Britain’s secret Saudi military support programme

by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis Published in The Daily Maverick, 27 September 2019   The UK’s Ministry of Defence has mistakenly admitted for the first time the cost of a secret multibillion-pound programme it manages for the Saudi Arabian royal family’s de facto protection force, which is also active in the devastating war in […]

Britain’s seven covert wars: An Explainer

By Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard Published in The Daily Maverick, 17 September 2019   The United Kingdom is fighting at least seven covert wars largely outside parliamentary or democratic oversight. The British government states that its policy on the covert wars it fights is “not to comment, and to dissuade others from commenting or […]

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 […]

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 […]

Will the US and UK seek a palace coup against Mohammed bin Salman?

by Mark Curtis published in Middle East Eye, 25 October 2018 As Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) comes under increasing pressure over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, policymakers in Washington and London have one overriding priority: to preserve the House of Saud, a military and economic ally in which they have invested so […]

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 […]

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 […]

Yemen: Declassified

Documents Yemen and Aden, 1962-5 (Mark Curtis files from the National Archives) Articles Mark Curtis, The covert war in Yemen, 1962-70 (Extract from Unpeople, 2004) ‘GCHQ documents raise fresh questions over UK complicity in US drone strikes’ (Guardian, 24 June 2015) ‘The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1968’ (Asher Orkaby, Harvard University,  2014) […]

UK General Election: What are the foreign policy implications?

by Mark Curtis Published in New Internationalist, 18 May 2017 The upcoming election has two key features. One is that voters have a genuine choice for the first time in a generation. But the other is that media disinformation backing current foreign policy and attacking Jeremy Corbyn is so great that the election cannot possibly […]

The UN: A brief history of the UK’s long opposition

By Mark Curtis An edited extract from Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses In the mainstream, the official view is that British governments provide enduring support to the United Nations. The opposite is true: it is clear from the historical record that the UN has traditionally been seen as a major threat. Britain’s ambassador to […]