On Saturday, the British Queen Elizabeth granted the former Prime Minister Tony Blair the Order of the Grater, the highest order of knighthood in Britain. Granting the order to a man who during his premiership joined the US in invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq after the 9/11 attacks has stirred public anger, with a petition calling to rescind the reward getting past 600000 signatures.
The September 11, 2001 attacks on the US were an excuse for Western countries to authorize their military presence in West Asia. The timeís US President George W. Bush, in his speech after the attacks called them an attack on freedom that needs to be defended. The White House launched a military offensive in Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting terrorism. At the time, Britain and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, as the American ally, said that Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were enemies of the West. London sided with Washington and supported it in Afghanistan and Iraq invasions.
Now, years after these fruitless campaigns and the revelation of various aspects of the war crimes of the British military in Iraq and Afghanistan, the award was given to Blair, who served as the PM from 1997 to 2007. In addition to Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, he has in his record the Kosovo and Sierra Leone wars. The honoring of the ex-PM is seen as a ridiculing of regional nations who suffered from impacts of Londonís destabilizing colonialist policies.
With the US decision to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 under Operation Enduring Freedom, Britain pledged to go shoulder to shoulder with the Americans in the so-called fight against terrorism. Despite domestic and international opposition to the campaign, the British government in the same year sent a letter to the UN secretary-general seeking to justify its alliance with the US and accusing Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda of being capable of carrying out terrorist attacks on the US and its allies.
MI5 chief Ken McCallumís in September 2021 and during an interview with the BBC said: "The terrorist threat to the UK, I am sorry to say, is a real and enduring thing. While the recent plots have been mainly Islamist extremist thereís also been a growing number of attack plots from extremist right wing terrorists." This means that Britain not only failed to meet its goal of deterring terrorist threats but also it is now threatened from within.
In addition, the British involvement in the invasion of Afghanistan and its support for US actions, led Britain to spend £28 billion ($37.9 billion), which is three times more than the costs of Iraq invasion. However, despite the 20-year presence of the US and Britain in Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting terrorism and the Taliban, spending a lot of money and equipment, killing people and destroying infrastructure in the Central Asian country, they ultimately failed to achieve their goals and their departure paved the way for the re-emergence of the Taliban, a 20-year setback for the Washington and its Western allies.
In the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Britain again participated in the war on the pretext of Saddam weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), despite opposition from the Security Council. In the war, which lasted until 2009, Britain presence created instability and turned Iraq into a bankrupt country, killed over 150,000 Iraqis, and displaced over 1 million, most of whom civilians.
In a report released by the chairman of the Iraq Inquiry John Chilcot about the British role in the 2003 war, it is pointed that London chose involvement in anti-Iraqi war over peaceful options and the diplomatic actions about Iraq were placed on flawed intelligence and assessments. Referring to the lack of adequate justification for the British officials under Blair about the the so-called Iraqi WMDs, Chilcot reported that the information about Saddam Hussein continuing to produce chemical and biological weapons were incorrect and the British plan for post-Saddam Iraq was insufficient and the government failed to implement the plans it had designed. That is not all of the British destructive role in the region. In addition to a Hillary Clinton admission that Washington created ISIS terrorist group, Blair disclosed the British assistance to the US in this creation.
Britainís direct involvement in regional crises
In addition to the direct British military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, in recent years the country has provided military, financial, and advisory support to countries seeking to disrupt security in the region. For example, after the Saudi-led Arab coalition invaded Yemen in 2015 under the ruse of supporting the ousted government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, some Western countries began selling weapons as well as military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Britain provided the Arab kingdom with Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets. Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles and Brimstone bombs were also supplied to Riyadh by London. BAE Systems, Britainís largest weapons maker, sold worth of £15 billion ($20.2 billion) weapons, equipment, and training services to Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2020.
Yemeni officials have repeatedly denounced Londonís involvement in the anti- Yemeni atrocity. Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council, referring to the British governmentís role in supporting Saudi Arabia, said: "They are involved with the Saudis in bombing the Yemeni people." Oxfam, as a human rights organization, has accused the British government of prolonging Yemen war by selling air refueling equipment that could be used to assist the Saudi air force in its indiscriminate bombing operations in Yemen.
"While the US has called for an end to the conflict in Yemen, Britain is moving in the opposite direction, increasing sales of weapons and air refueling equipment that facilitate air strikes in the brutal war led by Saudi Arabia," said Oxfam chief. Thus, Britain, along with its Western allies and Saudi Arabia, has been involved in killing of 250,000 Yemenis, as well as destroying thousands of homes, infrastructure, and creating the biggest humanitarian crisis and famine in Yemen.
The British actions related to Palestine do not just involve its effective contribution to establishment of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian soil but also financial and equipment assistance to the Israeli regime. There is a very power pro-Israeli lobby in the British parliament, dubbed Conservative Friends of Israel, affiliated with the Conservative Party. As part of service to Israel, Britain has announced that it will label Gaza-based Hamas resistant movement as a terrorist group in order to "protect the Jewish community."
In addition, the country has sold arms to Israeli army over the years and entered into numerous military agreements, many of which are used against the Palestinians or the Axis of Resistance, a regional bloc struggling against Western overbearing and colonialist policies. The Britain-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in a 2019 report on the British arms sales to the Israeli regime held that since March 18, 2018 and with the start of Gaza border protests, London provided Tel Aviv with assault rifle spare parts, military radar equipment, missile technology, and night vision gears. The British defense ministry in its new military strategy, unveiled in March 2021, emphasized that the British military officials should work towards deepening bilateral cooperation with the Israelis by offering offensive training, conducting joint military exercises, signing military contracts, and engaging in intelligence and spying cooperation."
As a conclusion, since the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the US, which sought to save its position in West Asia, Britain joined the American, Israeli, and Saudi wars as part of an approach to redefine its foreign policy to make it suit presence in West Asian equations. This policy is pursued at the expense of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine where destructive outcomes of this policy are noticeable.