Britain must support Israel and Saudi Arabia to counter threat posed by Iran, Daniel Kawczynski MP argues

Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski wants a UK approach that helps to counter the malign influence of Iran across the Middle East.

Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski wants a UK approach that helps to counter the malign influence of Iran across the Middle East.

GB News
Daniel Kawczynski Mp

By Daniel Kawczynski Mp

Published: 21/01/2024

- 07:04

Conservative MP Daniel Kawzynski gives his thoughts on Britain's foreign policy as the threat to security grows

Eight years ago, in 2016, when I was on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, I was invited onto BBC Newsnight to explain why I supported the Saudi-led coalition of various Gulf States in their bombing campaign against the Houthis.

The Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah (supporters of God), are an armed group that control most parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, and some of the western and northern areas close to Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis emerged in the 1990s but rose to prominence in 2014, when the group rebelled against Yemen’s government, causing it to step down and sparking a crippling humanitarian crisis.

The BBC interviewer, James O’Brien, was so aggressive and confrontational towards me that the YouTube video received over 720,000 visits.

A problem with the BBC is that, in the name of scrutiny of politicians, they allow such interviewers to denigrate politicians who have the temerity of supporting our Gulf Allies, without explaining to viewers any of the complexity of the situation.

It is interesting, eight years on, to see how the Houthis have ramped up their terrorist activities by regularly attacking international vessels in the Red Sea. This action pressurised Britain, together with the USA, into engaging Houthi positions to try to prevent a major international shipping lane route from being closed off.

What the BBC does not appreciate, nor attempt to explain to its viewers, is that, whether it is the Houthis in Yemen or Hamas in Gaza, most of the problems in the Middle East currently stem from the actions of the mullahs in Tehran.

It is my opinion that, whilst the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is not perfect, it remains the best option to restore peace and stability in the region and protect Britain’s national interests and allies.

I was hosting a delegation of 12 members of the Saudi Shoura Council in House of Commons for dinner in 2011, when news came through that several Middle Eastern states troops had crossed the causeway into Bahrain, in support of the government, as Iranian funded and equipped extremists had tried to overthrow the King and government.

Iran had tried to mobilise the Shia community to overthrow the Sunni king and political establishment of Bahrain. Iran has also filled the void that Britain and its allies created with the second invasion of Iraq, and now use their connections across the border with the Shia community to try to control this country.

In addition, Iran props up the Assad regime in Syria and has sent large numbers of soldiers and military equipment in support of this brutal regime, and to gain access to Lebanon.

The Iranians continue to fund Hezbollah in Lebanon, on the border of Israeli, to fire rockets at Israel and to wait for an opportunity to attack.

The Iranians also fund and supply Hamas in Gaza Strip and, without this support, it is difficult to see how Hamas could have launched its large-scale invasion of Southern Israel in October 2023.

Iran has supplied the Houthi rebels with Scud missiles, which have been fired at Riyadh on many occasions, and its war with the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis has led to many civilian casualties.

When one looks at a map of these Iranian-backed countries, they all surround Saudi Arabia, and it seems beyond doubt that Iran’s long-term plan is to maintain a ‘noose’ around the Saudis, which it can tighten at appropriate moments, or, ultimately to use its influence in those countries to try to launch a full-scale attack on their arch-enemy, Saudi Arabia.

In addition, Iran has a well-know and often-stated intention to destroy Israel and wipe it from the map.

Unfortunately, Britain’s approach to the Middle East has long been haphazard and piecemeal, and we need to formulate and enact a long-term strategy that demonstrates our total, unswerving support for both Israel and Saudi Arabia, as both nations, in their own different ways, attempt to control and mitigate the growing, malign influence of Iran across the Middle East.

The Abraham Accords were a tremendous breakthrough for Israel and, perhaps, one of the reasons for the current war in Gaza is that Iran is using one of its surrogates to try to turn the world against Israel. This must not be allowed to happen, and we must always stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The fighting we are currently seeing in the Gaza Strip although devastating, is as nothing compared to what will happen in the Middle East if the Iranians continue to be given the green light to extend their highly irresponsible behaviour and to continue their policy of producing nuclear weapons.

We should, as ways, learn the lessons of history: Thatcher and Reagan rejected the policy of détente, a period of reduced tensions and increased cooperation between the US and the USSR in the 1970s: they rightly believed that the Soviet Union was exploiting détente to expand its influence and military capabilities, and that the West needed to adopt a more confrontational and assertive stance to contain and deter the Soviet threat.

More recently, we all have had Israel to thank for bombing and destroying the Osirak Nuclear Facility in Iraq in 1981, which had been supplied by France. If Israel had not taken that action, Saddam Hussein’s malign threat would have become even greater. The time has come for Britain to work with Israel, Saudi Arabia, the USA and other friendly Gulf States to take on Iran, to defeat its belligerent, expansionist agenda through financial sanctions and increased military expenditure and commitment, and, by such action, to make the Middle East a more stable, harmonious region.

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