Thursday 12 April 2018

I have thought about it - we should keep our hands off Syria

[Published in Taki's Magazine.]

The BBC 5 o'clock news started with the most extraordinary and chilling words I have heard in fifty years of watching or listening to the BBC News. 
Russia and America edge closer to war over Syria.
Previously the most chilling words I had heard were 
Russian troops have entered Czechoslovakia.
I should say that I see virtually no possibility of fighting between America and Russia, but virtually is not absolutely.

I was opposed to a strike on Syria in 2013 but am thinking through the arguments this time. The 2016 strike by the Americans seemed worryingly like the start of a US intervention but in fact had no consequences apart from showing that Trump was not a Russian stooge, repairing the damage to US prestige caused when Mr. Obama did nothing after his red line was crossed and killing some innocent people. 

If Assad is responsible for using chemical weapons this time the 2016 strike did not deter him.

But is he?

I am very reluctant to think this is a trick by Western governments but is it a false flag operation by others unknown? The Saudis? 

How can we know?

But we do know this.

A former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, thinks that the Syrian government did not use chemical weapons this time. The former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, is certain that Assad is not guilty. I think two former Ambassadors saying this means the case against Assad is not proven. 

It's interesting that it's Blairites and Neo-Cons who want to bomb Assad, not conservatives.

Those who in 2013 supported striking Syria in retaliation for the government's presumed use of chemical weapons said that if we did not act he would take that as a signal he could use chemical weapons with impunity. 

If the chemical weapons attack is the work of the regime  they were right. 

Russia then brokered an agreement for the destruction of Assad's chemical weapons stocks, the size and nature of which Russia about because Russia had sold them to Syria. If the government has used chemical weapons numerous times since then this seems to have been a lie, even though the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons received the Nobel Prize for it.

But why are chemical weapons very important? 

Bombs have killed countless Syrian civilians, including women and children and the cruel Syrian government has killed and tortured huge numbers. So have the rebels, though the numbers killed by the rebels are a lot smaller because they do not have an air force. Russia has bombed hospitals. 

And then their are the children bombed in Yemen by the brave Saudis.

Obama drew a red line around chemical weapons, unwisely, without consulting the State Department or anyone else. 

He then decided not to act when his red line was crossed and thus lost very much face, an important thing in Asia. 

But why should his red line bind the US and UK now?

Remember, we have no right to bomb Syria, unlike Russia which has the right to do so because she is acting at the Syrian government's invitation.

And the perplexing question, as in 2013 - why did the Syrian air force use chemical weapons now, just as they are achieving total victory in Eastern Ghouta using bombs? 

Why for that matter were they using bombs when a siege would have succeeded if rigorously implemented?

Britain will do as the USA does. Oh for the days when we had an independent foreign policy.

It is hard to see what interest Britain has in Syria or why chemical weapons, that seem to have been used by both sides, are worse than other weapons that have been used against civilians, including children, by both sides.

Where does intervention lead? To prolonged fighting? Help for the Islamists? More migrants? Victory for Labour at the next election? 

What strategic interest do we have in the Middle East at all beside good trading relations with our Arab friends? These include the Saudi monarchy which is morally revolting and doing everything it can to spread Wahhabism throughout the world. 

I much prefer Iran to the Saudis, whether or not they let women drive, and don’t see why we should go to war for the Saudis and their ally, Israel.


  1. Let me solve the mystery for everyone Dr.Watson. There were no chemical weapons. The Israelis need the stupid Americans to overthrow Assad because it's good for the Jews. Does that wrap it up for everyone? Good.

  2. David in Ukraine12 April 2018 at 17:02

    Good grief, what's the matter with the ruling class and the mass media?

    They cant all be idiots can they?

    If the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result, then maybe they are just crazy as loons.

    Western intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria - all disasters, especially for the locals.

    Even if Assad used chemical weapons (why would he?), what does it matter to us in the West? What interests of ours have been or will be jeopardised?

    Is having a hissy-fit over this incident worth the risk of a major war?

    A plague on them all!

    1. I agree, David. Yet people like Nigel Farage are considered extremists.

  3. just how many hospitals bombed US of A in Iraq? How many tons of napalm and depleted uranium have thrown in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and where else? Where was the red line then?

  4. So Assad invited Russia to bomb its own people, while being democratically elected. And then he tortured, burned, strangled and shot the people supporting him. And this drove US of A crazy and started drawing red lines in the sand. No red line was drawn when US of A used napalm and depleted uranium on other country's people.

  5. I should say that I see virtually no possibility of fighting between America and Russia, but virtually is not absolutely.

    I think war is absolutely inevitable. The Americans are determined to crush Russia and they want a war more than life itself.

    There's no parallel in this to the First Cold War. In the First Cold War neither the Russians nor the Americans actually wanted World War 3. Both sides were run by grown-ups. They understood the consequences. They remembered World War 2 and knew that WW3 would be a whole lot worse.

    It's different now. The entire American elite wants war. They want war with Iran.They want war with North Korea. They want war with Russia. And eventually they want war with China. Their agenda is to destroy every possible economic or political competitor and every country that refuses to kowtow to Washington. A very significant part, probably the majority, of the general American population wants war. To Americans war is fun. It's like a game or a movie, but better. And Americans don't get hurt. OK, hundreds of thousands or even millions of non-Americans might get killed but Americans couldn't care less about that.

    The idea that one day they might find themselves in a war they cannot win, a war that could reduce their own country to a pile of radioactive ash, simply doesn't occur to the average American. America always wins its wars! Their humiliating defeat in Vietnam has been consigned to the memory hole. It happened in the past and Americans don't have a past, just an eternal present.

    The U.S. will keep provoking until they get their war. Just as they provoked Japan into war in 1941.

    1. I am surprised that you think this. I see no evidence that anyone wants war with Russia, China or even Iran, much as neo-cons hate Iran. Do you have any?

    2. War may be necessary in North Korea. I hope not.

  6. I think i agree. If one has to dither as Trump does, any gesture would become pointless.

  7. One could equally well say that Japan provoked the economic sanctions imposed on it.

  8. Even a child with Down Syndrome would be able to see this “gas attack” is orchestrated.

    No single adult individual who is paying any attention to this at all can believe the story the West is trying to sell.

  9. David in Ukraine14 April 2018 at 10:29

    Congratulations on publication at - again :).

  10. Craig Murray is an Assange tool who was hospitalized for alcoholism/mental breakdown. I would not take his word for much. And Mr Doom is laying on America's lust for war a bit thick.

    1. He had a serious depression. I don't think he is an alcoholic but if he were so what? He is a Liberal Democrat which is bad but his memoir of Uzbekistan is excellent reading. He played a rather heroic role there.

    2. So because he’s suffered from depression in the past it means he’s not qualified to draw attention to facts which expose the British regime’s ridiculously flimsy narrative on the Skripals or Syria? What a low grade moron you are, Mr. Anonymous.

  11. Alcoholics are drama-prone, which Mr Murray is. One does not join the diplomatic service to publicly weep and wail.

  12. The day after it was shelled by US Tomahawk missiles, Russian TV accidently showed piles of rusty bombs on the Shayrat airbase which look very much like old Soviet chemical weapons. Russians explained that these were not chemical, but "just" cluster bombs.