Syria: The countdown begins

After another apparent ‘chemical attack’ by the Syrian government, it might seem that the world is on the brink of the worst international crisis since the Cuban missile affair in 1962. The US President is threatening to use cruise missiles to attack Syrian military bases, and the British Prime Minister has also expressed a desire for this country to tag along on the American coat-tails. Despite claiming to have ‘proof’ that chemicals were used against civilians in Syria, the French President is adopting a ‘wait and see’ stance on whether or not France will also join in.

Meanwhile, the Russians, currently allied with President Assad in Syria, have stated that they will intercept any missiles fired at Syrian bases by the US, UK, or France. In response, Mr Trump has been bullish in the extreme, telling the Russians and Syrians that they can expect to be attacked very soon.
As far as the UK is concerned, our Prime Minister has decided that the people do not need to be consulted about military intervention that could lead to direct conflict with Russia. She is having a series of meetings with colleagues, to explain the reasons why she feels it necessary to embark on what is basically an undeclared war.

Those of us blessed with a reasonable memory will recall Tony Blair telling us that we had to attack Iraq, because they had chemical weapons that had been used against civilians, as well as the much-quoted ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that were never actually found there.

I think it is time to ask some hard questions.
Do we actually want the Syrian rebels to win?
Will the world be a safer or better place if Assad is removed?
Will any intervention not just stir up the hornet’s nest of anti-western feeling that already exists almost everywhere?
Is NATO actually capable of defeating Russia in a conventional conflict, albeit one fought by proxy in another country?

My own answers to these are No, No, Yes, and No.

Syria is a sovereign country, engaged in a civil war against various groups, including some of the same Muslim fundamentalist organisations that we have supposedly tried so hard to eradicate elsewhere. Their war is not our business, other than for the fact that western leaders would like to see Assad removed from power. If they succeed in doing this, the chances are that they will be back fighting whoever takes over from him, as they will surely be no friend of NATO and its allies.

So what is the point of this escalation, something that might drag us into a global conflict? As always, follow the money. More arms, more money for arms companies, more money for the companies that supply the logistical needs of armies, and more money for the companies that supposedly ‘re-build’ after the conflict has stopped. Add to that some school playground-style chest-thumping from inexperienced ‘world leaders’, and we are in danger of seeing a powder keg ignited, becoming a war that will surely not stop at the Syrian border.

Senseless, in my opinion.

Advertisements

41 comments

  1. Tish Farrell

    Well said, Pete. There are no mainstream media journalists in Syria, so the reporting has been questionable to say the least. A group of international law experts in the US say a strike that is not in self-defence or UN Security Council authority is illegal:
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/04/11/international-lawyers-strike-against-syria-would-be-illegal/ . I am also thinking that the men and women of the Syrian Arab Army, now targets in such strikes, to say nothing of any civilians who might be in the strike zones, are also Syrian – so the West is deciding which Syrians deserve to die?

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Many thanks for your thoughts, Tish. That’s exactly the point; US/UK and France decide who are the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ Syrians, and the deaths of those they don’t like appear not to matter. As I said above, one of my main issues is that many of those rebels we are supposedly helping are in fact hard-line Muslim fundamentalists, no real friends of the West. In fact, some Syrian refugees from Assad have turned out to be little more than Jihadis, attempting to carry out attacks in Europe.
      And if chemical and biological weapons are so unacceptably ‘evil’, then why do we have a world-leading centre developing more of them, at Porton Down? Hypocrisy, and the lust for oil, are all I see in this situation.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tish Farrell

        Just read a declassified CIA doc from 1986 on line. The Syria regime change was already being thought through then – noting the problems of stirring things up in such a secular society. The document says the US wanted a Sunni regime as this would suit their purposes best. Do you read Off-Guardian blog on wordpress. Some good articles and informed writers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Woebegone but Hopeful

