Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Arming Repressive Dictators Is Wrong, Says Committee, Except When It Isn’t

The influential Arms Export Controls Committee of MPs today issued a scathing attack on Britain’s cynical exports policy of arming evil dictators who then get their faces all over the papers and make us look silly, and urged the government to take a firm hand in future and only issue export licences to countries ruled by evil dictators who have the decency to keep a low profile as far as the British media are concerned.

They highlight the awkward fact that, in 2010 alone, the UK exported arms - including tear gas, irritant ammunition, crowd control ammunition, small arms ammunition, night vision goggles, sub-machine guns and sniper rifles – to repressive regimes in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain who then proceeded to use them for their intended purpose while the world looked on.

This can have a devastating effect when deployed in front of a camera crew
“In future, the government must take care to only sell arms to thuggish states on the strict understanding that they will only deploy these top-quality weapons against their own people or their weak neighbours when the cameras are looking the other way,” explained committee chairman Sir John Stanley. “Our very good friends the Saud family have pretty impressive form in this department, because they have the good sense to implement punitive restrictions on what foreign correspondents can report. The same is true of the various unpronounceable former Soviet states tucked away in the back of beyond, and of course let’s not forget our selectively democratic chums in Israel, who have mastered the difficult trick of being viciously repressive without any need for a dictator to blame.”

When asked to justify his committee’s selective approach to morality, Sir John explained: “The yardstick that the government needs to apply is very simple: What are the chances that white British citizens might find themselves looking down the barrel of a British-manufactured weapon? This simple litmus test would immediately have ruled out the prime tourist destinations of Tunisia and Egypt, and Bahrain and Libya are very profitable bases for British companies.”

“On the other hand, who in their right mind would pick a fortnight in Saudi Arabia for their family holiday?” he pointed out with a smile. “And as for Kizzy-wizzy-stan and suchlike, I don’t think even Aeroflot are daft enough to go there direct from Heathrow. No chance of any embarrassing publicity from that quarter.”

“And boy, do they love Prince Andrew out there,” he added.

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