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Monday, May 30, 2011

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VIDEO: Taji Mustafa on UK training Saudi forces putting down protests

Posted: 29 May 2011 02:38 PM PDT

Hypocrisy of British foreign policy

Click here to view the embedded video.

Hypocrisy of the Queen's British policy – supporting protestors in Libya, training Saudi troops to crush protestors

Posted: 29 May 2011 11:59 AM PDT

London, UK, May 29th 2011 – It was revealed today that the Queen's  Britain is training Saudi Arabia's national guard – the elite security force that was used to crush the anti-regime protests in Bahrain earlier this year resulting in the murder of unarmed protestors and the arrest and torture of political opponents.

Commenting on this revelation Taji Mustafa, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain said: "The hypocrisy of the Queen's Britain's foreign policy is laid bare for all to see. In his Mansion House speech earlier this month, the Queen's Foreign Secretary William Hague said 'we stand today with the people' rising up against tyrannical regimes."

"Yet, at the same time the Queen's Britain provides military training to corrupt dictators that kill, beat and torture protestors against their tyrannical rule."

"This news comes as little surprise to us considering that at the start of these uprisings, the Queen's  Prime Minister Cameron was in the region unashamedly selling arms to these regimes. Only weeks before Gaddafi became public enemy number one he was being embraced by the Queen's  foreign office, and just days after slaughtering hundreds, the Queen's William Hague called Bashar al Assad a reformer!"

"Our message to the people of the Middle East is this: Real change will only come by removing the regimes and the influence of the western colonial powers who support them."

"Increasingly, people are realising  that though Mubarak or Ben Ali has gone, they are yet to see real change. Increasingly people are realising that the Queen's Britain, America and Europe are desperate to maintain their influence in the region. Increasingly people can see that the West's involvement in Libya is more about the Queen's Britain's oil interests and averting a refugee crisis in Europe than it is about any principled support for the uprising."

"These revolutions will not produce real change until the people not only remove these tyrants, but re-establish the Islamic Khilafah state which will remove the influence of the western governments who established and backed these tyrants ever since the destruction of the Khilafah state."


Nato air strike 'kills 14 civilians' in Afghanistan

Posted: 29 May 2011 07:00 AM PDT

A Nato air strike has killed 14 people, all civilians, in south-west Afghanistan's Helmand province, local officials say.

The strike took place in Nawzad district after a US Marines base came under attack on Saturday.

The air strike, which was targeting insurgents, instead struck two civilian homes, killing two women and 12 children, reports say.

Nato and Afghan troops are looking into the incident.

A group from Sera Cala village travelled to Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah, bringing with them the bodies of eight dead children, some as young as two years old, says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul.

"See, they aren't Taliban," they chanted as the carried the corpses to local journalists and the governor's mansion.

Earlier, a coalition soldier was killed in a gun battle with insurgents in the area and an air strike was called in, said a spokesman for the international mission.

While insurgents are responsible for most civilian deaths in Afghanistan, the killings of Afghans by foreign soldiers is a source of deepening anger, our correspondent adds.

President Hamid Karzai has criticised Nato for not doing enough to prevent such deaths, especially during "night raids" and has called on the country's ministry of defence to stop what he described as "arbitrary" operations by foreign forces.

Nuristan 'air strike'

Separately, 20 Afghan police and 18 civilians were killed on Wednesday in a Nato air strike in north-eastern Afghanistan, in which some 30 Taliban fighters were also killed, the governor of the province of Nuristan has told the AFP news agency on Sunday.

The police and civilians were targeted Wednesday after they were mistaken for militants, the governor said.

Nuristan was the scene of heavy battles last week between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

"The policemen were killed due to friendly fire," Jamaluddin Badr told AFP, adding the air strike in the troubled district of Do Ab targeted a location that the officers "had just" taken from the insurgents during fighting.

"Civilians were killed because the Taliban… [who] ran out of ammunition fled into the civilians' houses and then the civilians were mistaken with the Taliban and fired upon," the governor said.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force has said it is investigating the allegations. A spokesman told AFP agency that its initial results showed civilians were not involved.

Daud funeral

In the country's north, security is extremely tight for the funeral of Gen Mohammad Daud Daud, the police commander for northern Afghanistan who was killed in a suicide bomb attack on the provincial governor's compound in Takhar on Saturday.