    I am glad not to have listened to some folk, and not gone into politics. Had I got to be a PM there would have been RAF raids over Serbia (day and night) the entire SAS deployed in Nigeria to seek out Boko Harum (think I got the spelling wrong there) and goodness knows where else (But not Iraq, that was a stupid place to go)….In short my heart rules my head, so Syria….not the best person to be in charge.
    My head tells me any place where Iran and Saudi-Arabia are squaring off each other to such an extent that they and their proxies have wars going on from Yemen to the deserts of Libya, are not places simple-minded westerners should be going militarily, no matter how much I would see Assad strung by his heels. Considering that extreme Shi’ite Iran is willing to do deals with a President whose clan are essentially heretics in Muslim eyes and thus should be eradicated we can see how complex this is.
    For the folk who suffer day to day and see their own die all we have to offer is, regrettably diplomacy and emergency medical aid.
    Politics and Diplomacy often develop their own momentums, which move outside control of the instigators. If it turn out that we ‘must’ fire off missiles (as per the rules of the game), then it has to be part of a complex package of deals, understandings, and negotiations {Eg: To Russia…’OK, you’ve got your warm water port into the Med/Aegean. Now hunker down and keep out of the rest, you don’t want to be around when Iran and Saudi Arabia get serious’, trust us on this one. You remember your time in Afghanistan…. mmmm?}.
    As a nation Syria might well be over, its borders were somewhat artificial (Sykes-Picot). The maps will have to be re-drawn, now that’s where we can truly help, and it will not be very easy…..
    (In the meantime Da’am, the Far-left Arab-Israeli party are worth a mention….I would visit their site in more detail but my browser tells me I am blocked- just had to mention that)
    All the best Pete
    Roger

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Thanks for your thoughts and opinion, Roger. Complex is the word.
      I was able to look at the Da’am website, so thanks for the mention. (Probably been spotted by GCHQ now!)
      You may be confusing Boko Haram with Procol Harum, but that’s understandable…
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Woebegone but Hopeful

        That’ll teach me to check my spellings!
        When I managed to find Da’am’s agenda it occurred to me that members would never be alone. With those sorts of views in Netanyahu’s Israel, someone would always be following you.
        Keep on keeping on Pete.
        Roger

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ros

    You forgot the oil. That’s always been the prime motivating factor in the Middle East. It doesn’t matter that Syria is a poxy little country of no particular importance on its own. It’s about its position and about its allies and about who has overall power in the region and hence who, ultimately, controls the oil… and the dollar.

    One day, the US empire will come crashing down. Probably, not so long now. There are already noises being made elsewhere in the world about challenging the hegemony of the dollar. I just hope it doesn’t make too much mess of everywhere else when it does fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Oh I never forget the oil, Ros. Syria is one of the largest producers in that region, and the US and Russia are not there for altruistic reasons, that’s for sure. And history has taught us that all empires eventually fall. It’s just a matter of time.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eddy Winko

    I woke up wondering how many people die every da from starvation? More than 20,000 according to the UN. Maybe we should try and solve that with the money spent on missiles. It really is a sad world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      I spent a lot of time looking at food aid many years ago, around the time that Band Aid was raising money. It would seem that one of the main issues of course is where people live (And have lived for centuries) in places that cannot sustain life. You can go back as far as The Bible and find references to starvation in areas like modern-day Sudan. Land unsuitable for cultivation, and too far from a reliable water supply. (Once inland from The Nile)
      The irony of giving food aid to these areas is that it attracts more people to them, to receive that aid. Then the people receiving the food become a bit healthier, which means they have more children. Within a couple of years, the problems all resurface, as the population is too large to be fed by the UN, charities, and other agencies. Despite all the countless millions donated to charity since the war in Biafra in 1967, the Blue Peter water appeals, Band Aid/Live Aid/Sport Aid, etc, the problems in African countries are getting worse, if anything.
      In countries like Somalia, much of the donated food is stolen by armed gangs at the docks. It is then taken by local warlords to feed their own armies, or sold at inflated prices to those barely able to afford it, with the profits used to buy weapons. Some of the food aid sent to countries like Syria is either stolen by, or diverted to, fundamentalist fighters in groups like ISIS. It needs a major re-think by the administrations in the countries affected. People need to be moved away from arid desert areas with no water, and there have to be long-term plans for irrigation, birth control, animal husbandry, and intensive farming. But this is beset by cultural problems, tribal issues, and claims of land ownership. And some of the world’s poorest countries still maintain relatively large and well-equipped armies, preferring to spend what little money they have on those, rather than feed their own populations.
      But I get your point of course. It’s just that giving money or food to the places where starvation is almost the norm has never solved anything, certainly not in my lifetime. Perhaps if all countries spent their money on looking after their population instead of funding armies and wars, something might change. But as long as we have poverty in countries like the US and the UK, there is little hope for the lesser-developed countries, I fear.

