Some Doh! moments around the Foreign Office this week as certain officials realise Ã‚Â the consequences of previous actions.
Over the last few years there have been increasing ‘partnerships’ between the British Police & various Arab nations. The National Policing Improvement Agency have arranged for various forces to have contacts in the Middle East by which officers from here & there visit each other, largely for the purposes of us passing on our expertise to them.
We’ve been involved in training the police in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Libya & Qatar. We have provided tear gas, firearms & ammunition & in a superb twist of irony, given that we do not allow our own force to use water cannon lest it upset the civil rights evangelists, we have exported vehicles equipped with water cannons to Libya.
Now we’re finding out just what all that equipment we happily sold is actually intended for as the police & military of the Middle East gun down protestors armed with no more than a loud voice.
I heard some talking head or other from the government calling for a limit on the use of this equipment & expressing mild disillusionment that it was being used. Someone will probably write a letter, or something. Now we hear calls for Britain to cease sending tear gas & related items to the Middle East.
Call me old fashioned but given that there is only one use for tear gas, one wonders what the person who signed the export licence thought they might want to actually use it for?