Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Britain and it’s Islamists

One of the most intriguing and secretive political relationships in the world over the last nine decades has been that between the British state and what today is called Islamism. Someone I know has briefly written on this relationship and how it began. It can be read here.
Robert Dreyfuss wrote a book on the relationship between the United States and Islamist groups and there is a chapter in there on Britain’s early relationship with Egyptian Islamists in the 1910’s and 1920’s. It was quite inevitable that a British author would soon appear to write a British version of this thesis and lo behold one has.
Mark Curtis is an independent British political writer. He is not one of these who simply regurgitates something that he has read in a Chomsky, Zinn or a Said book and then turns up at a meeting huffing, puffing and palming people off with terms such as “American Foreign Policy” and “Zionist Lobby” and then claims that he is a ‘revolutionary socialist’. Like all genuine political researchers and writers he has written about how his own establishments attempts to manipulate world affairs. He does his own research in that he analyses declassified governmental information.
His latest book is called, ‘Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam’. Curtis gives a brief outline of the relationship between Britain and Islamism in a recent interview:
“When Britain connived with the Muslim Brotherhood to kill Nasser in the 1950s, the Brotherhood at that time had a secret apparatus responsible for various assassinations and bomb attacks in Egypt...
... Radical Islamic forces have been seen as useful to Whitehall in five specific ways: as a global counter-force to the ideologies of secular nationalism and Soviet communism, in the cases of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the major champions of radical Islam; as ‘conservative muscle’ within countries to undermine secular nationalists and bolster pro-Western regimes; as ‘shock troops’ to destabilise or overthrow governments; as proxy military forces to fight wars; and as ‘political tools’ to leverage change from governments.”
The book is out in July and to be honest I can’t wait. By the way, the full interview can be read here.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee election campaign is announced.

“ promises to be the most exciting contest for years - one where at least a dozen different outcomes are possible. But that's enough about Saturday's Grand National. What about the General Election?...”
“...the sad truth is that the vote on May 6 will be the most meaningless poll in modern British political history...”
“Despite the obvious failings of privatisation, nationalisation is still the great 'no no' for Britain's political elite - except of course when it comes to using taxpayers' money to bail out failing banks...”
“...To cover up the fact that on the key issues of the day they are singing from the same hymn sheet, we can confidently expect the election campaign to focus on perceived differences in character...”
The article can be read here.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Tariq Ali on his recent visit to Yemen.

A good article on Yemen from long time radical Tariq Ali.

Although, I think it lacks a historical account of the relationship between the northern Yemeni political elite and Islamism (and what is now referred to as al-Qaeda), he more than compensates by providing a good outline of the events which led to the civil war in southern Yemen in 1986.

“I asked locals about AQAP. One of them came close to me and whispered: ‘Do you want to know where al-Qaida are based?’ I nodded. ‘In an office next to the president.’ In both Sana’a and Aden I encountered similar views...

“..Ali Saleh obligingly describes the revolt as a Shia rebellion backed by Tehran, which had to be put down with force. But few believe this. The Yemeni army had embarked last August on Operation Scorched Earth, which destroyed villages and drove 150,000 villagers from their homes.”

Read the whole article here.