Media Pretend Not To Know About British Boots on the Ground in Libya 135


Yesterday Philip Hammond, UK foreign secretary, visited a naval base in Tripoli to be shown docking facilities for British military vessels. The authoritative Jane’s Defence Weekly published that the 150 strong amphibious Special Purpose Task Group of commandos and special forces is in the Mediterranean on the amphibious warfare vessel Mounts Bay. Obviously purely a coincidence with Hammond’s visit!

Just as in Syria and in Yemen it will not be admitted that British forces are in combat. In classic Cold War fashion, they are “military advisers and trainers.” There is a specific development which disconcerts me in Yemen, where the SAS operatives supporting the devastating Saudi bombings of the Houthi population have been seconded to MI6. There is a convention that military operations are reported to Parliament and MI6 operations are not, so the sole purpose of screening the SAS as MI6 is to deceive the UK’s own parliament.

That of course only adds to the utter immorality of British support of the appalling Saudi bombing campaign. Britain’s supplying the arms to the Saudis and lending direct military assistance amounts to complicity in war crime.

Saudi Arabia pursued the overproduction of oil initially to force out high cost US fracking producers. That objective has largely been achieved with a subtantive fall in US production. But Saudi strategists have now been struck by the potential for continued low oil prices to cause pressure for the Russian budget. This was a key factor in the Saudi decision to block any moves towards OPEC production curbs. The Saudis are now obsessed with the notion of full Sunni control over Syria, and aim to pile economic pressure on Russia to achieve this. But it is by no means clear that the level of pain which would be required to force Putin to end military support for Assad, would not also put so much strain on the Saudi budget that it would risk destabilising the Saudi regime itself.

Just what could cause western elites to acknowledge that Saudi Arabia is the largest single problem in the Middle East, and that continued support of the House of Saud is entirely counterproductive, it is difficult to envisage. The problem of course is that what is bad for the world can be very profitable for the 1%.


135 thoughts on “Media Pretend Not To Know About British Boots on the Ground in Libya

1 2
  • Paul Barbara

    I believe the oil price drop was ordered by the US, to pressurise the Russian, Venezuelan and other oil-dependent economies. Sure it has had adverse effects on some Western interests (just like the order not to deliver the helicopter carrier to Russia hit France) their strategic interests were paramount.
    Whilst the US and Saudis are in a symbiotic arrangement, the Saudi ‘Royal Family’ know only too well thet the US could unleash a ‘spontaneous’ ‘Saudi Spring’, and install a Yats or Saakashvili at the drop of a hat.
    I remember reading a quote from a US General quite some years back (I can’ find it on the net) that ‘if the Saudis won’t sell us their oil, we’ll go and take it’.
    Of course, while both ‘sides’ can say all sorts of things in public the realpolitik is acknowledged and adhered to by both.

  • bevin

    According to this article in ATOL Saudi Arabia is desperately trying to maintain its position in Yemen.
    http://atimes.com/2016/04/saudi-arabia-looks-for-anchor-as-it-inches-towards-defeat-in-yemen/

    The truth is that Britain’s support of the Saudi war on Yemen is revoltingly devoid of principle: the current enemy (the ‘Houthis’) were supported by Britain in the 1960s when a popular revolution had ousted the hereditary Imam from power. The nationalist secular revolution was supported by Nasser which was Britain’s cue to rush all support, including both SAS and mercenaries, to Saudi backed shia guerrilla forces fighting the nationalist government. In fact Nasser’s best Generals and 100,000 of his troops were tied down in Yemen when Israel attacked Egypt in 1967 and captured Sinai and Gaza ; from Jordan, the West Bank; from Syria, the Golan Heights.

    What makes Britain’s position all the more shameful is that it occupied half of Yemen-as a Protectorate and a Crown Colony- for many years. Instead of discharging the considerable debt it owes the people it thrusts this war upon them.
    And all to curry favour with a regime that has a life expectancy measurable in months.

    • Habbabkuk (it's the big picture that counts)

      “What makes Britain’s position all the more shameful is that it occupied half of Yemen-as a Protectorate and a Crown Colony- for many years. Instead of discharging the considerable debt it owes the people it thrusts this war upon them.”

