Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Libya, Iran revel in mocking Britain over riots

A country overrun by rioters. A government facing questions over policing. Its leader accused of having lost legitimacy.

Sound familiar? But this week, rather than another country swept by an Arab Spring-style democracy movement, it was Britain feeling the heat.

And turning the tables, after enduring sustained criticism from the West, it was authoritarian regimes such as Iran and Libya that delighted in mocking Britain over riots that have engulfed its major cities.

The criticism came as other nations around the world reassessed their usually peaceful views of the UK, revising official advice to Britain-bound travelers and publishing newspaper headlines and editorials likening London to troublespots such as Somalia's Mogadishu.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a favorite target of international indignation for his saber-rattling speeches and his country's treatment of activists in 2009 democracy protests, landed his punch on Wednesday as Britain reeled from its latest night of trouble.

With tongue no doubt planted firmly in cheek, Ahmadinejad apparently made an speech to reporters in which he condemned Britain's police for brutality shown against "opposition" protesters, the official IRNA news agency said.

His comments followed similar condemnation by the Libyan regime of Moammar Gadhafi, which called for UK Prime Minister David Cameron to step down. With barely-concealed relish, saying he had "lost all legitimacy" because of the riots shaking Britain. (more)