Sunday, 20 March 2011


Today we have seen pictures of dead boys and men of Yemen, shot through the head by their government’s forces in the worst day of violence in Sana'a for 30 years.

Live fire was used to clear the demonstrators calling for the resignation of the president. But it’s not working. Incredibly brave young men are taking off their jackets and walking towards the troops, pointing towards their chests as if to say.... go on then, shoot.

If President Saleh thought that his killing spree, using weaponry supplied by the West, purchased with military aid from the USA, would end the rebellious behavior of the country’s youth, his guess has fallen rather wide of the mark.

More and more young people are coming to the capital to join in the protests. I suppose the trouble is that like the leaders of many other of the Middle East countries, Saleh is an old man, and he is dealing with a people that he simply does not comprehend. Over 60% of the population is under 25. They are equipped with cell phones and they have access to internet. Many of them are highly educated, but there are no jobs, and the regime so far hasn’t made anything much in the way of an effort to make the country a place that anyone would want to invest in. These men are not like the people of Saleh’s generation. They refuse to be poor, ragged and hungry while he and his like salt away vast fortunes. The days of quiet subservience to brutal, greedy, self serving old men, is over.

But how many more will he kill before he understands this.

Yesterday the
UK prime minister told us in a world leader and statesman like fashion that: “We simply cannot stand back and let a dictator whose people have rejected him, kill his people indiscriminately. To do so would send a chilling signal to others striving for democracy across the region”

Now I know that Libya supplies oil to Europe, and that Yemen does not. I also understand that it is the government’s duty to look after the interests of the British people, and that that includes making sure that we have a steady supply of oil.

But if British airmen are fighting tonight in Libya because they have oil, and not fighting tonight in Yemen because they do not, why cannot Mr Cameron just come out and say that?

If he meant what he said yesterday, however, can I just take this opportunity to remind him that the dictator Saleh has killed well over 50 of his own people this weekend so far, because they have rejected him. Can I further point out that to let him away with it simply sends a chilling message to all the other brutal dictators of the area (and there are many, some of them our dear friends and allies).

Pics: A bloodied, but still alive boy is carried away from the protest having been shot by his own army snipers. The president of Yemen, Mr Saleh, a man we could all do perfectly well without, and Yemen citizens are literally dying to get rid of. The capital of Yemen (map), the beautiful and mysterious city of Sana'a


  1. Tris.

    This is the sticking point, we are intervening in Libya for the protection of Civilians but the same is happening in Yemen and a few other countries.

    It is true Libya has oil but I also think France in particular did not want a failing state so close to it.

    I don't know how this will end but the removal of Gaddafi is just the beginning. The same in Yemen, if we removed their despot then different factions within would slug it out for years.

    The Arab league is a joke, they agree on military action against Gaddafi but they are also despots killing their own people for freedom.

  2. I suppose it’s very true and Mr Cameron’s statement does seem to smack of hypocrisy. But Mr C is a PR man, and a not too popular PM at the moment, taking that into account and the fact that it would be nigh on impossible to get involved in every country round the world that has an element of its population that disagrees with its leadership, never mind get the international consensus necessary to do so. We also have to take account of the fact that at least two members of the security council oppress by force significant minorities of their own populations. If we take all that into consideration it’s amazing that they got permission to get involved in Libya at all (and let’s face it they left it very late indeed). Maybe Mr Cameron needs that kind of overblown rhetoric to justify what he is doing, maybe it’s part of a cynical grab for popularity and undoubtedly it’s all about oil. But nevertheless action is finally being taken against one of the most odious dictators in Africa one who launched an all out war against his own people.

  3. Yes Allan. I thought it was hilarious that they were voting against Gaddafi given the more or less undemocratic nature of their members' countries.

    Some, of course are much better than others. Jordan for example has a relatively benign regime. The Saudi one is fairly harsh, given that they have religious police in the streets watching for people who are failing to pray at the tight time and there is a blanket ban on alcohol in the state. I’ve been to a few Arab states and seen nothing like that, and indeed enjoyed locally made wine and beer.

    The two things that bother me are: why does Britain, that is a) our troops and b) our exchequer have to take a leading role in everything that comes along. And why the hypocrisy? I know it doesn’t sound so statesmanlike to say “This monster is impeding the flow of oil to the countries of Europe and this must not be allowed to happen”; it would hardly go down in history with “we shall fight them on the beaches”, but if it’s the truth and the killing of innocent kids has nothing to do with our motivation, we deserve not to be treated like total morons.

