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CAABU letters in Private Eye

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Letters Printed in Private Eye
Edition 20th April 2012


Dear Editor, 

Perhaps the Easter holidays have affected the Eye's research but contrary to Syria Update No 1311, I have never been nor wanted to be a Director of the British-Syrian Society. As Chair of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) I am extremely proud of our active track record in actively opposing the Assad regime, its horrific human rights abuses and in particular its brutality during the last year. Caabu has campaigned against regime figures and organisations with the aim of getting them sanctioned. Its Director, Chris Doyle organised a Parliamentary delegation to Lebanon in January to meet Syrian refugees and opposition activists. I followed this up with an adjournment debate in Parliament. We have held briefings by Syrian opposition activists in Parliament and elsewhere. Chris Doyle spoke at an Amnesty International rally outside the Syrian Embassy in October condemning in no uncertain terms the Assad regime. Caabu has zero links to the British-Syrian Society nor desires any. Hence, it is somewhat amusing to see the smear campaign organised against him and Caabu.Time for the Private Eye to question why. 

Andy Love MP

Chair of Caabu


I know the Middle East especially Syria is complicated. However, Private Eye might
have twigged that organisations such as the Council for Arab-British
Understanding (Caabu) that has spent the entire Syria uprising routinely
describing the Syrian regime as brutal, criminal, lying and violent, with a
track record no better than Gdiff might not be in the same camp as those in
the British-Syrian Society.

As Caabu director I condemned their director for not speaking out against Assad's
appalling crimes. Would a 'regime supporter' denounce Assad at an Amnesty
International rally outside the Syrian Embassy in London as I did last October and in Trafalgar Square in February? 

Caabu has been pushing the British government successfully to sanction the regime
and its leading figures. Caabu has hosted figures from nearly all opposition
groups. My wife, Rim Turkmani and I have spoken out against the regime in
practically every media outlets possible. She herself has lost family members to
the regime and is a founder member of a Syrian opposition group.

So one has to ask who might benefit from smearing opponents to the Syrian
regime in your esteemed organ? Time for Private Eye to help the beleaguered Syrian opposition
by sending your muck spreader packing. 

And a final thank you for highlighting our appeal for funds. Eye readers can be sure that any money they selflessly give Caabu will be spent on even more work against the Assad regime and others like it.

Chris Doyle


Private Eye Struck Blind On The Road To Damascus


In ‘Update on Syria (Eye 1311) you state that I am a director of the British Syrian Society. I am not a director of the British Syrian Society. I am not even a member of the British Syrian Society. I have never been a member of the British Syrian Society. 

I do not know Dr Fawaz Akhras, I have never met or spoken to him. I have always opposed the Assad régime in Syria and I am appalled but not surprised at the continuing slaughter of Syrians who seek the end of that régime.

I am an unpaid director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) which has condemned the Assad régime over many years. 

You state that CAABU is ‘favoured by businesses hoping to find contracts in the Middle East and by British conservatives.‘  Alas, we are favoured by neither. If we were, CAABU wouldn’t be in the dire financial straits it is now.

When it comes to the Middle East, UK businesses get their most lucrative contracts from the enemies of the very causes that CAABU campaigns for: democracy and freedom.  Britain’s captains of industry and finance much prefer to fund lobbyists fronting for hereditary oil and gas-rich dictatorships in the Gulf, and pressure groups that back the continuing repression of the Palestinian people. They don’t give a damn about the long-suffering people of Syria - like your poisoned source for this story, it seems.

Martin Short


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