Once again the war drums are beating over Iraq. This time we are told we have to go into battle abroad in order to prevent ISIS waging war on the streets of Britain, or to save the Yazidis.
It’s all like some kind of time warp into the 19th century, when gunboats or expeditionary forces were despatched to far corners of the earth in hot pursuit of an “enemy” or in support of a “friend” of whose existence 99.99 per cent of Britain had normally, until then, never heard.
Yet the truth is that every single British military intervention in the Middle East – and elsewhere – has made a bad situation worse. From the secret Anglo–French Sykes–Picot deal of 1916 carving up the old Ottoman Empire (revealed only when the Russian Bolsheviks seized power and found the Tsar’s copy) to the partition of Palestine; from oft-repeated humiliation in Afghanistan to ignominy in Suez; from the partition of Syria that created Lebanon to the chaos in Syria today – no good has ever come out of imperialist meddling. But it goes on, often eagerly encouraged by the “liberal” press.
“Human rights” are the new cover for intervention, a pretext for anything. Funny, though, how that doctrine stops at the borders of Saudi Arabia, a corrupt and feudal nightmare where women are stoned for adultery, there are neither national elections nor legal political parties, Muslim clerics are as powerful and involved in politics and policing as in Iran, women may not even drive a car and where homosexuality is a capital offence.
The only body that should be supplying humanitarian aid is the UN. All the rest is a cover for intervention. ■