Saudi Arabia & the West: the Future of a Toxic Relationship

The war in Yemen and the Khashoggi murder have highlighted the ruthless and brutal nature of the Saudi regime and the extent to which it has been supported over many years by the west. The need for petrodollars and access to the sovereign wealth of Saudi Arabia to ease western current account  deficits  has led to western connivance with the Saudi regime in its regional objectives in the Middle East generally and specifically in the Yemen, where western arms and military advisors are used by the Saudi regime to fight a war that is resulting in a humanitarian disaster.

David Wearing is a teaching fellow in International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London,  and has studied relations between the West  and Saudi Arabia over many years.  He has provided expert comment and analysis on numerous occasions for Sky News and BBC tv and radio, as well as writing regularly for outlets such as the Guardian, the Independent, CNN, New Humanist, the New Statesman, London Review of Books, openDemocracy and Le Monde Diplomatique. In September 2017 he published ‘AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters  to Britain’. He will look at the nature of the Saudi regime and its foreign policy under the Crown Prince and how far it will be possible for western policymakers to change, recalibrate and disentangle existing relationships which are so dependent on the flow of Saudi money to the west.   See all Guardian articles.  See David on Twitter.

1st April 2019

New Film & Panel Discussion – “WAR SCHOOL” – the Battle for the Hearts & Minds of Britain’s Children

Set against the backdrop of Remembrance Day, the controversial and challenging documentary War School reveals how, faced with unprecedented opposition to its wars, the British government is using a series of new and targeted strategies to promote support for the military.  Armed Forces Day, Uniform to Work Day, Camo Day, National Heroes Day – in the streets, on television, on the web, at sports events, in schools, advertising and fashion – the military presence in civilian life is on the march. The public and ever younger children are being groomed to collude in the increasing militarisation of UK society.  

Interweaving the powerful and moving testimonies of veterans of Britain’s unbroken century of wars with expert commentary, archive and a redolent score, War School’s mosaic of sound and imagery evokes the story of the child soldier who becomes a peace campaigner, challenging the myth of Britain’s benign role in world affairs and asking if perpetual war is really what we want for future generations? 

The film includes moving testimony by several members of Veterans for Peace UK, which is a voluntary ex-services organisation of men and women, who together have served in every war the UK has fought since World War 2.   The organisation states that “War is not the solution to the problems we face in the 21st century.”  Several members of VFP, who have appeared in the film, will join a panel with Mic Dixon after the film.

Mic Dixon has worked in the UK Film and Television Industry since 1979. Credits include – The Wave that Shook the World (C4 Bafta Nominated}; Syria Undercover (PBS Frontline – Emmy Winner); Pakistan After the Floods (C4 Unreported World – One World Media Award Winner); The Other War (C4 the truth behind Operation Desert Storm – United Nations Media Peace Prize); Gandolfi – Family Business (Sheffield International Doc. Festival featured film and BFI National Selection). 

Mic edited TV commercials until 1984. After a trip to the Soviet Union with a cultural delegation of independent filmmakers he then began working with POW Productions Ltd. and has focussed on films that challenge the mainstream media. As Producer/Director his feature documentaries include – A Tin Can with a Silencer – with John Pilger and Paul Foot – a film about the Media Workers Against the (Iraq) War; This is Our Music – from Punk to Ska in 3 days and A Minority Pastime – the reality behind the myths of Fox-Hunting, featuring Patrick Stewart. 

Mic is now a fulltime filmmaker and activist. Current projects include – Take Back the Duchy a film for Republic – the campaign for an alternative to the British Monarchy and The Road to Recovery a journey into, and out of, PTSD. 

18th March 2019