David Cameron has announced that at least one billion pounds from UK taxpayers will go to fund the ‘reconstruction’ of Syria after it has been pummeled by British bombs. The lunacy of pledging to rob the public purse to repair the damage Cameron is so hell-bent on creating is breathtaking. That is until you examine who the plan makes sense for: Cameron’s much loved British companies.
On 26 November, Cameron made a statement on his proposals for bombing Syria to the House of Commons. In his statement he addressed the following:
The House is rightly also asking more questions about whether there will be a proper post conflict reconstruction effort to support a new Syrian government when it emerges, and Britain’s answer to that qusetion is absolutely yes. I can tell the House that Britain will be prepared to contribute at least another billion pounds for this task.
This is, of course, a direct insult to the British population, who have been forced to endure a crippling amount of cuts to public services in the name of ‘essential’ austerity. However, it is glaringly obvious by now that the Tory party’s austerity program is nothing more than an ideological instrument to re-order society.
Part of this ideology resides in bringing about a British business boom, and Cameron is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens. It is why corporation tax has been consistently lowered by his government – leading to companies loving these little isles as they pay next to nothing to trade here.
It’s also why Cameron sees opportunity in the tragedy of Syria. For all his fire and brimstone talk of destroying jihadi “monsters”, he is counting on benefits for the British contractors carrying out the extensive work necessary to rebuild Syria after RAF bombers, and those of numerous other countries, have decimated it.
There is a precedent for this: the Iraq war. Multiple companies profited from the illegal invasion of Iraq, many of them British. An article in Business Pundit details the most vicious of these profiteers, here’s a selection of the UK’s beneficiaries:
A security and risk management company who landed a £250 million contract to coordinate all of Iraq’s private security operations, which led to them being rejected for membership of trade organisation International Peace Operations Association.
The bank bought a 70% controlling stake in Dar es Salaam Investment Bank, which had gathered $91 million worth of assets by 2008. Daesh (ISIS) is already known to have seized control of banks in the areas they maintain, which would open up a lucrative opportunity for western banks should they be defeated.
A London-based private security company who landed a $90 million contract to secure Iraq’s oil fields. Daesh has huge reserves of oil that power it financially, and which would need protecting once wrestled from its control.
Not a UK-based company, but it was acquired by BAE Systems in 2007 – a subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, based in the UK. Armor Holdings provided military and personnel safety equipment for the Iraq war, and saw its profits increase by over 2,000% between 2001 and 2008.
Aside from the businesses set to reap the benefits of a Syria in ashes, there are those who will benefit from creating those ashes – namely defence companies. BAE Systems is one of the military manufacturers that will see a rise in profits from any decision to continue along the western warpath. In fact, BAE announced this year that its profits were up £500 million in 2013, having gained contracts worth over £10bn from the US and UK governments for three consecutive years, according to the BBC.
That corporate behemoths like BAE Systems benefit from the ‘war on terror’ is no accident, and it’s a result Cameron is banking on. As investigative reporter James Risen lays out so well in his book Pay Any Price, many have recognised the opportunities this never-ending war has created, both in the battles abroad, and the enhanced security measures we find on our own doorsteps:
As trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror.
The first step in tackling this, is to recognise it. If we face the true motivation of our government’s actions, we are able to challenge it.
Cameron’s claims about why he wants to bomb Syria have already been widely debunked, even by members of his own party. His position on who he is doing it for should also be challenged. It is not the Syrian people. They will undoubtedly suffer from further bombing. It is not UK citizens, who will see the threat of terrorism at home further increase. Is it these giant industries, with their lobbyists and political donations, that Cameron actually holds closest to his heart?