The Greater Middle East Reacts to British Exit from EU

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The oil-rich Gulf Cooperation countries may see additional buying opportunities in the British market after Brexit. BBC Monitoring reports:

“Political analyst for regional issues and Gulf Cooperation Council Hamad Ahmad Abdul Aziz al-Amer says in Saudi pro-government Ukaz that the Britain’s leaving the EU “might lead to successful talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council to reach distinctive partnership as the dropping of the British sterling will lead to increasing Gulf investments in Britain . . .”

In general, former British colonies often feel they have a special opportunity for trade and investment with the UK, with which EU commitments sometimes interfered. They now hope to step in to fill the vacuum left by UK departure from the EU.

A senior aide to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that Brexit offered Iran “a historic opportunity.” Countries that had been informally colonized by the UK are afraid of European power, and anything that weakens the former is seen as a great good thing.

Meanwhile Turkey seems to be offering itself to the European Union as a substitute for the UK. Turkey’s officials said that they hoped the EU would now become more inclusive. Turkey has been in a queue for EU membership since the late 1990s, .

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

TRT World: ” Turkey’s EU minister Omer Celik addresses Brexit”

11 Responses

  1. As a South Carolinian, known for our relentless fascination with the civil war, I would be interested in hearing a person or persons with knowledge of US history compare the similarities, or not, of the south’s decision to leave the US union and the Brexit vote to leave the European Union. It appears that race, religion and economics played into both decisions.

    • South Carolina and the South seceded from the Union primarily over the question of whether or not slavery was to be extended into the territories and new states. It was over slavery, not race as we understand the issue, and slavery has nothing to do with Britain today. Secondly, the United States was a unified nation-state when the South seceded. Britain and all other members of the EU are separate, unified nation-states who voluntarily formed the EU as an organization, not as a unified nation-state. I see little similarity between the two events.

  2. Back in the days of the Reagan/Volcker interest rate shock therapy, the British pound briefly traded at par with the US dollar. That was my first and last visit to the UK. It was pure serendipity and not a shopping trip, as the furious little bureaucrat in Gatwick’s passport control assumed. But my god, the prices! Big London bookshops shelved everything by publisher, and I wanted to buy every book in Heinemann’s African Writers Series. Unfortunately, I had only $200 and no credit card.

    I’m sure those former British colonies often feel they should or would have special opportunities but for the EU queering their pitch. But this one looks to me like a good old-fashioned currency devaluation fire sale. Got a pocket full of Yankee dollars? Time for a London shopping trip!

  3. The ‘former British colonies’ largely make up the Commonwealth which was a ready made template for a future of peace, trade, and relative tranquillity, but alas beyond the comprehension of the post war Labour government. So it was put on the shelf to gather dust. It still exists, 53 countries with 2.2 billion citizens in peaceful and voluntary non-political association link to thecommonwealth.org and if there was such a thing as leadership left in the land it could still be infused with new vitality. The EU is a con trick that usurped the immemorial idea of being European and used appeals of Peace and trade to impose its distant, Kafkaesque authority on 500 million innocents. Most Brexit supporters don’t think of it that way, but they sensed that it just isn’t ‘right’. All the motives the media and talking heads propound are simply different illusions seen in the same dark cloud.

    • Except the 53 countries with 2.2 billion citizens are hardly clamouring for more British leadership. In India, famines were regular occurences and the brutality of the suppression of the MauMau rebellion is still remembered. Face it, your empire is history.

  4. Well, not so fast on Turkey. The great Islamic Democrat Tayyip Erdogan has suggested a vote on a Trexit from application. That was reported by HDN in its Thursday issue.
    The question, you may bet, would be, “Should I stay or should I go?”
    It will not include the question, “Should I democratize so that the candidacy might progress.”
    The idea that Turkey will be a desirable alternative after it returned yet another progress report unopened is the sort of thing that thinking people cannot take seriously.

  5. Brexit is real, Trump is fake. That’s the difference between British and American democracy. Clinton will be the next president of the U.S., from which aerie she will be able to widely contemplate the chaos that she and the other “hawks” have wrought across the Greater Middle East region and beyond, and which for some time now has erosively been spilling, nay flooding over the EU, Russia, even into China. The disintegration of the Middle East nation state is both inversely and perversely reflected in the imperiled condition of the supranational European state, with the UK’s defection from the latter being a most astonishing example of a perfect circularity of consequences: The Bushite-Blairite grand plan to transform (i.e. destabilize) and refashion the Middle East nation state in the image of an ‘enlightened’ neoliberal post- and supranational order may ultimately prove to be the concept that as praxis seeded the whirlwind that set in motion the collapse of the neoliberal pro-Nato EU suprastate edifice itself.

  6. I think there is a direct link between the Greater Middle East and Brexit.

    One of the major reasons Britons voted out was because of fear of migration, especially non-European and Muslim migrants. What has caused this sentiment to swell is the mass movement of refugees into Europe, particularly from Syria. And of course the root cause of this migration is the continuing chaos in the Greater Middle East. NATO have been aggressively meddling in this area for decades by supplying arms or through direct military action – Iraq, Syria and Libya in particular.

    Actions have consequences and these may take decades to come to fruition. The actions beginning with the Iraq invasion are starting to break up post WW2 Europe and the Western Alliance.

    • “One of the major reasons Britons voted out was because of fear of migration, especially non-European and Muslim migrants.”

      The above-cited quote is simply not true. The over-riding anti-immigrant element of the “Brexit” was against those immigrants from EU countries taking advantage of “free movement” within the EU, primarily Poles, Bulgarians, Rumanians, Hungarians, etc. Non-Europeans, including Muslims, who are not citizens of a member of the EU had no right to immigrate to Britain.

  7. UK and EU are deeply involved in the fragmentation of ME countries and the re-design of Sykes Pico nation state colonial project as per Oded Yinon or recently Col. Ralph Peters new design map published in the military magazine. Now the magic turns against the witch. Next will be the fragmentation of UK and EU itself. The fear from Muslim immigrants is a catalyst but the real failure of EU is its “centralized” economic and social policies, neoliberalism and austerity. Similar to the eastern block, EU can’t defend itself and unable to make a small political move without the Master in charge of NATO.

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