The Prime Minister is in the Middle East this week hoping to bag billions of pounds worth of arms contracts from the feudal Arab rulers of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.
These Arab tyrants rely on Anglo-American guns to prop up their thrones and that has to be paid for one way or another.
The oil princes, first of all, pay in kind by allowing their territories to be used as strategic bases for imperialist global dominance. Some of the protection money comes from the honeymoon deals with the big oil corporations that have been exploiting Arab oil for over a century. The rest comes from purchasing unnecessary and immensely expensive military hardware from western arms companies that supply the Nato war-machine.
David Cameron is currently hawking the Typhoon Eurofighter to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia — countries which have some of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi Arabia is ruled by a corrupt royal family whose power is maintained through tribal loyalty and a venal Muslim fundamentalist movement. There is no parliament apart from the “consultative assembly” which consists of 150 members who are all appointed by the king.
Slavery was abolished in 1962 and most menial tasks are now done by migrant workers who account for over 25 per cent of the entire population.
Women have no rights apart from those laid down by medieval Islamic law and tribal custom, which also applies to everyone else throughout the kingdom.
While Saudi Arabia is probably in a class of its own the Emirates are not much better. The UAE is a federation of several oil-rich Arab emirates that had formerly been British protectorates. Over 80 per cent of the population are immigrants who cannot vote. No political parties are allowed to organise and those few who can vote can only do so for a semi-elected federal council which is just a rubber-stamp for the princes.
Cameron, like all imperialist leaders, will always bang on the “human rights” drum when it suits the interests of British imperialism. The imperialists all used it to justify Nato’s overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Libya. They’ve tried to use it to mobilise public opinion behind Nato’s support for the Syrian rebels.
Cameron tells us that he will not hesitate to raise the human rights issue when he meets his prospective Emirates buyers this week. He says:
“On human rights, there are no no-go areas in this relationship. We discuss all of these things but we also show respect and friendship to a very old ally and partner”. All of this is nonsense apart from the amusing euphemism for puppet government at the end.
British imperialism doesn’t give a toss about human rights in the Arab world or anywhere else for that matter. Like the rest of the pack the only real criteria used to judge a country’s “human rights” record is its use to imperialism.
Last year Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism armed the Islamic fanatics whose revolt provided the pretext for Nato’s regime change in Libya. Today reactionary Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda gangs in Syria are given arms and money to overthrow the Assad government, while the oppressive Saudi and Bahraini regimes that are brutally suppressing their own “Arab Spring” are armed to the teeth by Britain and the United States.
All the Palestinian Arabs get is the occasional pious phrase from the European parliament while the Zionists step up the plunder of their land.
Cameron doesn’t fool anyone on the Arab street with his talk about Arab Springs and human rights.
But they’re not the ones being buttered up to buy more British weaponry…