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Trump's hissy-fit will be chilling for Britain's Middle East embassies

2 38 0
11.07.2019

Just for a moment, let’s forget poor old Kim Darroch. Let’s jump a couple of days in front of this news story. Let me tell you how his utter humiliation and sacrifice at the hands of Trump – and with the connivance of the man who will probably be the next British prime minister – will affect the Middle East.

Let’s go first to Riyadh where, just off Al Khawabi street, stands the British embassy, wherein labours Simon Collis, our man in Saudi Arabia. He’s previously served in Bahrain, Tunis, Amman, Dubai, Qatar, Damascus and Baghdad. In other words, he’s an old Arab hand. He’s also a Muslim convert and the first British ambassador to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

But right now, Collis is going to be thinking very carefully when he reports back to the Foreign Office about the Kingdom upon which he must report fully, fairly and truthfully for his government. For all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten his reputation if The Leaker gets his hands on the diplomatic bag from Riyadh.

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For it’s Collis who must report on the antics of Mohammad bin Salman, the author of the blood-soaked Yemen war and, according to the CIA, the dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi.

I don’t presume to guess what Collis says about this very dangerous man. But he must surely have told his masters that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is – at the very least – uniquely dysfunctional, incompetent and inept. Or words to that effect. This would apply to both the Yemen slaughter and the chopping-up of Khashoggi.

Much worse has been said about bin Salman, and I doubt if he’d throw a Trump-like hissy-fit if he learned that Simon Collis had written so unkindly of him. But I doubt if a leak of the ambassador’s “dipreps” would garner many more invitations to the Royal Palace. It would not ease the passage of the next tranche of weapons which we plan to sell the plucky little prince for possible air raids on Yemen.

Collis wouldn’t be dismembered. But a prince’s anger can embrace an ambassador or two, and at 63 – two years before retirement – Collis’ professional life would come to an abrupt halt.

Now let’s fly up the northern coast of the Gulf and across Sinai to Cairo, take the half-hour taxi journey into town and gaze upon the magnificent Nileside embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Here, in Cairo’s Garden City suburb, Sir Geoffrey Adams, Our Man in Egypt, political descendant of Evelyn........

© Independent