Turkey’s invasion of Syria, and threatening to deport 3.6 resident Kurdish citizens to Europe is seriously evil.
Trump, Macron and May strike targets in Syria and avoid hitting Russian targets. The fog of war instantly rises, the Russians say the majority of missiles were shot down and the Americans say each one hit their targets.
If they degrade Bashir al Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons, then they have achieved a goal. If they hit any Russian targets, they have achieved something else.
In an excellent analysis, Andrew Adonis has this to say about it. He sees Theresa May’s action as avoiding an embarrassing vote in the Parliament which may not agree that taking non-effective action is a priority. Alignment with Trump may demonstrate to Putin that the UK is to be taken seriously however laughable the net balance of actions by this government are.
Green MP, Caroline Lucas points out that acting before the OCWP can inspect is ridiculous.
The problem with this kind of military gesture is that the powers that order it have no real idea of the consequential effect. Right-Wing Tories keep trying to point out that a vote in Parliament got David Cameron a defeat but is not the scrutiny of the parliament desirable before we run into accidental war with Russia? Our lack of preparedness for war is obvious enough. Is the Government expressing a fear that protection by Trump is entirely necessary
The Trump Doctrine is to lash out and then realise that was not a very good idea. A prime example is his reaction to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. He calls the leader of that stricken country an “animal” for killing a number of people with “nerve agents” and Chlorine gas and plans to send in the missiles. Except that Russia threatened him back and now he has to negotiate for fear of starting a firestorm and losing major assets as Russia threatened.
The legal point that it is an internal matter for Syria and that independence is the very heart of sovereignty that other nations have no business undermining. Oh, but if “we let Syria use chemical weapons” then “they will again, with impunity”. Understandable sentiment. The world would be a better place without weapons that kill people indiscriminately. Gassing the civilian population is not necessarily as evil as dropping an H Bomb, but it causes unbelievable suffering and only with effective action can their use be stopped.
But the May government in Britain believes that Syria’s sponsor, Russia, used a Novichok nerve agent in the UK to remove a retired spy. She has acted as though it were proven with evidence and it seems “the right thing to do” to most conservative idealists.
But is it? And is her plan to attack the government of Syria going to result in a war between the UK and Syria, or more significantly, with Russia?
David Cameron wants to launch airstrikes over Syria and is going to bring this to a vote in Parliament. It is a “modern decision” – being a political animal, instead of an actual strategy to resolve the pressures that causes human suffering on a massive scale, instead of an actual path that removes Assad from power (if that is the will of the Syrian population) while destroying Daesh: we have the dichotomy: bomb them or do nothing.
There is a precedent: previously Cameron brought a vote on bombing Assad. When that failed, there appears to be no other military option taken to improve matters in Syria, until Parliment voted almost unanimously to bomb ISIL in Iraq.
To bomb, or not? Why is that the question? Is it a lack of imagination or simply that it is a military decision, and not a political one? Parliment could be ruling on a more generalised intention, and then engaging a wide-ranging strategy.
The insistence upon bombing Syria or not drowns out other intelligent voices.
The use of social media by ISIL is the weapon of communication, that our bombs seek to silence. Dead terrorists can not post to their twitter accounts, being the theory. Unfortunately, they can and do have an influence. As martyrs, these murderous forces seem to increase the potential of their voices, even if it is spoken by others.
Bombing them is providing a pretext for their families to also turn against us. We lay wreaths and say “Lest we forgot”. Victims of bombing do not forget, either. Some are taking revenge, in memory of their own fallen. How can we learn from the mistakes of the Iraq war when Chilcot is stale bread in the oven? The Government’s actions in Libya and Iraq were a military fantasy.
War is horribly expensive but our “let’s get it over with” summary attitude ignores the fact that our actions are not solving the problem. The forces of parliamentary democracy seem not lead us to a solution but a choice between ill-fated paths.
It is a vote that nobody should “want”. Cameron and Osborne both attempt to destroy the Labour party, and this “vote” is designed to do just that. How are we served by a Government that spends more time trying to destroy Her Majesties Opposition than improving the lot for its voters? The language of Government should not be divisive, it should be inclusive. The PM acts more like an election strategist than a leader. He shuts down debate.
Corbyn, right or not, at least he wants to employ our best weapon: our ears. Correct and truthful analysis before the actions in Libya and Iraq would have worked for better outcomes. We elect these great minded individuals and political parties to examine the truth to prepare the ground for progress.
Going to war to be more popular is destructive. Terrorism is the last gasp of a failed ideology, buying votes with bombs is corruption.
See also – article Eight Ways to Defeat ISIL
The latest craze indulged in by Western Governments seems to be dropping bombs on Syria. It is intended to stop Daesh/ISIL from its path of terrorising civilisation but there are so many consequences that can not be sensed from 30,000 feet above. Bombs kill people, destroy lives and property as well as terrorists.
The solution is to destroy the weapons. The Syrian opposition groups should recognise the value that the international community taking an interest in a catalogue of atrocities committed in what appears to be a very destructive and beyond horrific experience for the entire civilian population. Assad seems unable to release his iron grip on power but ultimately step by step the Russians can be entirely influential it seems. The instant agreement given by the Assad regime means it fears military intervention as it should from a potentially formidable foe (for example, NATO) if it does not comply with the humanist objective of removing the offending weapons from the equation. They could fall into the hands of the opposition groups and it is a strategic disadvantage in the endgame of this war to have them.