He was one of at least six people killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban.

The location of the funeral itself has not been announced for security reasons.

BBC News


The Queen's UK training Saudi forces used to crush Arab spring

Posted: 29 May 2011 12:26 AM PDT

The Queen's Britain is training Saudi Arabia's national guard – the elite security force deployed during the recent protests in Bahrain – in public order enforcement measures and the use of sniper rifles. The revelation has outraged human rights groups, which point out that the Foreign Office recognises that the kingdom's human rights record is "a major concern".

In response to questions made under the Freedom of Information Act, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed that British personnel regularly run courses for the national guard in "weapons, fieldcraft and general military skills training, as well as incident handling, bomb disposal, search, public order and sniper training". The courses are organised through the Queen's British Military Mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, an obscure unit that consists of 11 of the Queen's British army personnel under the command of a brigadier.

The Queen's MoD response, obtained yesterday by the Observer, reveals that Britain sends up to 20 training teams to the kingdom a year. Saudi Arabia pays for "all BMM personnel, as well as support costs such as accommodation and transport".

Bahrain's royal family used 1,200 Saudi troops to help put down demonstrations in March. At the time the Queen's British government said it was "deeply concerned" about reports of human rights abuses being perpetrated by the troops.

"Britain's important role in training the Saudi Arabian national guard in internal security over many years has enabled them to develop tactics to help suppress the popular uprising in Bahrain," said Nicholas Gilby of the Campaign Against Arms Trade

Analysts believe the Saudi royal family is desperate to shore up its position in the region by preserving existing regimes in the Gulf that will help check the increasing power of Iran.

"Last year we raised concerns that the Saudis had been using UK-supplied and UK-maintained arms in secret attacks in Yemen that left scores of Yemeni civilians dead," said Oliver Sprague, director of Amnesty International's UK Arms Programme

Defence minister Nick Harvey confirmed to parliament last week that the UK's armed forces provided training to the Saudi national guard. "It is possible that some members of the Saudi Arabian national guard which were deployed in Bahrain may have undertaken some training provided by the Queen's British military mission," he said.

The confirmation that this training is focused on maintaining public order in the kingdom is potentially embarrassing for the government. Coming at the end of a week in which the G8 summit in France approved funding for countries embracing democracy in the wake of the Arab spring, it has led to accusations that the government's foreign policy is at conflict with itself.

Jonathan Edwards, a Plaid Cymru MP who has tabled parliamentary questions to the MoD about its links to Saudi Arabia, said he found it difficult to understand why Britain was training troops for "repressive undemocratic regimes". "This is the shocking face of our democracy to many people in the world, as we prop up regimes of this sort," Edwards said. "It is intensely hypocritical of our leadership in the Queen's UK – Labour or Conservative – to talk of supporting freedoms in the Middle East and elsewhere while at the same time training crack troops of dictatorships."

The MoD's response was made in 2006, but when questioned this week it confirmed Britain has been providing training for the Saudi national guard to improve their "internal security and counter-terrorism" capabilities since 1964 and continues to do so. Members of the guard, which was established by the kingdom's royal family because it feared its regular army would not support it in the event of a popular uprising, are also provided places on flagship UK military courses at Sandhurst and Dartmouth. In Saudi Arabia, Britain continues to train the guard in "urban sharpshooter" programmes, the MoD confirmed.

Last year, the Queen's Britain approved 163 export licences for military equipment to Saudi Arabia, worth £110m. Exports included armoured personnel carriers, sniper rifles, small arms ammunition and weapon sights. In 2009, the UK supplied Saudi Arabia with CS hand grenades, teargas and riot control agents.

Sprague said a shake-up of the system licensing the supply of military expertise and weapons to foreign governments was overdue. "We need a far more rigorous case-by-case examination of the human rights records of those who want to buy our equipment or receive training."

An MoD spokesman described the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, as "key partners" in the fight against terrorism. "By providing training for countries to the same high standards used by UK armed forces we help to save lives and raise awareness of human rights," said the spokesman.

Labour MP Mike Gapes, the former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said British military support for Saudi Arabia was about achieving a "difficult balance".

"On the one hand Saudi Arabia faces the threat of al-Qaida but on the other its human rights record is dreadful. This is the constant dilemma you have when dealing with autocratic regimes: do you ignore them or try to improve them?"

The Guardian

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