Thursday, 1 March 2018

There are two sides to the story of East Ghouta

Why are the Russians bombing East Ghouta (I assume they are) and killing civilians (among them children, of course) instead of starving the inhabitants into submission, which is how sieges usually work (though this is now, for some reason, considered a war crime)? 

My namesake Paul Wood writes about it here and is more even-handed than one expects from the mainstream media.

My namesake thinks Putin may have bitten off more than he wanted to chew. Journalists

have been saying that since he intervened in Syria and saying that his intervention does not mean that Assad can win the entire country. Frankly, journalists don't know much and the ones who follow the Anglo-American line know much less than the independent thinkers, like the Independent's Patrick Cockburn or a non-journalist who has been prescient, the ex-M16 man Alastair Crooke.

I do not seek to excuse the deliberate bombing of hundreds of civilians, whether adults or children. At least I'd say so except that someone will mention that we bombed Dresden. Dresden aside, I do not wish to excuse the Russians (they deny it but they would, wouldn't they?) but I do wish to say that there are two sides to this story. 

The rebels use the area as a base from which to shell Damascus and we should remember that it is mostly the Islamist rebels (almost all of them, by now, are Islamists and many of them are Al Qaeda) who prevent the inhabitants leaving East Ghouta. 

It's also true that rebels fear what will happen to them if they fall into government hands. I hope that only the kidnappers need fear the government, not the people held hostage. 

I have no illusions about the vileness of the Assad government or about the innumerable war crimes of Vladimir Putin, but I said back on 1st October 2015
Why didn't Russia intervene in Syria years ago? Their motives are self-interested, but they might do a lot of of good. More good than the American idealists have done in the region.
I was much criticised for saying that but still I see no better alternative. I thank God we avoided President Hillary waging a war on the side of the 'moderate' rebels to achieve regime change.

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