(Originally posted on my old blog at the link. The full text though can be found below the link. https://ukileft.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/theresa-may-asked-5-times-to-condemn-saudi-arabia/?preview=true )
Theresa May was in fact asked just once. She wasn’t even asked to condemn Saudi Arabia, just instead asked a generic question on why we supply arms to them. The first answer she gave was accepted. (You can read of one of her recent responses to the question of Saudi Arabia here)
Contrast this to Jeremy Corbyn who on Sunday was asked to condemn the IRA on the Sophie Ridge show on Sky News. He was asked 5 times to condemn the IRA. The answer he gave was a cerebral, intelligent one but the likely highly paid journalist couldn’t seem to grasp the answer, instead looking for a headline to give credence to her Sunday morning TV slot and sure enough it became headline news across all the major news networks and on anticipation will have likely made the front pages of some if not all of the right wing print media today.
If you’re for Jeremy Corbyn you may wish to share this with anyone asking the question “Why does Jeremy Corbyn support the IRA?” If you’re against Jeremy Corbyn you may wish to read what follows to get a better understanding of his stance before you go believing everything you read and hear.
Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the question “Do you condemn the IRA?” was thus;
“I condemn the bombings” and when pushed again and again went on to say ‘I condemn all bombings and violence’
The very fact that his answer was not accepted five times was for the simple reason that Sophie Ridge wanted to hear Corbyn say ‘I condemn the IRA’ no matter the nuanced point he was making because asking the same emotive question again and again without getting the response you want makes a good headline.
The question some will have is ‘why doesn’t Jeremy just condemn the IRA?’
Here’s the thing. You can absolutely, quite legitimately hate what the IRA did and how they conducted their campaign but their claim for a unified Ireland was a justified one and they represented whole communities within Ireland. To condemn the IRA as an entity implies you are for the loyalists in Northern Ireland and you would be picking a side.
He unequivocally condemned the bombings, he does not support war and violence and did not support the IRA’s use of those tactics. It is this kind of understanding about grievances that makes the likes of Jeremy Corbyn incredibly suitable for leading the UK in international affairs. If anything it is the attitude of the UK at the time that helped prolong the violence on our shores. Our inability to listen to the other side for many years led to the deaths of countless people. Indeed, only the IRA can be blamed for the deaths of innocent people but when you’re trying to find a solution to conflict you must be willing to engage with the other side on a certain level. That is strong leadership rather than a reactionary one which seems to be always be courted by Conservative governments.
It’s also worth remembering the atrocities committed by the British Army and the treatment of the Irish in a time when they were seen as lesser people than in Northern Ireland.
The IRA were supported in Ireland for their cause of unifying Ireland away from the UK, it was a legitimate claim and still is. No less than Scotland asking for independence. These are all the reasons Corbyn won’t outright condemn the IRA but will condemn their tactics. To condemn the IRA might be seen to condone the loyalists and condemning or condoning either side may have been, or may be, a dangerous stance to take.
It needs to be asked why Theresa May and the Conservatives don’t get a hard time over Saudi Arabia. The troubles in Ireland ended quite some years ago now yet Saudi Arabia is in the here-and-now.
Saudi Arabia bombs, often indiscriminately, children and adults in Yemen in a war that once again is a war over regime change, one that is backed by the West. Saudi Arabia have used old banned bombs supplied by the UK, they have bombed civilian water supplies and then when the rebels in Yemen respond by taking pot shots at Saudi Arabia the UK respond officially by stating that Saudi Arabia “has a right to defend itself” in response to Saudi Arabia throwing all its UK and American weaponary at the rebels in response. Add to this that Saudi Arabia is well known for being an epicentre of Middle Eastern terrorism and has a terrible human rights record and you have to begin to think that by comparison the IRA were lightweights. How can you argue any different?
Of course the response will be that Saudi Arabia isn’t bombing mainland UK. Of course, but what that says is that you’re ok with our hand in what Saudi Arabia is doing as we sell them multi million pound contracts in arms in exchange for alleged security information. You can not possibly condemn Jeremy Corbyn for taking a neutral stance on one issue and yet not condemn Theresa May for taking a biased corrupt stance towards the corrupt and human rights breaching Saudi Arabia. It’s two faced and a blot on the reputation of our nation and it’s a scandal.
It seems Thersea May can’t see the irony of talking of humanitarian aid when the weapons that the UK sells to Saudi Arabia are the cause of the need to supply humanitarian aid in the first place.
‘Asked about alleged human rights abuses by the country, Mrs May said it was an issue she would bring up and pledged Britain would continue supporting the people of Yemen through humanitarian aid.’
Source – ITV
Yet the media seem to by-pass this issue. It’s a conundrum of epic proportions.
You have to remember also that the centre ground Tony Blair government and the right wing Conservative governments have all had similar international policies when it comes to conflict and especially the Middle East. There is no question that the fall of Saddam Hussein led to the destabilisation of the entire Middle East and is still felt today in Syria and with ISIS. The very fact we have Extreme Islamic terrorists within Europe can be traced back to successive foreign policies that interfere with the delicate balance that is within the Middle East.
So instead of asking why Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t condemn the IRA why aren’t you asking Theresa May why she doesn’t condemn Saudi Arabia and instead of insisting that Jeremy Corbyn is not strong on defence why aren’t you asking Thersea May why she insists on conducting a foreign policy that proliferates international terrorism, the very same terrorism that affect us today, not 20-30 years ago.