Thursday, 6 November 2014

ISIS, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and their 'Sovereign Wealth Funds'


The obvious horrors of Islamic State hardly need stating. Their genocidal attacks on the Kurdish, Yazidi and many fellow Arab Sunni people are well documented. The irony of British and other Western-born Muslims leaving Britain to brutalise the Iraqi and Syrian people with a well-armed and 'righteous' ideology should not be lost either.

The rapid spread of Islamic State could only have occurred with a high degree of funding and support from without. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have most often been named, with money for terrorism either coming from super-rich individuals or the governments themselves. We know that both countries channelled large funds into Islamist groups in Syria in the early stages of the war there and that the two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting the militant interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism as well as committing many human rights abuses in their own countries.

It would seem odd then that 'our' UK government, which considers Islamic State our enemy, considers Qatar and Saudi Arabia to be our 'closest friends' in the region. Of course, beneath all the talk of human rights, freedom and democracy, this is simply an economic arrangement. We sell them arms and they sell us oil as illustrated by the controversial Al-Yamamah arms deal. Incidentally, Islamic State is now a major oil supplier in its own right, exporting 9,000 barrels a day.

Knowing that one day the oil will dry up, both the Qatari and Saudi Arabian governments have been investing their wealth all around the world. This comes at the same time that the British government seeks to sell out all of its last remaining assets. The Qatar Investment Authority is now the largest shareholder in Sainsburys and owns 12.7% of Barclays and 17% of Volkswagen. It's this kind of financial clout that allowed them to buy off FIFA for the 2022 World Cup.

The globalised world we are living in is indeed and very complex and ruthless environment. Political self-determination is inextricably linked with and must come alongside economic self-determination. The economy of the global elite must be replaced by one that is local and based on need rather than greed. Crude anti-Islamic rhetoric and racism must give way, as must the simplistic idea that the Middle-East as a whole is a passive victim of entirely Western interests. The militants of ISIS must be condemned, as must the shadowy fat cats who fund them and so too the hypocrisy and interference of Western governments.

Solidarity from Autonomous England to Kurdistan and all peoples seeking self-determination!

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