Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another Blow to an Ethical Foreign Policy

The Labour government has continued to sell arms to regimes that continuously abuse human rights. They include countries like Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia. It is obvious why Saudi Arabia has received so much, it is a 'vital ally' in the Orwellian 'war on terror' and a key supplier of oil. It is less clear why Turkmenistan deserves our backing. This is a cruel, tyrannical regime (one I thought the benevolent west were supposed to be replacing with democracy) where opposition is illegal and the President holds a Stalin-like (or even Hussein-like) hold on his population. Is it possibly due to its vast gas reserves?? Or is it due to the fact it borders Iran and could be a useful ally in a future offensive?? Whatever, this is the very definition of a 'rogue state' and yet, it is a friend. Amnesty describes Turkmenistan thus:

'There has been a clampdown on dissent and religious freedom, creating related issues of concern including unfair trials, torture, ill-treatment and incommunicado detention of dozens of political prisoners. Family members have been targeted with actions including house evictions, confiscation of property and job losses. Most international human rights monitors and foreign journalists have been refused access to the country.'

Is 'President for Life' Saparmurat Niyazov really such a valuable friend to the West?? Is he really playing a part in spreading democracy?? Sadly, this is yet another example of western governments' hypocritical approach to foreign policy. This adherence to double standards is the very cause of the current anti-western sentiment. Until the source of the discontent is dealt with, this 'war on terror' will last for all eternity.