New Internationalist

Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam

September 2010

By Mark Curtis

British troops are in Afghanistan, we are told, to forestall terrorist attacks on UK soil. This post hoc justification is one of the many myths about the ‘War on Terror’ debunked by Mark Curtis’s fascinating and timely examination of the British state’s collusion with radical Islamic groups.

Curtis argues that the roots of more recent deals and accommodations with extremist groups lie in the Imperial era, when Britain and Russia manoeuvered for power and influence in Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan; a grim strategy referred to as ‘The Great Game’. He shows how the installation of puppet rulers and the removal by force of democratically elected ones has shaped the region, and how post-War foreign policy has been consistently bent to the maintenance of control and the expropriation of wealth, most notably oil.

In an impressively detailed sweep through the history of the region, Curtis exposes, time and again, British government support of militant groups. In Iran and Iraq, Libya and Syria, Egypt and Indonesia, Britain has provided funds and logistical support for organizations whose aims would seem inimical to the ostensible Western objectives of security and stability. He also sheds light on the murky US-British links with those two major sponsors of fundamentalist Islam, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Secret Affairs deals with a weighty subject in a meticulous manner, but Mark Curtis writes engagingly and it is surely beyond argument that his contention – that post-War British foreign policy in the Central Asian region has made the world a more dangerous and more lawless place – is a topic worthy of debate.

This column was published in the September 2010 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam Fact File
Product information (Serpent's Tail, ISBN 9781846687631
Star rating3

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Books

All Books

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 435

New Internationalist Magazine issue 435
Issue 435

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.