Arms and the manufacturers

by
26 October 2011

The UK has been the friend of military dictators for too long, says Alan Storkey

THE official version has dom­in­ated the airwaves. The cour­age­ous Libyan people have risen up and killed the wicked dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and now they are free to move to dem­ocracy. Messrs Cameron and Hague and Dr Fox sup­port­ed the move to freedom, without interfering directly.

But it was, and is, not quite like that. First, Gaddafi was our friend. In 2004, he “gave up” weapons of mass destruction, and, as a reward, Tony Blair and others encouraged him to buy weapons of local destruction.

Suddenly we decided that Gaddafi — a known evil man — was not dangerous if it meant a little arms-sales bonanza for us. The UK, Italy, and France led the way. Unidentified arms piled through Malta. BP and Shell got an oil contract with Gaddafi. Our weapons included the tools of crowd control, ammunition, and armoured cars — all the things needed to repress hostile citizens.

Second, David Cameron was on his way round the Middle East, selling arms with representatives from BAE Systems, Thales, QinetiQ, Cobham, and other arms companies, when the Arab Spring broke.

It now turns out that the then Defence Secre­tary, Dr Liam Fox, and Adam Werritty were also prostituting UK foreign policy; but our govern­ments were on the other side, selling weapons to dictators. The Prime Minister did a quick flick, and, suddenly, we were on the side of the good guys; but, in reality, we have been the friends of military dictators.

You would think that this background would induce some shame and contrition, but suddenly, without proper democratic debate, we were encouraging a civil war in Libya.

We flouted UN Resolution 1973. It strongly affirms the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the name of Gaddafi’s state. It did not allow a direct attack on the Libyan state. Mr Cameron’s claims that he acted under UN resolution 1973 are untrue. There is currently an e-petition on the Downing Street website to that effect (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18248) which is available to sign.

We flouted UN Resolution 1973. It strongly affirms the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the name of Gaddafi’s state. It did not allow a direct attack on the Libyan state. Mr Cameron’s claims that he acted under UN resolution 1973 are untrue. There is currently an e-petition on the Downing Street website to that effect (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18248) which is available to sign.

We, together with the French, have waged an aggressive civil war. We bombed to defeat and then to kill Gaddafi. Although Resolution 1973 continued an arms embargo, except in the defence of civilians, the British and the French supplied weapons to the rebels.

We, it seems, provided intelligence, training, weapons, and direct air-support to attack our “friend” Gaddafi and murder him. Estimates of the number of people who have died range from 2000 to 20,000, and there are even more serious injuries and atrocities on both sides.

We have armed, trained, and even encouraged both sides to fight. Now, the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, is urging sales directors to secure contracts in Libya — including, probably, military ones. Once again, we are the militarists and exploitative capitalists, as we were with Mr Blair.

We want the best for the Libyan people, and yet they will suffer because of us. The UK Government is peddling the weapons that cause wars. In arming Gaddafi, and in constructing an aggressive civil war, we have been the military dictators.

Christ’s warning “Those who take the sword will perish by the sword” again hangs over us. The people are brainwashed into milit­arism by enjoy­ing gun battles and by enjoying Gaddafi’s death; and the military capitalists run the show behind the scenes.

The time has come for the peacemakers to take to the streets; for the politicians and the system have stitched us up.

Dr Alan Storkey is the author of Jesus and Politics (Baker Book House, 2005).

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