    The days of us believing what the government said are gone too. Change is not just happening in the Arab countries. Brits too have access to mobile phones and internet. We do not need to depend on the BBC. Unfortunately for the government, we have “Youtube”. We know what is going on.

    I don’t know why no one has thought about calling on Tony (I kissed Col Gaddafi) Blair for help. Surely this man of extraordinary hypocra... no sorry, negotiating talents could have kisse..., I mean talked, his way out of this....

  4. OK Munguin, you present a good argument for it, and I probably am not against it. I am as disturbed as the next man by the pictures of these poor people struggling to take their country back from that Blair loving monster. I want them to have help. But a dead or injured Yemen is as important to me as a dead or injured Libyan. It’s not just the hypocrisy of the leaders that bugs me. WE are all savvy enough to know that it is the life blood of politicians; but we have sent a message of hope to people in that region. Stand up for the democracy about which we preach endlessly, and the world community will help you.

    They are going to be mighty let down when they realise that our governments (all of them) care not a whit for their democracy; they care only about the flow of oil. And the message we are sending to the others is, we hated Gaddafi enough to do this, but we are not doing it to you, so we tacitly approve of your murderous regimes.

    Britain is a small country on the edge of Europe. It is broken; even the government admits that. It is also broke. If it were not surely the government would not be taking away essential services from the poorest people in society. Goodness, even the last government, supposedly a Labour government, doubled income tax rates on the very dirt poorest in the country to try to pay back the monumental debt crisis. The armed forces are being slashed (despite being involved in a 10 year old war), the infrastructure is falling to pieces (road and rail travel is third world), real inflation is at least 10% if not more, and just around the corner is a housing crisis... and Britain is taking a leading role in a war that could last for years... and in which we have yet again no plan after getting rid of the leader. In France there is a Presidential election in the relatively near future; Sarkozy is gambling on this being short and sweet and brining victories for the French. Cameron doesn’t have to worry about that; he has 4 more years. Why not France be the junior partner this time and spend some money on pot holes?

  5. tris

    seeing as a libyan when shot dead bleeds Oil at around £1.32 a litre and a yemeni bleeds stinking arab blood(not my personal opinion but def Cameron's) at about penny a gallon who's surprised
    Cameron and the others went for the libyan oil.

    And in the spirit of Camerons 'Big Society' and his love of democracy for the arab peoples.
    I hereby make this pledge.

    To join any 'Voluntary' military venture to save any free born peoples anywhere in the world
    as long as Cameron leads the other volunteers from the front and marches with us towards the sound of guns.

    we will of course rely on funding any and all military hardware and medical treatment etc
    from charitable donations refusing any Government funding what so ever.

  6. Cameron has hardly been hypocritical in this area

    He wants to ensure that the internal move toward democracy can continue in the Arab world.

    Munguin, one thing you need to remember is that Western intervention can be detrimental, so it has to be limited, targeted and supported by the Arab League. We cannot just agree to swan on in to any of the regional states 'to defend democracy'; we can only move where we have the regional support to do so.

    Besides, we have the capacity and capability to intervene in Libya easier than Yemen. Yemen has been a warzone for decades, I am surprised that only now are you lot suddenly aware of the deaths and violence in that country.

    Cameron has led the battle-cry for intervention with Arab support. I think he has handled this well, though not perfectly. Less of the politics of snipe and hinder, let us be appreciative that we have a leader willing and able to stand up for peoples lives; even when it will hit him in the domestic polls.

    After all - Libya intervention is hardly for the good of his popularity. All those echoes of past leaders and foreign policy debacles. It is a principled and statesmanlike stance.

  7. I don't approve of this move because, like Iraq, there are no 'future' plans. The rebels don't know what they want and aren't organised whatsoever, so when Gaddafi goes there's no sign of any democratic parties waiting in the wings. The in-fighting will possibly go on for years.

    Germany stood back yet is sending aid. Sensible move covering your back. We have politicians who insist we're the 4th biggest military in the world and want to show off. Sickening.

  8. Deano

    well crawled i am sure Cameron feels a tad uncomfortable with your head stuck up his arse(bit hard to sitdown)

    Cameron is a scuse ball not a statesmen he cares nothing for anybody he is a sociopath from way back.