      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Doug (FPS/DougLite.com)

    I see you like the “Prime Directive”, Pete… don’t mess with the indigenous species. I dunno.. seems with the population growth pushing us all the more together it’s more an issue of “chaos theory”… if a little insignificant country on the far side of the world has a civil war it will affect the rest of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      But would it, Doug? Why should a civil war in Libya affect America, other than to make people want to cash in on it?
      There have been times when intervention on a huge scale would have been desirable. Spain in 1936 comes to mind. Had Franco been stopped there, the other European Fascists might have thought twice about events that led to WW2.
      But if we do not support Muslim fundamentalists (our declared enemies elsewhere) in Syria, then I think that would be the sensible thing to do. I am sure there are many people in the US and UK who couldn’t even find Syria on a map, let alone give a fig what happens there. I know that sounds harsh, but if we are going to intervene in one war, then shouldn’t we intervene in all of them?
      Maybe we already do, one way or another.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      • Doug (FPS/DougLite.com)

        The population.. the technology.. was nothing like today back in Franco’s day. And if I may differ… we are in a totally different world where in fact, a seemingly “small” conflict is going to have an even greater world-wide impact as the years progress. With the advance of instant communications what will keep events inside one border from spilling over to adjacent borders? We already know the first thing that spills over in any of these “internal” conflicts is the mass exodus of refugees… not just over neighboring borders.. but over entire regions as refugees pass through… or are shunted away. Another threat is to existing world markets… and how will that small conflict might impact stock market confidence, especially regional. Then there’s the impact that improving living conditions also bring into focus the idea that there is a growing moral obligation among comparatively well-off nations to help the innocents of conflicts; that this Third World tribal nonsense of “settling old scores” tends to bring with it genocidal persecution, and that of course reminds people of World War 2 Nazism.
        Now.. I totally understand where you are coming from, Pete. All of what I stated above does not mean every country has to jump and take action.. then get bogged down in some fruitless conflict for decades, and loosing their soldiers along the way. What I am suggesting is that in the decades to come the world.. maybe through the UN.. has to get more involved in these little “cancers” in order to keep the effects from spreading beyond borders. Nothing is black & white.. it’s a grey world now.

        Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Differ away, Doug, I always enjoy reading your thoughts.
      I agree that developed countries have a moral obligation to try to stop genocide and persecution of people in other countries.
      So why don’t we have missiles going into Myanmar, where they are expelling and mistreating their Muslim population? (I still call it Burma) Why are we not threatening Israel with strikes against Tel Aviv, because of their shameful treatment of the Palestinians?
      You know the answer to those questions of course. Myanmar has nothing we want, and Israel, well it’s Israel
      The west prefers to choose whose war to get involved in. Genocide and persecution has nothing at all to do with any of it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      • Doug (FPS/DougLite.com)

        Money=oil; oil=money; as has been already replied in here. Again, it’s the other elements I mentioned also.. refugee migration, the exportation of disruptive ideologies across borders, etc. But likely the other thing is also media coverage; not a lot hanging around in Myanmar.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff

    It breaks my heart to say this Pete, but I agree. The images of families and children dead on tv are horrifying, but it should be apparent by now that the Western world has no clue as to what we’re doing in the Middle East, and as much as I despise Assad, we should have learned by now that meddling with regime change not only doesn’t work, it actually makes things worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Not so much heartless as realistic, GP. They must be left to sort out their own issues, as we cannot be expected to fight every war in places where one half of a country doesn’t like the government. Trouble is, many western companies see it as a cash-register, rather than a human tragedy. If we are really so concerned about a repressive regime making war on its own unhappy citizens, then why not sort out Israel too?
      We know the answer to that one of course.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. democratizemoney

    You are spot on. I do think we need to get to the Russian and American leaders’ urologists and have the urologists substitute estrogen for the testosterone injections the two leaders are undoubtedly receiving on an all too regular basis.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. theshammuramat

    Interesting analysis as always Pete. Trump, and I refuse to call him President since its an oxymoron, is a complete disgrace and embarrassment. More importantly can our western style (so-called) democracies hold up against the tide of history that is showing how vulnerable and outdated they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Adele Marie

    You are so right on all counts. Is there chemical weapons? Or is there something in Syria that the leaders of countries want? Is that why they are hell bent on dragging us into a 3rd world war that no one wants? I’m scared and I bet the average person who stayed behind in Syria is too.

    Liked by 1 person

Feel free to say what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.