      ___________________________

      As the comprehensive and interesting Wikipedia article on Yemen’s troubled history tells us:

      “Yemen has been in a state of political crisis since 2011. In January 2011, a series of street protests began against poverty, unemployment, corruption and president Saleh’s plan to amend Yemen’s constitution and eliminate presidential term limit, in effect making him president for life.[24] He was also grooming his eldest son Ahmed Saleh, the commander of the Republican Guard, to succeed him.[24]”

      A bit steep to blame the UK – whichleft Aden iver 40 years ago – for everything, isn’t it?

      Interesting to read that Yemen is another of those countries where dynasty appears to rule, OK. Egypt (Mubarak) and Syria (Assad) also refer.

      • Ba\'al Zevul

        protests began against poverty, unemployment, corruption and president Saleh’s plan to amend Yemen’s constitution and eliminate presidential term limit, in effect making him president for life.

        I see President Kagame of Rwanda has done something similar. And we’re hyping his corrupt and unfree state to the max as some kind of an economic miracle – which it isn’t for 80% of the country, and elsewhere is achieved through heavy repression of dissent and creative accounting.

  • C15 fwl

    Dear NY cousins what have you done now – Clinton v Trump. Oh dear oh dear.

    Forget Scotland maybe its time for Vermont to return to Independence. Such a beautiful well ordered and inspirational state (admittedly an comparatively easy task).. A model to others, but only the young were listening.
    .

    • C14 fwl (back towards the middle ages)

      Sorry, off topic with posts. I don’t know about boots on ground and we all know that Libya was a shameful disaster. In my view if there had been one event, which has shown the truth of the copycat concept it was our attitude to Libya. How could so many have known invading Iraq was a bad idea, have gone on made protests and then had all their worst fears so clearly played out and more And yet then so few campaigned against invading Libya.

      It was the same thing. Except with Libya we definitely knew there were no WMD and we fought from the sky not the earth.

      Now, according to Craig we are on the ground as well.

      People are sleepy sheep. If its not repeatedly in their face its okay.

      I have never understood what the ME is about. I tend to think it all comes down to Follow me or It will be divide and conquer. Maybe its more subtle, but liberation it is not about liberation.

      • C14 fwl (back towards the middle ages)

        And politicians who parrot baloney about liberation and democracy and human rights and ethical wars should look in the mirror and see who they are. Nothing but singing dancing boy bands. At least some times a few of those record company created boy bands start to vainly imagine that they are artists and insist on singing their own songs.
        Sometimes they break free of their moguls and succeed. Sometimes they fail. But, these politicians they need to remind themselves what singing dancing puppets they have become.

        And that goes for journalists too.

        Sing your own tune, or join up with your mates and sing a new tune, if you wanna just make money and be a mogul’s bitch so be it, but remember that is where your at.

        Have a nice day all.

        • C14 fwl (back towards the middle ages)

          Sun still shining my early morning commitments adjourned so I’ll keep talking to myself. Some mornings one wakes up with a lippy motor mouth. Thank goodness for the web and the blog. Anyway, if I were to give so.e benefit if some doubt to the all singing dancing puppets, who keep a lid in things, spin and conceal. If I were to accept that maybe they act in the national interest not just their own self interest what would I think of them then? Noble but dim self sacrificing drone bees carrying out the interests of the hive.

          But what is the interest of the hive? Does even the Queen Bee know.

          In any event I don’t know and suspect very few do and that they may have confused ir merged self with national interests.

          Sun shining sitting idly by. 1939.

          • C14 fwl (back towards the middle ages)

            When sun shines can’t see keyboard or screen hence typos.

            Sometimes sunlight blinds.
            Sometimes it illyminates.
            Sometimes sun gives life.
            Sometimes it burns and destroys.

            Hi ho and off to work we go…

          • C14 fwl (back towards the middle ages)

            Things need to be in balance. Army, security etc like the sun both good and bad. Keep in mind day and night. Exercise restraint.

1 2

Comments are closed.