“It is massively to our advantage that President Sisi succeeds. We should help him.” ~ Tony Blair
In a shocking sentence from his essay Tony Blair called for unfettered support for Sisi. You see, the Western powers have a selective hate when it comes to undemocratic regimes. Some will be bombed for the apparent reason that they are undemocratic, as was the case in the Iraq war. In other instances, democratically elected governments like Hamas and others, will be boycotted and the bombing of the “demos” for choosing their government tolerated in a show of latent support. In Egypt, Sisi’s secular military dictatorship exceeded Mubarak’s oppression by being involved in mass rights-violations, massacres of civilians, discharging mass death sentences and violently overthrowing the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood. Through David Cameron’s investigation into the thus-far peaceful, democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood at the behest of the Saudi regime (which is funding Sisi), the UK is tacitly supporting the Egyptian military regime, against “British values” of democracy, rule of law and individual liberty.
Apart from the paradoxical situation of promoting human rights and democracies whilst supporting coups and attacking a democratically elected political party purely upon the assumed propensity towards violence courtesy of “Islamism”, Blair’s statement on Sisi and his cosiness with despotic brutality was given extended context a few days ago. In a previous article I noted the well-known profiteering Blair enjoyed after his tenure as a Western power-hungry war-monger through military-focussed corporations like the Carlyle Group.
According to a leaked document Tony Blair’s company brokered deals over a four year span between an oil firm founded by a senior Saudi royal family member and, wait for it, China. Two cheers for capitalism. And half for communism and a half for democracy, human rights and rule of law!
Given Sisi has been bankrolled by the Saudis, it certainly questions the integrity of such statements of support. A bit like the lies which were sold to the British public for the Iraq 2003 war. Propping creaking autocratic regimes to protect “interests”, whilst facilitating their business deals and lining the pockets of defence corporations through the protecting of such regimes. Nothing has changed.
“Boots on the Ground”
The nexus between war and business is like two intertwined fingers. Michael Fallon, the current defence secretary called for MPs to “step up” and authorise airstrikes in Iraq to fend off “Islamic extremism” and support the Iraqi government (of course ignoring the Baghdad “death squads” which gave ISIS the strength it has today). Ruling out “boots on the ground” in September, Fallon has now promised that troops will be present in an “advisory” capacity. The case of mission creep is inevitable given that the neocons are at the helm of the government.
However prior to Fallon assuming his role as the defence secretary, he was the business minister and from 2013 the minister for energy. In this capacity he was a listed speaker in the Iraq Oil Conference in June 2014 in London. The Conference gathers investors and senior figures to discuss Iraq’s oil and gas projects and “forging strategic plans” for Iraq’s oil and gas future.
And now Fallon is airing his pro-war calls, fighter jets are striking targets in Iraq, defence corporations are profiteering once again, and another protracted war is emerging which is only set to worsen.
Whilst Tony Blair has (rightly) become the public glutton for bad publicity for wars, the continuation of his legacy has been unceasing in the present government’s foreign policy. This time however, the voices of reason have become less prominent against the unrelenting tide of neocon, right-wing rhetoric.