Consider the unlikely scenario that Assad is correct in saying that the opposition groups launched the multiple coordinated chemical weapons attacks that genocidal day a couple of weeks ago. Instant compliance is explained in that scenario. Now consider that even if Assad was in control of the chemical weapon attack the danger of such weapons, scattered around the country poses an existential threat to both sides. Removal of them return him to certain dominance.
The world is divided on the response to Syria and the use of chemical weapons there.
The Obama administration has done all the right things to launch a punishing response that does not seem an act of aggression, which clearly it is not. But although the moral dimension can be appreciated there are other ways to update our understanding of human social evolution. War is the death process for civilisations. Syria has been invaded, been at war, suffered military coups for centuries and of course more recently was defeated by and lost territory to Israel in 1967. Syria has been in the constant thrall of war and continues now to be at war with itself. It has one of the more brutal dictators who has fought a civil war against a rebellion that has been joined by Al Qaeda
The use of Chemical Weapons required a stockpile of them. Which side used them is the subject of Russia’s case against attacking Syria, the US seems to focus on the evidence of the scale of the attacks that it is only rationale to see the Government as the only party in control of that many weapons in a coordinated attack in over ten locations. Assad denies giving the order. That his generals would act independently is worse.
Does the country Syria deserve to suffer for the actions of its brutal leadership? Well, indeed most countries suffer somewhat the ineptitude of their political classes. Why we tend to want rule by the despotic is not a tendency on the part of the population. It is the very basic tendency we have to follow the leader. Democracy is a game of follow the leader.
Syria has generated its own internal frictions, another schism erupting away for centuries it seems between Shiite and Sunni. Would an attack stop the launch of more chemical weapons?
How Obama could deal with Syria. Play the long game and make Assad do it. Invasion seems pointless. Everyone appears to be at war with everyone else – want to join in? Get the chemical weapons out of the equation
President Obama drew a red line in the sand and to maintain any dignity he has to make good his threat. That is yesterday’s thinking. The need to retaliate for the use of chemical weapons by someone in Syria points to one thing. Syria has illegal weapons and he needs to be made to get rid of them. Not by invasion, that is too expensive. Not by trying to blow Damascus into the ground – you would kill large numbers of civilians, too.
But by negotiation. Imagine this?
President O: President Assad, you are guilty of possessing chemical weapons and they are being used. We suggest that you have lost control of your weapons and are therefore now a danger to the world. You have to now stop your war and we have to destroy your weapons or the world will force my hand and we will have to hunt you down. Your crimes against humanity are well documented, both before and largely since the war.
President A: We will never hand over our weapons. If you attack us, we will defend ourselves.
President O: We have heard that one before, and look what our generals did to Saddam. Now we have nothing against the good people of Syria. We have a problem with you harbouring and allowing or using deadly gas against any people. We can destroy them safely and if you hand them over now, we will do it for no charge and help the new Government rebuild.
President A: I will never agree to this.
President O: Then I would not stand so close to the window, Bashar. [CLICK!]
Twenty years ago, that would be pure paranoid conspiracy. Today, that is probably how this will pan out. Bombing Damascus would simply be sad. It is not the fault of the inhabitants. Destroy Syrian air=power – now if that was achieved then more chemical weapon attacks would be a significant risk. The only strategy is to force the most influential actor in this, Assad, to rid Syria of Chemical Weapons so when he inevitably faces trial for his crimes against humanity, there would be something positive in the balance.
Iran insist, as they tend to, to make an entirely illogical case that because they send some pilgrims to fight with Assad against revolutionary forces which seem to be getting very out of control by a process of assassination of the head of the army, minister of defence and fighting with weapons that do appear from many sources, and no doubt that in some way the USA may be complicit in supporting probably Sunni Muslim forces, rebels and probably Al Qeada forces as well in the war against the Assad tyranny. And it is that mixture that sees the devout Islamic Shi’ite state support a secular Arab leader, a sort of shadow to Saddam and possibly the recipient of stocks of chemical warfare as well as an industry of domestic weapon building now being talked about. Very familiar territory but he is at war with his own citizens.
Not many voter would tick that box. Assad’s power is not only over, but he goes from one horror to the next with a sense of righteousness and self belief that is hard to fathom.
In the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/world/middleeast/chemical-weapons-wont-be-used-in-rebellion-syria-says.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120724 – it is evident that Syria has a large cachet of WMD. Why? Well Saddam’s stock must have gone somewhere when sabrés were rattled.
Syria is all that is left of the common Ba-athist political party that fell with Saddam in Iraq. What is Ba’athism? It is an Islamic form of Socialism. Possibly a good thing for the Arab World to balance the many dynastic totalitarian ruled cultures that seem stuck in feudal existence. That Syria has many weapons of mass destruction was predicted. It was reported on the news that weapons were probably hidden in Syria, the storage place inheriting Saddam’s WMD. There may well have been much political cooperation between their governments both under the iron grip of a leader past his use by date, slaughtering dissidents. His domination of a country by going to war with factions is in common.
And now the Assad regime is bombing Allepo. And denying that they would use chemical weapons on Syrians. Foreign invaders would be a completely other matter. Will Romney start to threaten to invade Syria? Seems a natural. Or he will he be beaten to it. The temptation must be terrible on both candidates. They see it in different terms.
All the more so as it is probably quite correct – that Syria indeed has WMD and that someone is going to do the equation that constructed history. The problem is going to be the brutal Assad regime. It is going to be the WMD, and now it seems only natural that the UN will demand that Syria give them up. Or face terrible consequences.
Who would America trust in such a scenario. The guy who killed that terrorist guy.