UK Killing Civilians for Oil Again in the King Salman Canal Project

By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee.

The UK government insists on continuing the massive supply – £2.8 billion since the start of the attack – of high tech weapons for Saudi Arabia to use against civilians in Yemen, despite opposition from the EU Parliament and every major human rights group. Furthermore UK special forces are operating inside Yemen in support of the onslaught. Thousands of civilians have died as a result, including many children.

Given this is not exactly popular in the UK, and that after the law takes its tortuous course there will very probably be embarrassment for the government down the line, the prize which Cameron perceives must be great. Of course, western elite support for the appalling Saudi regime is a given, because Saudi cash pumps primarily into banking, armaments and high end property, the three areas most dear to the interests of the 1%.

Yemen of course has very little oil of its own. But where the West gets involved in conflict, it is almost always at base either about oil resources (eg Kuwait, Libya, Syria, Iraq) or oil routes (eg Afghanistan, Georgia, Balkans). It turns out that Britain’s unflinching military support of Saudi Arabian aggression in Yemen is about oil routes.


Last year the Saudis announced a plan to drive a ship canal through Saudi desert, Oman and Yemen to the Gulf of Aden, bypassing the straits of Hormuz. This would reduce ship journeys by approximately 500 miles, and limit any potential physical threat to shipping from Iran. It is worth noting that Iran has stated it will not block the strait of Hormuz, and is a signatory to the UN Law of the Sea Convention which would make that illegal. Iranian control of the strait of Hormuz has long been the nightmare of the American right.

The canal project is moving forward in the Saudi governmental system and has now formally been assigned to the Ministry of Electricity, after an internal royal family wrangle as control of the mega project will obviously bring massive opportunities for self enrichment. It is now to be associated with the construction of nuclear power plants, which it is difficult to believe are unrelated to Saudi desire for nuclear weapons. It is to be called the King Salman canal.

Oman would probably welcome the canal, but Yemen is much more problematic. There would need to be a Yemeni government not only willing to agree, but both able and willing to enforce security on the canal. And given that the eastern Yemeni regions through which it would pass are predominantly Shia, this is a major problem for the Saudis. A problem that could only be resolved by taking effective military control of Yemen.

The United Kingdom is supporting yet another war for oil. But don’t worry about it, the corporate media is full of the Queen’s birthday! Stop thinking and shout hurrah!

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  • Southernfink

    I strongly doubt that this is done in order to save on fuel or travelling time.

    Building a canal for such a short distance appears to be a complete waste of resources — I imagine that once the canal is build it also creates the opportunity to block unwanted shipping in the straight.

    Stop funding war related projects that ensure the rich will get richer, people have a right to demand that taxpayers resources are invested on civilian projects.

    Defense forces should not be used for the benefit of the financial elite.

    • kimyo

      the canal may indeed have a military purpose, but for the saudis, the immediate matter at hand is this: Saudi groundwater “will run out in 13 years”

      from one of the links above, it appears that their plans are to build 10 nuclear plants and enough desalination capacity for both human consumption and agriculture.

      These plants will generate not less than 50 gigawatts of electricity in addition to desalinated water which will be supplied to residential districts and agricultural farms in the region.

      there are a few tiny flaws here and there, like, what are they going to do with the concentrated desal waste? how will they cool the nuclear cores if the canal h2o supply is interrupted by nature or terrorism?

      further, these plans confirm matthew simmons’ analysis. why bother building up a bunch of nuclear plants if you’re sitting on top of billions of barrels of oil?

      • Southernfink

        Since the saudi’s are expected to run out of ground water in 17 years time — The Yemeni’s — According to the information provided in the link — will run out before the Saudy’s as early as 2017 or late as 2027 Water scarcity in Yemen: the country’s forgotten conflict

        Even though it rains a quite lot in the UK, the annual rainfall isn’t something that’s currently fully utilized and exported, the tools of oppression such as weapons are another matter.

        In order to ensure a stable water supply, the Saudi’s are most likely to install desalination plants, the energy source for this will predictably be nuclear.

        The most environmentally friendly version would be one powered from solar panels, as opposed to nuclear.

        Take the Australian government f.e., they recently announced the decision to purchase 6 submarines for 180 Billion, for the same price tag the entire nation could make the switch to 100% renewable energies.

        Instead the budget allocated on defense ensures the opposite, now look around the world for that matter and I notice a similar scenario with many nations spending up many Billions of dollars that will end up enriching the 1 %.

        It’s becoming an all to familiar pattern.

  • Nexusfast123

    F–k me another pipeline/canal project that somehow justifies the trashing of a country and the killing of tens of thousands or people. Leaders in the West are truly degenerate.