MidEast tyrants get invites to royal wedding
The UK Foreign Office invites tyrants to the happy couple's wedding in another display of blatant double standards
The revelation last night that the Syrian ambassador to London, Dr Sami Khiyami, was originally invited to tomorrow’s British royal wedding, while former British prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have been excluded from the guest list, “borders on the grotesque,” said a number of British MPs.
Other former British prime ministers, including John Major and Margaret Thatcher, have been invited, as has David Cameron. (All surviving former prime ministers attended Prince Charles’s marriage to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.)
This morning, the invitation to the Syrian ambassador was finally withdrawn. However, the fact that he was invited at all is still a source of shame. St Andrews, the Scottish university where Prince William met his bride-to-be Kate Middleton, has received sizeable donations from the Syrian regime.
Seven more royal tyrants or their envoys from around the world are on tomorrow’s royal guest list despite their records of repression and torture. Among them are Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said of Oman, and Bahrain’s crown prince, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.
All three leaders have overseen the shooting dead of pro-democracy campaigners in their countries in recent weeks, and the Saudi leader has sent paramilitary units into neighbouring Bahrain to help round up and torture pro-democracy campaigners there.
Last week another Bahraini blogger was beaten to death in police custody. This morning four more democracy activists in Bahrain were sentenced to death.
(It seems that Bahrain’s crown prince is too busy overseeing the continuing repression at home to attend. This week he informed the British royal family that he doesn’t have time to go to the wedding.)
Other despots invited tomorrow include Sheikh Ahmad Hmoud Al-Sabah of Kuwait and the Emir of Qatar.
Meanwhile, one of the few countries in the world that the British Queen has refused to visit during her almost 60 year reign is Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy. Her royal advisers, including those at the Britain foreign office, have persuaded her not to.
You may wish to draw your own conclusions as to why they won’t let a British Monarch visit a Jewish country.
Tom Gross is the former Middle East correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph. This article is an updated version of a piece which ran today on his website: www.tomgrossmedia.com
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