In keeping with the glorious tradition of the British military training future dictators, it's just swell to see that not only were senior Syrian military figures given the once over back here in Blighty, no doubt instructed in how to handle demonstrations without resorting immediately to shelling the protesters, but that soldiers from both Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also been welcomed with open arms to Sandhurst. While Sudan isn't quite in the same dire straits as Syria, protests have been on-going there since the beginning of the Arab spring, while the DRC has never recovered from the two Congo wars and the Kivu conflict. Doubtless some of the training has been put to good practical use rather than to just disrupt protests and crack down on dissent, yet it's hardly surprising there's cynicism about exactly what purpose these links fulfil.
How unlike our continuing connection and cooperation with the government of Bahrain, as how can you possibly be cynical about something so out in the open? And how in any case could anyone be critical of what is and has long been such a lucrative mutual relationship? We send them John Yates to give their police advice on how to
stall investigations respect human rights, and they bung us £3 million quid for a new sports hall at Sandhurst while buying British-made lethal weaponry at our premier arms fair. Everyone's a winner. Oh, except for the poor sods who don't much like living under an all but absolute monarchy directly connected to the House of Saud.
Labels: Arab spring, arms deals, Bahrain, foreign policy, Middle East intifada, politics, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria