Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blair in secret Saudi mission

http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,10674,1579155,00.html

According to David Leigh and Ewen MacAskill, in The Guardian, 27 September 2005, Tony Blair has been holding secret talks with Saudi Arabia.

Reportedly, Blair wants 'an arms deal worth up to £40bn'.

According to The Guardian, the Saudis are demanding three favours:

1. Britain should expel two anti-Saudi dissidents, Saad al-Faqih and Mohammed al-Masari.

The Saudis believe that Mr Faqih was involved in a plot to assassinate the recently enthroned King Abdullah.

2. British Airways should resume flights to Riyadh.

3. A corruption investigation implicating the Saudi ruling family and BAE should be dropped.

Crown prince Sultan's son-in-law, Prince Turki bin Nasr, 'is at the centre of a "slush fund" investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.'

Acording to The Guardian:

Mike Turner, the chief executive of BAE, Britain's biggest arms company, was quoted in Flight International magazine on June 21, just before Mr Blair's Riyadh trip, saying: "The objective is to get the Typhoon into Saudi Arabia. We've had £43bn from Al Yamamah over the last 20 years and there could be another £40bn."

There is concern within the Foreign Office at the apparent partiality of No 10 to BAE's commercial interests. Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair's chief of staff, and his brother Charles, Lady Thatcher's former adviser and now a BAE consultant, are believed to be in favour of the deal.

~

Questions were asked in Parliament over claims Mark Thatcher received millions of pounds in commission from a 1985 arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

~

http://www.caat.org.uk/information/publications/countries/saudi-arabia-intro.php

"The real profit has most likely been into the pockets of those who orchestrated the deals. The pervasive scandal and rumour surrounding Al Yamamah suggest that the motivation behind supplying the kingdom may have come from those few individuals who directly benefited from ‘commission’ payments."


~~

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Divide and rule. Iran and Saudi Arabia concerned about Iraq.

~

"We believe when suspicious hands are at work to sow factional and ethnic discord among Muslims in Iraq and the entire region, we should not act in such a way as to enable the enemies of Islam to take advantage of these differences," Asefi told Iran’s official news agency, IRNA.

http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=3794

According to Iran Focus, 24 September 2005, Iran (which is mainly Shiah) has hit back at Saudi Arabia (which is mainly Sunni) about its comments on Iraq.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister had criticised the United States for employing an 'incorrect' strategy in Iraq which has led to 'Iranian domination' over Iraq.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that U.S. policy had deepened sectarianism in Iraq to the extend it was effectively handing over the country to Iran.

Iran’s semi-official daily, Jomhouri Islami, attacked al-Faisal’s comments as a form of “meddling” in the internal affairs of Iraq.

“The remarks last week by Saud al-Faisal saying that America’s incorrect policies in Iraq could in the future hand over this country to Iran have had a lot of coverage in Western and Arab media”, the hard-line daily wrote.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said that the statement by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal implicating Iran in unrest in Iraq was surprising and illogical.

"We believe when suspicious hands are at work to sow factional and ethnic discord among Muslims in Iraq and the entire region, we should not act in such a way as to enable the enemies of Islam to take advantage of these differences," Asefi told Iran’s official news agency, IRNA.

The hard-line Jomhouri Islami said the Saudi official’s remarks were “influenced by Western propaganda” and by U.S. policy in the region.

“While these comments are insulting to Iraqi officials, they also show a desire to meddle in the internal affairs of Iraq”, the daily said.

Al-Faisal warned that civil war could break out in Iraq if tensions increased between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, adding that such a conflict would lead to Iranian interference as it had interests in Iraq’s Shiite-dominated south.

"We have launched together a war to alienate Iran from Iraq after the expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait, and now we are handing over the whole country to Iran, unjustifiably", the Saudi Foreign Minister said.The Saudi prince went on to say that Iranian agents had established their own militias and had bribed much of the police force in regions in Iraq under U.S. and British control.



~~