2007 - 2021

How do we Tell?

egyptI do not claim to be an expert on British Foreign and Defence Policy. Neither, it seems is the British Government. Nobody could dispute the requirement for the British Government to do everything it can to ensure that British visitors to Egypt return safely to the UK. I shall leave the efficiency of the execution of this policy for others to discuss.

Britain is in a difficult position (as it was over Libya or Iraq) not because of unforeseeable contingent events, but because of how these events fit into the UK’s longer term presence in, and strategy for the crises currently unfolding in the Middle East. In that wider policy context all the circumstances that have brought us over time to this point in Egypt are connected.

The immediate British Foreign Policy consequences of a non-British air disaster in Egypt follow from the Government’s recent invitation to the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to visit the UK; in which our sudden announcement to supervise British departures from Sharm el-Sheikh Airport embarrassed a Head of State and humiliated his country, even before the President’s flight landed on British soil. At the same time we exasperated the Russians, who (after all) lost the passenger aircraft and over 200 of their citizens in the crash which caused the political crisis: and in a remarkable ‘coup de grâce’ we have now dealt a severe blow to the Egyptian economy, which relies excessively on foreign tourism.

We may expertly rationalise to our own smooth satisfaction all blame for these unfortunate and unintended incidents, but it remains reasonably plain that the principal effect of this sequence of events is that it is unconsciously helping realise an ISIS destabilisation strategy in the region, whatever we – apparently floundering helplessly in the middle of it – intend.

When approaching the mysterious and often apparently counter-rational nature of British Foreign Policy, it is worth remembering a trenchant maxim that is as venerable as the Foreign Office itself: ‘Britain has no permanent friends or permanent enemies; only permanent interests’. The second part of the maxim, on close inspection and with the advantage of historical perspective, is unsustainable because the permanence of national interests may in time be disproved: Winston Churchill spent his whole life defending the proposition that the British Empire was permanent. It wasn’t. However, the first part of the Foreign Office maxim, that we have no permanent friends or enemies has merit, and perhaps has been lost from view in the same march of history; lost in the desiccated atmosphere of Bleak House decay that has seemingly, finally overwhelmed Whitehall.

In order to understand how we arrived in our current predicament over Egypt I shall ask a few very simple questions, because, quite genuinely I do not know the answers. In the complex and chaotic Syrian crisis who are our friends? Who are our enemies? Do we know who our friends and enemies are?

In order to help the answers along, allow me to ask an equally small number of simple, supplementary questions. We either know, suspect or surmise that ISIS, Daesh, “so-called Islamic State”, proto-caliphate or whatever nomenclature is now favoured by the experts (who, incidentally often seem somewhat confused about the name, and even more uncertain about the exact content), is both one or many, or both, and is well-funded and supported by powerful interests; and will therefore be difficult, perhaps even impossible, to eliminate. This proposition seems to be established conventional wisdom throughout the West: yet this same elusive, dangerous but effective operation that has a current presence in Iraq, Syria (and beyond) seems to exist without any public, international representation or support anywhere in the world. It is almost as if the rise of IS was achieved through an act of political magic, somehow conjured into existence in a puff of smoke and sustained by nobody at all.

There is an old, wise and effective maxim that did not originate in the Foreign Office, but that can be applied to almost everything in this dysfunctional world, and if it is used rigorously it is a reliable technique for discovering the real sources of power and influence, wherever this requires examination. This technique first came to worldwide public attention in the United States, with the 1931 Al Capone tax case and is now laconically summarised by three terse words: follow the money. If we ‘follow the money’ in the case of IS, where does it lead? Do we know? Do we suspect? Does the trail of money lead back to those we call our enemies, or our friends?

The deeper question is, how do we tell?


Comments (15)

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  1. Bryan Weir says:

    “we have now dealt a severe blow to the Egyptian economy, which relies excessively on foreign tourism.”

    Wasn’t it the exploding plane that did that?

    1. John S Warren says:

      It may well be, when it is confirmed that there was a bomb; although that requires forensic confirmation that cannot be produced in the current timescale. These are the difficulties we are now in. But I respectfully suggest that your point begs the question and attempts to finesse my argument. Britain has attempted to continue to prosecute the kind of policies it has in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, while continuing to assume that a globalised business and tourist industry can carry on in the region as if nothing was amiss; this is akin to what was called in the US in the 1960s a “guns and butter” policy. It is dangerous (the fallout in Tunisia from the Libyan adventure provides the precedent) and it doesn’t work.

      Incidentally, the Foreign Office provides advice to travellers, which presumably should include making a judgement about ‘risk’; I suggest you read on their website what is provided by the FO for anyone interested in visiting Libya; it may offer the same advice for any country. Actually, it is quite an important function of the Intelligence Services to provide sound advice of this kind. It is what they do.

      1. John Mooney says:

        “Follow the Money” To Saudi Arabia perchance?

        1. leavergirl says:

          Right. Hasn’t Saudi Arabia been financing the wahhabistas everywhere?

  2. David says:

    They sell oil and they raise taxes. The Iraqi and the Syrian Governments pay the taxes because ISIS controls a civilian population that is trapped.

