George Galloway and the Al-Yamamah Scandal

George Galloway gets suspended from the Commons even as the investigation into the Al-Yamamah deal (which may implicate the UK government in Saudi money laundering for terrorist cells: Simon Jenkins, “Who Exposed This Colossal Bribery? Why, the Feral Beast,” Guardian, 13 June 2007) gets scrapped.  Galloway notes: “The Serious Fraud Office investigation into BAe was suspended by the very same Attorney General who asked the Charity Commission to inquire into the Mariam Appeal” (“George Galloway’s Reaction to the Charity Commission Report into Mariam Appeal,” Socialist Worker, 8 June 2007).  As the Iraq War deepens the contradiction1 within the US-led multinational empire’s “strategy” (if you can call it that) towards Saudi Arabia, the most important strategic asset of the empire, those who seek to cover the contradiction must silence those who expose it (Galloway was one of the 35 Members of Parliament who signed onto an early day motion noting “with concern the continuing refusal of the Government to make public the 1992 National Audit Office Report into the role of the Ministry of Defence in the Al Yamamah sales”). — Ed.

1 According to the Los Angeles Times, “About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer.  Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said” (Ned Parker, “Saudis’ Role in Iraq Insurgency Outlined,” July 15, 2007).  At the same time, “The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to total $20 billion over the next decade” and “promising Israel $30.4 billion in military aid over the next decade, a significant increase over what Israel has received in the past 10 years” (David S. Cloud, “U.S. Set to Offer Huge Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia,” New York Times, 28 July 2007).  See, also, Glenn R. Simpson, “U.S. Tracks Saudi Bank Favored by Extremists; Officials Debated What to Do About Al Rajhi, Intelligence Files Show,” Wall Street Journal, 26 July 2007: A1.   Contrast that with Washington’s treatment of the Holy Land Foundation and the Martyrs Foundation and Goodwill Charitable Organization (Neil MacFarquhar, “As Muslim Group Goes on Trial, Other Charities Watch Warily,” New York Times, 17 July 2007, A14; “Bush Administration Moves against US Branches of Iran-based Charity,” Daily Star, 25 July 2007).  The contradiction is structural, rooted in the long-standing US Middle East policy, rather than an accidental one that is a result of factional conflict within the empire’s power elite.

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