This latest contribution to the remarkable record of post-World War II British foreign policy that Mark Curtis has been compiling presents often startling and deeply disturbing evidence about how, in an effort to preserve
declining influence in the world's oil-producing regions, the government has lent frequent and critical support to the states that have been the primary sponsors of radical Islam and the terrorism that it spawns, and even to the
groups that have emerged. Unearthing this largely hidden history is a contribution of the highest significance, and could hardly be more timely.
This valuable and important book by Mark Curtis, the result of painstaking and extensive research into declassified files on British policy towards the Islamic world over the last half century, presents a far more accurate and balanced picture than the shallow simplicities fed by Bush?s so-called war on terror.
It shows in extensive detail how Britain and the US have repeatedly sided with radical Islamic forces in the Middle East and elsewhere as counterweights to check the rise of nationalism, as shock troops to bring about pro-Western regime change, and as proxies to fight wars against the West?s enemies. There is no war between civilizations (Bush), no Manichaean struggle between the good and evil forces of Islam (Blair), rather the ever-present serpentine thread of shifting alliances to maintain British control of key energy resources and Britain?s place in a pro-Western global financial order centred on Saudi Arabia.
This is a fascinating account which can change outlooks and deepen comprehension of a hugely misunderstood drama, and it should be compelling reading before any further Middle East wars are set in train.(Michael Meacher, MP)