Sunday, 23 June 2013

Taking sides in Syria - mad, bad and dangerous


It seems to me an utter nonsense to seek to end a war by giving the side that appears to be losing more guns. Yet that is precisely - all wrapped up in weasel words about the situation and castigastion of the Assad regime - what we're saying;

Its joint statement said the members had agreed to "provide urgently all necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies".

And, as ever, this decision - essentially a decision to escalate violence in Syria - is promoted on the basis of the most bizarre judgement. It's not because giving the "Western-backed rebel military command" means supporting the good guys. Nope, we're doing this because some chemical weapons have been used and this was the 'red line' that mustn't be crossed or else!

I could get all geopolitical, talk about arming one or other side in the ever more divisive scrap been Sunni and Shia Muslims. Or argue that we're fighting a daft proxy war with Russia and Iran lining up against the USA and Saudi Arabia. But I'm not going to do that.

No, I'm going to say that, terrible though events in Syria are, it's absolutely none of our business. By all means send relief to refugees, medical equipment to save lives and food for the starving. Definitely clamber onto the moral high ground and tell those fighting to stop it and come and talk to each other to see if there's a way to sort the mess out without murdering half the population.

But arming the rebels. That's taking sides. And we know just how loved we are across the Middle East for taking sides! Before we know there will be a queue of comfortable Syrian exiles and a veritable platoon of ex-military and former diplomatic chaps calling for 'no fly zones', for blockades and for even bigger bombs and guns for the friendly jihadist rebels.

To say it again - it really is none of our business any more than it was any of Gaddafi's business (or for that matter Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton's business) that we fought a long campaign against terrorists in Northern Ireland.

Again. Giving arms to insurgents in Middle East countries - whether we consider them good guys or not - is a monumentally stupid idea. And not why we have a defence budget.


1 comment:

Barman said...

Excellent post!

The Russians called this right at the very beginning of the conflict. They said "we don't support Muslim terrorists"...

We shouldn't either...