  9. subrosa dos not approve well there you have it then game over for PR Dave I'm afraid

  10. MI6 gave Gaddafi’s son London minder: Questions over Labour ties with Libya after playboy Saif given 'point man'

    Fresh questions were raised last night about Labour’s close links with the Libyan regime after it emerged that Saif Gaddafi was given special assistance by MI6 while he was a student in London.

    Old bosses of yours Niko.

  11. Yes, I expect you are right Niko. A little over poetic in the delivery maybe, but right none-the-less.

    And as I said, I accept that part of foreign policy is looking after the interests of the islands... but I wish they wouldn't dress it up as some sort of moral cruisade.

  12. I hear what you are saying Dean, and of course I know that Yemen is a relatively lawless place, because it is tribal, and they all fight amongst themselves.

    But this is the government which is killing them, because they want rid of the president. Now that is the exact reason that Cameron gave for our involvement in Libya.

    If that is the reason for going in, it shouldn't make any difference whether there is oil or not. It shouldn't make any difference the distance. It didn't when Margaret went steaming off to the Falklands. We used aircraft carriers, (and the French have one) and we could use Egypt for this mission. I do accept that we would have to get Arab League agreement, and I have no idea whether that would be forthcoming.

    If this is a short sharp war then Cameron could well do well in the polls. Gaddafi is a roundly hated man (except by his kissing friend Blair of course). Most Brits will be happy to see him vanquished, and Cameron could enjoy the kind of war hero status accorded to the blessed Margaret and to major (a little) after the First Gulf War.

    If it drags on then he's in the same pot as Blair, although at least the action is legal.

    Where are the Foreign Secretary and the War minister? They’ve been quiet for a country at war.

  13. Funnily enough Subrosa, that is more or less exactly what I was saying this afternoon.

    If this is how it turns out, then Dave will have a real problem on his hands, and we can look forward to another round of austerity measures to pay for the damned thing.

  14. Yes Niko. If he's incurred the wrath of SR, he'd better watch his butt! :)

  15. Your link isn't working tris no url.

    Campaigner writes to Kate and William calling for King of Bahrain to be removed from wedding list

    Have they not invited Gaddafi as he is one of their family friends.

  16. Ha! one in the eye for CH Biff! Bang! Boff!

    bring it on May 2011

  17. I'm touched by your concern Niko but you missed off the bottom "Here lies Iain Gray the most inept leader that the Scottish branch has produced to date". What are the delivery terms as we can't trust the postal ones anymore.

  18. Furor,

    That is vile sentiments to hold.

  19. Dean: I've removed his/her comment. It's the second one he has made and the second one which has been removed... and unless he posts something less offensive I will continue to remove his odious comments. What an repugnant little mind he has.

  20. Sorry CH. I see that I had left out a space ....

    Basically the story from the Telegraph was about Andy and a Tory financier and Gaddafi.... and some cosying up.

    Must try harder...

  21. I see from you post over at Niko's place that even the Labour party doesn't want the dour little whiner as their leader.


  22. Good letter CH.

    I'll add my voice to the appeal that teh man be excluded, and that if he is invited that there should be demostrations against him.

    The letter from Graham Smith of "Republic" reads:

    "Dear Kate and William

    I am sure you were as appalled and disgusted as I was at the news that the King of Bahrain has crushed a peaceful pro-democracy rally with tanks and live ammunition, killing a number of protesters. So I have no doubt that you must have serious misgivings about the inclusion of the King on the invitation list for your wedding on April 29th.

    You will be aware that there are millions of people around the world who suffer oppression and tyranny on a daily basis. Many of these people look to countries such as Britain for inspiration and support in their struggle for freedom and democracy. As such surely we have a duty to support the oppressed and the democrats over the despots and oppressors. Clearly then it would send an appalling message to the world were any dictators of the Middle East - royal or otherwise - seen enjoying the hospitality of your family and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars and politicians at your wedding.

    I cannot imagine it would reflect well on you, your family or the monarchy were those vile men to remain on your guest list. More importantly it would seriously damage the reputation and image of Britain and would do harm to the wider cause of democracy and freedom. I am therefore asking you to ensure that the invitation to the King of Bahrain and to any other Middle Eastern despot be withdrawn immediately.

    While I oppose your right to inherit public office in this country and will do all I can to ensure the Queen's successor is elected, I wish you both well in married life and trust you will make the right decision on this occasion."

  23. Is it true that, because Cherry Blair is a staunch republican and doesn't want to go to the wedding, Mr Balir has asked Mr Gaddafi to accompany him as his uncivil partner?