includes outlying possessions of a foreign state, but self-governing dominions or territories under mandate or trusteeship shall be regarded as separate foreign states.
    Here are a few examples of the legal consequences of those treaties for you:
    *The decision of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Kletter v. Dulles (1950):

    The contention of the plaintiff that Palestine, while under the League of Nations mandate, was not a foreign state within the meaning of the statute is wholly without merit.
    When the Congress speaks of a ‘foreign State,’ it means a country which is not the United States, or its possession or colony- an alien country- other than our own, bearing in mind that the average American, when he speaks of a ‘foreigner,’ means an alien, non- American. Uyeno v. Acheson, D.C., 96 F.Supp. 510.
    Furthermore, it is not for the judiciary, but for the political branches of the Government to determine that Palestine at that time was a foreign state. This the Executive branch of the Government did in 1932 with respect to the operation of the most favored nations provision in treaties of commerce.

    *The former Attorney General of Palestine, a Jewish expert on international law named Norman Bentwich, published an article in the British Yearbook of International Law in 1946. Bentwich explained that the Courts of Palestine had just decided that title to the properties shown on the Ottoman Civil list had been ceded to the government of Palestine as an ”allied successor state’‘ and that Article 60 of the Treaty of Lausanne could not be legally challenged in the Courts of Palestine. The article is available online, See Professor N. Bentwich, “State Succession and Act of State in the Palestine Courts”, XXIII British Year Book Of International Law, 1946, pages 330-333.
    link to
    Another Jewish expert on international law, Sir Hersh Lauterpacht also reported on the case. You might recall that Zionists insisted that Jewish settlers in Palestine be allowed close settlement on surplus “State lands” of Palestine in accordance with the explicit terms of Article 6 of the Mandate. The Courts of Palestine ruled that the Mandate was only legally enforceable in so far as it had been incorporated in domestic enabling legislation. The Palestine Treaty of Peace (Turkey) Amendment Ordinance, 1926, added Article 60 of the Treaty of Lausanne to the Schedule of the Treaty of Peace (Turkey) Ordinance, 1925. Article 60 of the Treaty of Lausanne stipulated that:

    The States in favour of which territory was or is detached from the Ottoman Empire after the Balkan wars or by the present Treaty shall acquire, without payment, all the property and possessions of the Ottoman Empire situated therein.

  • BrianFujisan

    Aye Sofia… Devious Lying, Two faced Slimebags that they are….

    Parts of a Global research piece By Stefan Steinberg –

    In statement prior to the EU foreign ministers meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced any fresh sanctions against Ukraine. “America’s sanctions encourage rioters,” Lavrov declared, adding that any new EU sanctions amounted to “blackmail.” He concluded: “We’re worried about Western capitals influencing the situation in the country.”

    The provocations of ultra-right groups and hooligans have met with deafening silence from Western politicians and media, which uniformly ascribe responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine to the Yanukovych regime and Russia.

    The White House and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels are quite willing to allow these forces to destabilize the state through street violence while they lead the campaign to force the Yanukovych government out of power. The US and the EU powers are striving to impose a client regime in Ukraine pledged to carry out austerity policies demanded by the International Monetary Fund and take a much more confrontational stance towards Russia.

    During a trip to Mexico, US President Obama publicly criticised the role played by the Russian government in Ukraine. “Mr. Putin has a different view on many of those issues [people’s basic freedoms] and I don’t think that there’s any secret on that,” Obama said.

    “Our approach in the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia,” he continued. “Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future.”

  • Mary

    Warning: Saudi mayhem ahead
    By Pepe Escobar

    Move over, Peter O’ Toole. It’s Charles of Arabia time. Prince Charles switched to Lawrence mode when he went schmoozing and dancing in Riyadh this past Tuesday with the natives. And just like clockwork, the next day BAE Systems – Europe’s number one weapons peddler – announced that the UK and the House of Saud had agreed on “new pricing” for an extremely juicy deal; 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.

    The Eurofighter is a direct competitor of the spectacularly unsalable French Rafale and the very expensive American F-35s and F-16s. The Associated Press duly included in its dispatch – reproduced by virtually every newspaper around the world – the Washington-enforced meme “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are fortifying their military capabilities to counter a perceived threat from regional rivals, particularly Iran.” As if Tehran was going to bomb the House of Saud tomorrow.

    The Eurofighter, on the other hand, has already been employed against fellow Arabs – as in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s humanitarian bombing of Libya back to failed-state status. It’s open to debate whether the House of Saud might be tempted to employ it against the enemy within: aspiring Saudi women drivers.

    Brandishing the official excuse that near-nonagenarian King Abdullah was not able to receive him, Charles of Arabia declined to discuss with the House of Saud the absolutely appalling women’s rights, migrant workers’ rights and for that matter the full human rights situation in the kingdom. Of course not; this is only brought up when demonizing Russia, China and/or Iran.

    Moreover, Charles of Arabia could not possibly ruffle feathers as the French are also positioning themselves as contenders in the Snuggle-Up-with-a-Saudi industrial-military complex game show (worth more than US$70 billion in these past few years). French President Francois Hollande – an abysmal nullity at home but a Great Liberator of Africa and Syria – visited Riyadh in December trying hard to steal significant market share from the Anglo-Americans. The problem is, no sentient being anywhere would even contemplate buying a Rafale.


  • Mary

    The royal sister has the nerve to say that there should be more housebuilding in rural villages. I don’t suppose she envisages any going on in her estate, Gatcombe Park, which Mummy so kindly bought for her and her first groom for her horsey activities.

    What right have these parasites/troughers to tell us what should be happening?

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Mary. 7 48am

    Can’t you see your prince is a man with a broad grasp of history who, bless him, works tirelessly to keep you safe?

    It might inrerest you to know that any commentators would agree on the threat from Iran. Herodotus points out that the Iranians seem to see tyranny as a natural state of being. He points out that the Iranians underestimate the unity that democracy encourages and look with envy at the riches and glittering lifestyle of the Greeks.

    It is a mere 278 years since Emperor Nadir Shah,founder of the Afsharid dynasty, declared war and invaded Northern India. Tell me. Would you continue to be so complacent if Nadir Shah returned?

    This immediate existential threat must surely be be faced. Who better to shower with arms than the Saudi Royalty who constantly demonstrate how seriously they take the notion of democracy and human rights?

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