How the West’s war in Libya has spurred terrorism in 14 countries

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 3 May 2019 Eight years on from Nato’s war in Libya in 2011, as the country enters a new phase in its conflict, I have taken stock of the number of countries to which terrorism has spread as a direct product of that war. The number is at […]

British foreign policy in the Middle East: A secret history of self interest

By Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 27 March 2019 On Tuesday in the British parliament, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry asked an urgent question relating to allegations that British troops have been covertly fighting in Yemen and supporting the Saudi-led coalition. As reported in the Mail on Sunday, five British special forces troops from the elite Special Boat […]

UK favours extremism over democracy in Syria

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 22 July 2018 How does a British government respond when an allied state invades another territory with the backing of jihadists, overthrows a democratic experiment and consolidates an occupation? Judging by what Turkey is doing in the Afrin district of northern Syria, the answer is: by supporting […]

Murder on the beach: British-backed wars helped create Tunisian killer

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 3 July 2018   Three years ago on 26 June, a 23-year-old Tunisian armed with a machine gun mowed down 38 tourists at a beach hotel in the resort of Port El Kantaoui. Thirty British tourists were among the dead in the worst attack on Britons since […]

Are British ministers consistently misleading parliament on their Middle East policy?

By Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 17 May 2018   Two British ministers have recently been forced to resign for misleading parliament. Last month, Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned, saying she had mistakenly misled parliament over whether her department had targets for deporting illegal immigrants. Last December, Damian Green, who was effectively Theresa […]

How Britain engaged in a covert operation to overthrow Assad

by Mark Curtis Published in Middle East Eye, 25 April 2018 Some commentators in the British mainstream media believe the UK has “done nothing” in the war in Syria and lament the failure to help stop it. In fact, Britain has engaged in a covert operation with allies to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad for more than […]

When it comes to Middle East policy, the UK is nothing but a rogue state

Published in Middle East Eye, 6 April 2018 by Mark Curtis In the current crisis with Moscow, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has written that “Russia cannot break international rules with impunity”. Britain, along with Russia, has a particular obligation to uphold international law since it is one of the five permanent members of the […]

Syria: Declassified

Articles 1957 coup planning Mark Curtis, British plans to overthrow the Syrian government, 1956-7  (Extract from Secret Affairs, 2012) ‘Macmillan backed Syria assassination plot’ (Guardian, 27 September 2003) Other ‘Secret UK Papers on Afghanistan Reveal Parallels With Syria War Tactics’ (Sputnik News, 24 August 2016) ‘Scheming spies leave paper trail’ (Guardian, 27 September 2003) ‘Jordan asked Nixon […]

The UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund: Diverting Aid and Undermining Human Rights

Report for Global Justice Now (December 2017) The UK government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) raises all kinds of questions about the future of UK aid, the nature of the UK’s relations with states abusing human rights and the government’s openness with the public. Established in 2015, the CSSF is a £1 billion annual […]

Update: A London attacker’s links to UK covert operations in Syria and Libya

Evidence suggests that one of the London attackers, Rachid Redouane, was in effect part of the broad UK-backed covert strategy to oust Syria’s Assad, following his similar role in Libya in 2011. It is also possible that Redouane could have been trained by Qatari special forces in Libya in 2011, as part of a broad […]