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British Media Biased for Iran in Johnson’s Remarks on ‘Proxy Wars’ - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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British media has shown a clear bias for Iran while conveying statements made by British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, in which he accused a number of Middle Eastern countries of ‘playing proxy wars.’

The Guardian newspaper and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported what Johnson said during a conference in Rome when he talked of major countries acting as puppeteers in proxy wars throughout the Middle East, describing their behavior as a tragedy. However, these two media outlets chose to only accuse the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in their titles without any reference to Iran.

At the event, Johnson said: “There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region. And the tragedy for me – and that’s why you have these proxy wars being fought the whole time in that area – is that there is not strong enough leadership in the countries themselves.”

The Guardian noted that Johnson’s criticism of Saudi Arabia came as Theresa May returned from a two-day visit to the Gulf in which she praised Saudi-British relations.

During the conference, Johnson spoke of the quality of political leadership in the Middle East, saying: “There are not enough big characters, big people, men or women, who are willing to reach out beyond their Sunni or Shia or whatever group to the other side and bring people together and to develop a national story again. That is what’s lacking. And that’s the tragedy.”

The Foreign Office said on Wednesday that Johnson had expressed his strong support for Saudi Arabia on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show at the weekend, and said his criticism of the lack of leaders willing to reach out across religious divides was a reference to the lack of such leaders inside conflict zones – such as Yemen and Syria.

The Foreign Office said on Wednesday that Johnson had expressed his strong support for Saudi Arabia on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show at the weekend, and said his criticism of the lack of leaders willing to reach out across religious divides was a reference to the lack of such leaders inside conflict zones – such as Yemen and Syria.

A spokesman for the foreign secretary said: “As the foreign secretary made very clear on Sunday, we are allies with Saudi Arabia and support them in their efforts to secure their borders and protect their people. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong and misinterpreting the facts.”

Observers said that the partiality exhibited by the Guardian and the BBC comes at a time when relations between Britain and the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, are witnessing a remarkable development levelling up to strategic partnership, along with the presence of Prime Minister Theresa May for the 37th GCC summit in Manama and her declaration of full solidarity with the Gulf States against Iranian aggression in the region.

According to analysts, the newspaper and the channel have disregarded Iran and focused on Saudi Arabia, because of the fact that Saudi Arabia is an ally of Britain, unlike Iran, which does not consider London as its ally in the Middle East. However, their report comes against the true statement delivered by Johnson, who spoke of the problems and conflicts in the Middle East, without directly putting the blame on Riyadh.