The British foreign secretary Boris Johnson has accused UK allies Saudi Arabia of abusing Islam and engaging in what he labelled "proxy wars" with the Middle East during a conference in Rome last week. Traditionally the Foreign Office do not criticise UK allies publicly. However, The Guardian has obtained footage of Johnson at the conference in Rome accusing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran of having abused religion for political gain, as well as acting as "puppeteers" in the Middle East proxy wars.

Boris Johnson believes politicians are abusing Islam for political reasons

Johnson claimed that there were politicians who were deliberately "twisting and abusing" religion for political gain, which were in return fuelling the Middle East proxy wars, along with a lack of leadership at the helm of the nations involved. Johnson then went on to point blame at Saudi Arabia and Iran specifically, accusing the two nations of "puppeteering and playing proxy wars". The revelation of Johnson's comments come just days after UK Prime Minister Theresa May returned from a two day trip to the Gulf, in which she complimented the Saudi royal family for its leadership and alliance with the UK.

Despite the strong relations between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, many have criticised Saudi Arabia for equipping the Iranian-backed Houthi rebellion in Yemen, something many British MP's have been quick to downplay due to Saudi sensitivity.

However, since becoming Foreign Secretary Johnson has landed himself in trouble several times for comments he has made surrounding UK allies.

Boris Johnson, the British Government and the Gulf

The British defence industry is dependent on arms trades with the Gulf states with the British navy establishing a major naval base in the capital of Bahrain.

Johnson is set to visit the region this weekend where he will be forced to explain why he believes some countries in the Gulf area are abusing Islam for political interest. A spokesman for the foreign secretary has released a statement following Johnson's comments claiming that they support Saudi Arabia in their efforts to "secure their borders and protect their people" and that Johnson was only criticising the leadership in war torn areas such as Yemen and Syria.