Here’s evidence of the ‘seven covert wars’ the UK’s fighting right now

UK Troops in Afghanistan 2010
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Many people in Britain live under the illusion that war happens ‘out there’ and only involves other countries across the globe. But as new evidence from journalists Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard demonstrates, this isn’t true. The UK’s currently engaged in “seven covert wars”. And our government also continues to profit from these wars.

“Zero parliamentary or public oversight”

Curtis and Kennard’s article in the Daily Maverick reveals that UK special forces (UKSF) are currently engaged in conflict in: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Yet the nature of UKSF operations means that our “political system enables ministers to conduct secret wars in our name with zero parliamentary or public oversight”. 

As the authors explain:

The British government states that its policy on the covert wars it fights is “not to comment, and to dissuade others from commenting or speculating, about the operational activities of special forces because of the security implications”.

Added to this, the UK’s Freedom of Information Act gives “absolute exemption” to UKSF activities. So this makes it virtually impossible for anyone to question or “scrutinise policy”. And if any information is leaked to the establishment media, there’s another layer of control in place.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) DSMA committee works:

to prevent material deemed damaging to the national security interest from being published in the media.

Read on...

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So any leaks that do emerge, must first be “approved” and “sanctioned” by the DSMA committee. As the article also shows, these covert wars often take place “alongside MI6”:

But another crucial factor is that in most of the seven countries named, the UK government also profits from selling arms to parties leading those same wars. Since 2008, UK arms export licences totalled £44bn.


Saudi Arabia has been leading an assault on Yemen since 2015. The situation’s now the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. According to Curtis and Kennard:

British special forces have been secretly working in Yemen since at least 2016, while the UK’s Ministry of Defence has been covertly supporting the Saudi air campaign in the country.

In 2016, the government stated:

There are no UK Armed Forces personnel based in Yemen.

But as this article demonstrates that simply isn’t true. It notes that a 2016 report from Vice News:

based on interviews with UK officials revealed that British special forces were in Yemen. They were, in fact, seconded to MI6, which was training Yemeni troops fighting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Curtis and Kennard detail all the evidence of further involvement of UK forces in Yemen. But UK arms exports also prop up this same war. Arms exports to Saudi Arabia are currently on hold. Yet Liz Truss has since admitted the government broke the law. It shipped £261,450 worth of equipment to Saudi Arabia despite this ruling.

And the UK government recently invited delegates from state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) to the world’s largest arms fair – Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI).


In July, a UN report found that:

more civilians were killed by Afghan and international coalition forces in Afghanistan in the first half of this year than by the Taliban and other militants

As the article shows, UKSF play a role in this:

By 2018, the SAS was reportedly fighting almost every day in Afghanistan, usually in support of Afghan commandos leading the battle against the Taliban.

It states that by mid-2019 there were still about 1,000 UK troops in Afghanistan. And, yet again, there’s further profit here for the UK government. Since 2016, UK arms exports to Afghanistan totalled over £42m.

Money, money, money

Curtis and Kennard paint a harrowing picture of the true extent of UK involvement in so many global conflicts. And in too many of these, it’s impossible to ignore the UK’s integral role in the current crises.

For example. chaos followed the NATO bombing campaign of Libya in 2011. David Cameron was instrumental in a military assault that left the country both splintered and a perfect playground for terrorists. But not only did the UK play a leading role in the bombing campaign, it also facilitated unrest in the country while Muammar Gaddafi was in power.

Similarly, the illegal invasion of Iraq caused huge devastation. It also helped unleash a wave of terror around the world that we still see today.

As Curtis noted, taxpayers pay for UKSF:

And yet our government still profits from death.

As Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) notes, since 2016, UK arms deals totalled:

Curtis and Kennard’s research is meticulous. The UK is involved in covert wars. Our government doesn’t want us to know this. Neither does it want us to know how much it rakes in from global arms deals. We can’t ignore these facts.

Featured image via Flickr – ResoluteSupportMedia

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  • Show Comments
    1. Isn’t it sad that warfare (which is after all an amalgamation of the very worst human traits) is so revered in our World, so hallowed and sacred, that not even belief in ‘The Divine’ and the laws contained there, are enough to quench or prevent it?

      Secular and religious laws have for centuries told us that we should live in peace with each other, that murder, theft, bearing false witness, genocide, and so many other vile traits are not compatible with survivable civilization, and yet, if we ‘The People’ so much as bend those laws, we are rapidly punished for it.

      What is this hypocrisy, that for so long has been allowed to contradict every form and measure of decent, wise, and time-proven law? Why is it that warfare (in all of its forms) are the things that may not be questioned or challenged, even in a Democracy?

      No matter how effective the technology of war has become, citizens are always the losers. It doesn’t matter how a country is ruled, it is the citizens, who despite not wanting war, are the ones who have to pay, not only the financial price of war, but the physical price of war.

      Warfare is rarely (if ever) about helping the innocent, it is state-sanctioned terrorism for the purposes of power derived from theft, and murder. The ‘things’ that are fought for in warfare are apparently far more valuable than any amount of human life.

      If you are decent human being, you don’t enshrine murder and theft (in any form) into your psyche.

      If we are a decent Nation, the only justifiable reason for having a military is to protect the home-land (not interests abroad) from invasion, so The Battle of Britain was an example of a true and justified home-land defence, the Invasion of Iraq (and so many more) was an example of murder-for-profit.

      Blair and Bush (among a huge list of notable examples), are mass-murderers and thieves, the fact that they used our respective military forces to achieve that is no less of a crime than a citizen strangling, stabbing, shooting, burning, drowning, eviscerating, crushing or doing a whole host of unpleasant things to another.

      We must stop putting murderers and thieves into power, yet we still talk in terms of needing leaders who are ‘strong’, which is a euphemism for ‘ready to murder at scale without question’. We must remove the laws that protect those murderers and thieves, and we all need to have a long look in the mirror and ask ourselves how much do each of us contribute to the death, torture and destruction, by the choices we make every day.

      We all know that politics and business is packed to the gunnels with deceit, yet in all areas of our lives at times, we still give respect, praise and power to those who simply do not deserve it., and with forced encouragement from a corrupted MSM, are blindly led to accept warfare as a necessary thing, rather than the truth that it holds us back as a species, and threatens the existence of everything.

    2. Good journalistic sleuthing here by Frea Lockley. One can raise the question “are these 7 wars a means to raise Profit for BAE, and the arms manufacturers?”
      In other words the whole idea of war now has nothing to do with protecting anyone. but profits.?
      Once a war has begun the reasons for it never comes up for a democratic review?
      Its been proven the reasons for the war in Iraq by George Junior were utter lies, so one can truly say now in our short life of experience there is nothing moral about wars at all. Any human pretension in saying otherwise is by someone who cares nothing for you or I, or learned in a spirtual historical sense as discussed by Shaolin 12 above.
      The Opium wars by the British in China shows this aspect of the rogue very well, and is nothing new.

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