Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labour's Suez Moment

As the story of nods and winks behind the release of the Lockerbie bomber come out, this looks like Labour's Suez moment.

In 1956, the Protocol of Sèvres was a secret understanding between the UK, France and Israel to choreograph events so that the two European countries could intervene in the Suez Canal zone.

Like the Lockerbie release, there was always a grim pragmatism behind the policy. While today it is helping Libya join the rest of the world and win big trade contracts for the UK. Then, the realpolitik aim was to secure the canal zone for oil imports and stop the march of dictat nationalisations of European assets in the newly independent countries of the world.

The American government was not consulted about either action. It pulled the plug on the Suez gamble. It remains to be seen what will happen about Libya.

Richard Normington

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