1992 Speech By Tony Benn About Britain’s Wars In The Middle East

Tony Benn

Ahead of a parliamentary debate on bombing Syria tomorrow, a speech by late Labour MP Tony Benn about the double standards of British policy in the Middle East is being shared widely across social media.

Mr Benn, criticised the UK’s record in the region after the start of the first Gulf War.

“We have forgotten that the story is part of an unhappy record of British relations in the middle east,” he told MPs in a debate over 23 years ago on 23 November 1992.

“Considered in the light of what we now know, the Gulf war is seen to be a war for profit, oil and control of the region…..”

Mr Benn’s son, Hilary is due to lead the pro-war argument in the Labour party

The Independent reports:

In 1991 the US and UK invaded Iraq after its dictator Saddam Hussein, who the UK and US had previously armed, invaded Kuwait.

In 2015, the Government has come under criticism from human rights groups for its alliance with Saudi Arabia, where crimes such as converting away from Islam are still punishable by beheading.

Other allies such as Turkey are reported to be buying oil from the West’s main antagonists in the region, Isis.

Turkey also had initially refused to fully participate in a military campaign against the militant group, and has shot down a Russian fighter jet taking part in its air campaign against militant groups, including Isis.

Russia itself is also accused of having a poor human rights record at home, and is propping up Syria’s Assad government, which has been accused of targeting civilians and ruling with an iron fist.

The UK is also selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, and to Egypt’s military strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who David Cameron welcomed to Downing Street earlier this autumn.

The Government says the UK needs to take military action in Syria so that it does not “outsource” its defence to the US and France, who are already bombing in the country.

Labour is split on the issue: Jeremy Corbyn and the majority of Labour MPs do not support strikes, but some pro-war rebels, including shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, support David Cameron’s position.