Scottish independence: ‘American-led wars risk’

George Galloway famously confronted the US Senate over the Iraq War. Picture: Robert Perry
George Galloway famously confronted the US Senate over the Iraq War. Picture: Robert Perry
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GEORGE Galloway has warned that an independent Scotland would be dragged into American-led wars like the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts under the SNP’s plans to join defence pact Nato.

The MP who famously confronted US Senate members over the Iraq War claimed Scotland would be forced to be “part of the attacks” in the Gulf due to its involvement in Nato, which Mr Galloway claimed is dominated by America.

Mr Galloway, who is widely known for his high-profile opposition to allied wars, said there were “gigantic contradictions” over the SNP’s plans to scrap Trident but remain a member of nuclear alliance Nato.

The left wing politician, speaking ahead of a keynote speech in Edinburgh, said “Scottish soldiers have been prominent in wars” such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

MR Galloway insisted that the “nationalists would not fundamentally change the make up of foreign policy” in an independent Scotland.

he suggested that powerful Nato members such as the USA and the UK would demand that Scotland’s military continued to take part in conflicts as part of its Nato obligations, which are based on the principle of collective defence.

The Dundee-born politician also claimed that some Scots and the SNP in particular were “infatuated” with Scottish military regiments.

MR Galloway’s criticism of the SNP’s international policy came after the party’s defence spokesman Angus Robertson this week insisted an independent Scotland would pursue an ethical foreign policy.

He claimed Mr Robertson was a “right wing rural based politician” as he launched a scathing attack on the Moray MP, who leads the SNP at Westminster.

Mr Galloway, a former Glasgow Labour MP, said: “There’s an infatuation with Scottish regiments and the SNP is more infatuated with the regiments than anyone else I know.

“Angus Robertson has no history of opposition to US foreign policy. Angus Robertson is a right wing rural based politician.”

Almost a decade ago Mr Galloway famously accused US senators of manufacturing “the mother of all smokescreens” as he attacked claims that he profited from Iraqi oil sales during a hearing in Washington.

MR Galloway, speaking ahead of his speech in Edinburgh on 3 February, claimed the SNP’s plans for an independent Scotland to be a member of Nato would mean it was forced to be part of campaigns such as the Afghanistan war, which Nato was heavily involved in.

He said: “An independent Scotland remaining in Nato would be jointly responsible for attacks in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Scotland in Nato would have been part of the attacks.

“The Scottish people voted for MPs that voted for these wars and Scottish soldiers have been prominent in wars. The SNP intends for Scotland to remain in Nato with Britain. Scotland would be a nuclear strike force part of Nato.”

Mr Galloway, who is now the Respect MP for Bradford West, said American officials in Nato would also resist the SNP’s plans to scrap Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence.

He said: “The SNP’s Trident policy is entirely fallacious. “It would take many years - maybe a decade before Trident could be removed as Scotland would be part of a nuclear alliance.”

“Scotland would be in the same alliance as the countries with nuclear weapons and the idea that the USA - the leader of Nato - would be happy with the Scottish leadership of Nato removing a gigantic nuclear base from Scotland is ludicrous.

“There are gigantic contradictions in the SNP’s policy on Nato and nuclear weapons.”

Mr Galloway, who was expelled from Labour over his opposition to the Iraq war, warned that the SNP would remain in power in an independent Scotland for decades.

The left-winger claimed Scottish politics under independence would be similar to that in the Irish Republic, where two centre-right parties - Fianna Fail and Fine Gael dominate the political landscape.

He said: “Labour would become irrelevant and would have decades in opposition like Fine Gael in Ireland. It would come back into power eventually, but be unrecognisable.

“The SNP would dominate the politics of the new state for decades and preside over economic inequality. That problem would get worse.”

Meanwhile, SNP MP Mr Robertson suggested Mr Galloway’s backing for a No vote in the independence referendum was at odd with his opposition to the Iraq war.

Mr Robertson said: “George Galloway needs to get to grips with reality - like the rest of the SNP I marched against the disastrous Bush/Blair invasion of Iraq, and independence means never again can Scotland be dragged into an illegal military adventure against our will. He is simply wrong - 24 of the 28 NATO countries opposed the Iraq war, and member countries have complete control of whether or not to commit military forces in any situation.

“In an independent Scotland, we propose that the deployment of any armed service men and women into combat would require to be approved by Parliament, and Scotland would only become involved in actions which carried the authority of the United Nations.

“It is very strange that Mr Galloway prefers to support a Westminster system that allowed the disastrous Iraq war to go ahead, rather than an independent Scotland which will be a good global citizen.”