Sunday, 8 January 2017

Aleppo and Christian civilisation

Vanessa Beeley is very committed. She is very strongly opposed to regime change in Syria (and Iran) and calls Israel an 'illegal state'. 

She says she works as a journalist in Syria without a minder but she has a translator and I doubt if Syrians would feel comfortable criticising the Syrian government while being recorded talking to her. 

All that said, the interviews (click here) she records with people from Eastern Aleppo, who are delighted to be free, have the ring of truth. 

But they are ignored by the mainstream media, while, up until the rebels surrendered and dispersed, the opinions of opposition 'media activists' were quoted at length in the British and American newspapers.

One refugee interviewed by Miss Beeley said, "They killed our families, destroyed our homes, stole from us."

There were no doctors, and the hospitals said to have been hit by Russian bombs were only for the use of rebel fighters. Such food as came in as relief was mostly withheld from civilians. People who tried to escape were killed. 

This is more or less what one would have expected, I think.

Meanwhile, here is a story that recently did get into the Economist, of an extremely brave Catholic prior in Syria, Father Jacques Mourad, who was taken captive by ISIS but managed to escape. 

He said, after his escape:
"If the world is really serious about putting an end to the ravages of the fanatics, then it will have to stop doing business with Saudi Arabia. Because
that is where the funding and weapons for ISIS are coming from. 
Bombing achieves nothing. The US has been bombing Syria and Iraq for years, and now the Russians are doing so, too. And what have they achieved? Have they stopped the terrorist violence? Absolutely not!"

The fall of Aleppo is not the end of the war in Syria but it is a huge defeat for the Saudis and Qataris, which dismays me not at all. No-one knows to what extent the Saudis and the Qataris funded Islamic State and al-Qaeda but they did so. 
Patrick Cockburn says: 
The answer seems to be that they did not know, and often did not care, exactly who they were funding and that, in any case, it often came from wealthy individuals and not from the Saudi government or intelligence services.

This is a defeat for Israel and the Kurds, a partial victory for Turkey and a big victory for Russia and Iran. I am sorry about the brave Kurds and I detest Erdogan, but I consider the Saudis a much greater enemy of Christian civilisation than Iran. 

It is a reprieve for what is left of the Christians in Syria and this counts for a huge amount. In fact it outweighs everything else.

I do not like the governments of Iran or Russia but, I suppose, as a long-time Russian satellite, it is natural for Russia, rather than Great Britain or America, to intervene in Syria. 

Mr. Obama said that Russia would be bogged down in a quagmire in Syria, but so far it hasn't happened.

It's interesting to think that had she won the election Hillary might be spending this weekend planning how to topple the Syrian government. We can be grateful that Mr Obama didn't allow her to do while she was his Secretary of State. 

According to John Kerry on Thursday, it was the vote against intervention in the House of Commons that prompted Mr. Obama not to intervene when the 'red lines' he laid down (without consulting the State Department) were crossed. 

This lowered US standing in the world immensely, but I am thankful to Ed Miliband that the Anglo-Americans stayed out of Syria.


  1. Yes. At least Milliband was good for *something*

  2. I believe the US helped fund ISIS also. I feel we need to built the keystone pipeline and cut our wealth from the Saudis. But that is another thing I feel the globalist pushed. Climate change. Another false narrative to prevent us from becoming independent of Saudis.

  3. Not sure Microband was particularly good in this case. The UK did intervene, but half-heartedly, and thereby raised the hopes of the rebels only to disappoint them with a lack of support and follow-up. This has prolonged the fighting and made civilian suffering worse. The problem is not of our making and our contribution is minor, but it exists and is, very sadly, adverse. Apart from the suffering in Syria, this also serves to weaken our own security. Tragic.
    Definitely nothing aimed publicly at achieving regime change, but since 2013 we have been sending (non-lethal) equipment and providing training to supposedly "moderate" rebels. The UK mainstream media has, in general, been uncritically supportive of these rebels. More active participation was rejected by Parliament in August 2013 and of course the air strikes sanctioned in December 2015 were against IS, not in favour of any particular group.

  4. It's one thing for us to sell arms to the Saudis, but it's quite another to suck up to them as Theresa May does and to want to work closely with them in the wider Middle East. We need to stop repeating the shameful saga of what happened in 2015 when the Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallström, was critical of the Saudis and was forced to go back to sucking up to them. Theresa May behaved in almost exactly that way when she slapped Boris Johnson down recently. I'd be much happier with a much more critical and distant policy towards the Saudis. NB, in an absolute monarchy the boundary between what is government money and what is the personal wealth of the king (who's both head of state and head of government) and the leading princes is not very clear.

  5. Without going into each of her allegations, it is fair to say that the "assad=evil and opposition=good" narrative has needed correction from the outset. Assad is a butcher, no doubt. So are the Jihadis, including many, not all, of the so-called moderate islamists. In sum, if we are serious about putting an end to the fighting and death of innocents, we will accept that Assad must stay for some transtion period and that an eventual care-taker government will be beholden to Russia and Turkey, in that order, and also to Iran and Hezbollah, if we are stupid enough not to cut the deal with Russia. yes, putin has blood on his hands, but we will have to deal with him unless we want the killing to go on for several more years - and what is our goal, really? end the alawite domination of the Syrian political structure or end the fighting with the hopes of moderating the alawite domination in the not too distant future? if the u.s. can bargain with the Castros, we certainly can bargain with Assad. (and it's not a number of corpses contest.)

    1. I do not see why this is the business of the US or UK. Nor does Ron Paul who said:

      "We have been told all along by the neocons and "humanitarian interventionists" that the United States must take a central role in every world crisis or nothing will ever be solved. We are the "indispensable nation," they say, and without our involvement the world will collapse. Our credibility is on the line, they claim, and if we don't step up no one will. All this is untrue, as we have seen last week.
      The fact is, it is often U.S. involvement in "solving" these crises that actually perpetuates them. Consider the 60-plus-year state of war between North and South Korea. Has U.S. intervention done anything to solve the problem? How about our decades of meddling in the Israel-Palestine dispute? Are we any closer to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians despite the billions we have spent bribing and interfering?"

      More here:


    2. The Alawite domination of Syria is overplayed. Most army officers are Shias. I agree that a reformed regime would be the best thing. If a genuinely free vote ever happens it will, i think, only happen once. Although people who lived in Syria tell me Syrians are very secular I think it would be won by Islamists as in Egypt and - all those years ago - Algeria.