    1. John S Warren says:

      They do. But that doesn’t explain everything, or identify all the sources of finance, or how what they do sell reaches markets in the outside world; or, excluding the ‘prizes of war’, where they acquire armaments. They are not, it appears hermetically sealed off from the world from resources.

  3. john young says:

    Who benefits most from the mayhem in the middle east,Israel/America old maxim “divide and conquer” has worked for thousands of years,we have a huge “friends of Israel” in this country none other than J Murphy tells you all.

  4. Broadbield says:

    I’ve just finished reading “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel” by Raymond Baker (an avowed capitalist), published about 10 years ago in which he explained in painful detail how “dirty money” from all kinds of sources including corrupt politicians, drug barons, ordinary criminals, wealthy individuals and companies and amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars are spirited away in tax havens, private banks, trusts etc, and all done with the willing complicity of Western banks and politicians. It’s not difficult, he says, once you know how, and it opens the doors for terrorists to do the same.

    Western institutions, including the World Bank and governments want this money and refuse to say no. Until we clean up our act, terrorists will always have a safe haven in the west for their dirty money to finance their operations. I hope that part of the political project of an independent Scotland will be to reject this hypocrisy (and criminality) and be guided by a strong sense of ethics and justice.

  5. Kangaroo says:

    The CIA and the UK set up the destruction of Libya because Gaddafi wanted to set up a gold backed pan african currency. This would undermine the petrodollar. They fomented dissent created and armed the opposition. Bombed everything they could including schools and hospitals. Deliberatly causing a mass exodus of people to Europe. Libya has no gold it was removed.

    They then moved their mercenaries to Iraq to cause the same chaos thence to Syria. The plan is to cause chaos and fragment the middle east to make it easier to have US UK Israeli hegemony over it.
    The Ukraine is the same story they have installed a fascist government right next to Russia. Ukraines Gold has gone too. Despite the German government requesting that its gold be repatriated it is only being dribbled out of the US at 10tons a year.

    They are trying to destabilise Europe to enable them to “solve the problem” by installing a pan european authoritarian government.

    1. tartanfever says:

      Correct. The spin regarding events in Ukraine in the international press was utterly misleading. It was no more than a US backed coup. Two excellent articles from Spinwatch are essential reading in understanding further the compliance of media to government objectives.

      They are available here:



  6. Bruce-Ard says:

    The missing puzzle piece is the Reformation and the fact that Protestantism was a Jewish creation, preached by “converted” Jews to bring down the 1500 year Roman Empire whose existence is carefully kept out of history books because it came to be called Catholicism. However, if you care to study it, look up Byzantium and it’s extension into the area where Mohammad was born. It takes some knowledge of Arabic and Middle Eastern history and word meanings to realize that Queen Elizabeth 1 and her court were members of the Jewish Arab tribe of ancient slave traders whose identity traces to Gog, which would lead us to the puzzle piece wherein the British Jewish government is Magog (the matriarchal tribe of Gog). It suddenly becomes very simple when one realizes that in destroying the Catholic Church, every Protestant became a Jew, and to this day practices Talmudic Judaism. Wayne Madsen, intelligence exert and former employee of the NSA, years ago identified the Saudis as members of the Jewish Rothschild clan who is Britain’s true monarcy. But Rothschild is the same name as the Rashid, who can be traced to the creation of a religion which we now know as Islam, which was created as a tool for worldwide domination. Muhammad was born in Christian Roman Byzantium and fought on the side of the Christians to overcome these same Jewish slave traders under Rashid/Rothschild. Now all of this can be found in the history of Islam, if one understands such things as the fact that the ‘Nazirid Sultan of Rum’ is the Arabic name for the Christian Patriarch of Constantinople. One must first get rid of the false notion that Rome ‘fell’ in the year 400 AD. As Jesus mentioned at least once, the Jews are liars, as was their father, Satan himself. But this is a lot of truth to have to swallow all at once. I dose it out on my wordpress site called debeausoleil.com, where I have the power to control comments, so all you trolls out there, don’t waste your time leaving vulgar and insulting missives, unless you want to give me the pleasure of not approving them.

    1. Kangaroo says:

      Thats the piece I didn’t want to include as it will give rise to various vulgar remarks.
      However this video confirms what is going on

      1. Kangaroo says:

        I watched your video. Whilst it backs up a lot of what I have determined It is just words. I prefer a face putting themselves out there. It is much more credible. Try this


        PS I read a lot of your website. Thats a lot of research and very interesting indeed. I didn’t know any of that and probably only one in a million would have any inkling.

  7. Clive Scott says:

    If the West weaned itself off oil and gas supplies from the countries to the east we now “help” by destroying what miserable infrastructure they have whilst maiming and killing umpteen thousands of their men, women and children, that would surely be a first step to a better world. Leave them alone to work out their tribal issues, bizarre religious beliefs and sectarian problems between themselves. How would we feel if Glasgow or Belfast was being bombed by Syria/Iraq/etc to “help” sort out sectarian differences between nutty Catholics and bonkers Protestants?

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