Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt: On the Middle East, it makes no difference

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 25 June 2019 The contest to become the leader of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, and the country’s next prime minister, has failed so far to involve media scrutiny of the candidates’ views on British foreign policy. With the focus on Brexit and media attention on the personal life of Boris […]

What the latest secret government file tells us about UK Middle East policy

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 31 May 2019 The British government is refusing to release a 1941 file on Palestine, as it might “undermine the security” of Britain and its citizens. Why would a 78-year-old document be seen as so sensitive in 2019? One plausible reason is that it could embarrass the British government in […]

Britain and the Iranian Revolution: Expediency, arms and secret deals

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 31 January 2019 Forty years ago this month, the Iranian revolution sent a shockwave through the Middle East, overthrowing the Western client, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and bringing to power the Islamic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. While Iran now poses the biggest challenge to Western power […]

Why the UK must rethink its support for Saudi Arabia

Article published in Middle East Eye, 2 March 2018 by Mark Curtis Government policies are meant to promote the national interest but the upcoming visit to the UK of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman highlights something quite different – Whitehall’s pursuit of a special relationship that endangers the British public. Theresa May says the […]

Permanent Under Secretary’s Planning Committee, ‘Country assessment sheets’, 8 November 1974

“Country assessment sheet: Iran” “Iran is basically pro-Western and is rapidly approaching major economic and political status in the world”. Iran provided 19% of UK oil supplies in 1973. “In addition British oil companies earn substantial amounts of foreign exchange from oil obtained from Iran. BP have an arrangement whereby they can pick up 20% […]

Iran: Declassified

  These files on Iran highlight, among other things, the UK’s role in the 1953 coup and support for the Shah’s brutal ‘security’ service, Savak, in the 1960s and 70s. Also, recent secret collaboration with Israel over Iran. Documents 1953 coup ‘The Battle for Iran, 1953: Re-Release of CIA Internal History’ (National Security Archive, 2014) […]

Islamic Revolution in Iran: Cultivating, then Arming the Ayatollah

This is an edited extract from Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam Mark Curtis   The regime of the shah, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, in Iran, installed in the Anglo–American coup in 1953, was a key Western ally and ‘policeman’ in the Middle East. It sent forces to bolster the British-backed regime of Sultan Qaboos in […]

A Covert War in Bosnia

This is an edited extract from Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam Mark Curtis In March 1992 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia, provoking an attack on its capital, Sarajevo, by Bosnian Serb militias allied to the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade. The war that followed lasted for three years, killed […]

Iran 1953: Working with the Ayatollah

This is an edited extract from Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam Mark Curtis The story of the joint MI6/CIA coup in Iran in 1953, which deposed Prime Minister Musaddiq and installed the shah in power as absolute ruler, is well known. In most accounts the CIA is regarded as the prime mover behind […]

Britain’s Principal Global Economic Goals

An extract from Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses British planners’ economic goals are revealed with crystal clear clarity in the secret record. A July 1970 report entitled ‘Priorities in our foreign policy’, for example, notes that Britain needs ‘to act in support of our commercial and financial interests throughout the world’ and that: ‘We […]