Tag Archives: syria

Idlib gas attack? Is “Not Proven” currently the least worst verdict?

 

Scottish juries have the choice of three verdicts – Guilty, Not Guilty and Not Proven. This multiple choice is much more real to life than the “English” binary or oppositional choice of guilty or not guilty.

In non-judicial or “everyday terms” the Scottish three-way choice when facing a decision is “yes”; “no”; “I don’t know.” The Scottish choice seems to be closer to real life and so is worth using when considering and possibly taking action on matters of and relating to armed conflict which deals in death, mutilation, madness, theft and profit as well as, if not always, bravery and altruism.

Here are some questions and comments which appear to indicate that a Not Proven verdict is currently the most accurate fit before, it is hoped, an accurate analysis of responsibilities for the gas attacks is made.

How do we know what we are told and shown is reasonably genuine?

Posted in Op-eds | 78 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: Why I support Trump’s Syria strike

Tim Farron has written for the Guardian about why he has decided to support the US action in Syria on Friday morning. There are caveats, though:

However, we disagree with the way in which he conducted it – unilaterally, without allies, outside of a wider strategy. Trump saw a wrong and wanted to react, no doubt in large part to differentiate himself from Barack Obama. But taking matters into his own hands without thinking of the consequences, without a wider plan, without considering what next, exposes both his naivety about how the world works and his potential to create instability on an international scale.

So, how should the UK respond now? Trump has made it clear that this was a one-off, which Michael Fallon has echoed, and we should welcome that. This wasn’t about intervention in Syria. The purpose was twofold: to send the strongest possible signal of condemnation of Assad’s actions, and to ensure he is much less likely to be able to act in that way again. The Syrian regime and their Russian allies may be acting outraged on their respective state television channels, but they have been sent a message they will surely not now ignore.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 51 Comments

Successfully defending a Syrian safe area

On Thursday on Question Time Tim Farron spoke in favour of protecting Syrian people from the murder visited on them by Assad’s military.  I applaud Tim’s decision to do so, especially in the light of earlier Lib Dem votes against military action. However, in doing so I have to insert the caveat that a solution based on air power alone is in fact no solution at all.

To illustrate my argument I must take you all back before the Iraq war and to the North and South Iraq No Fly Zones. In the north the NFZ was a success, with very few civilian casualties caused by the Iraqi military. In the south however, it could not have been more different, with villages being decimated and the genocide of an entire people very nearly enabled.

So what was the difference between the Northern and Southern No Fly Zones? Quite simply, it was the Kurdish ground troops protecting their people from murder by Saddam’s security forces. There was no equivalent in the south and so the armed forces were able to act with impunity (albeit without the comfort of air cover), murdering their people and even re-routing the Euphrates in order to starve the Marsh Arabs.

Posted in News | 20 Comments

Martin Horwood writes…Trump’s step into very dangerous waters

American bombing in Syria may make Donald Trump a hero on the streets of Idlib. Those fighting for simple democratic rights in Syria felt bitterly let down by the west in 2013 when we failed to take action the first time there was good evidence that the monstrous Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people.

We still live with the consequences of that inaction. We were warned our intervention against Assad might make the situation worse. The situation got worse anyway as Assad continued to kill his own people in their thousands with impunity. Millions fled their homes. The sudden rise of Isis/Daesh added a twisted new complication and cover for much larger-scale foreign intervention but by Russia instead of the west. But devastating Russian firepower was aimed much more frequently at the democratic rebels who were pounded into the ground at Aleppo. Increasingly it looked as though Assad’s relentless brutality had paid off and he could even get away with more chemical attacks in clear breach of international law.

So does this make Trump right to strike?

Posted in News | Also tagged | 22 Comments

Lib Dems respond to US air strikes on Syria

It was quite disconcerting to wake up this morning to see that Donald Trump had launched air strikes. There is no question that Syria needs to be dealt with. You just can’t have any government getting away with gassing its own people. I just feel uneasy about Donald Trump being in charge of this. Does he even have a proper strategy? I also feel uneasy about our Government just slipping into line behind him.

On Question Time last night, Tim Farron was talking about the importance of establishing no fly zones and of humanitarian aid, but made clear that doing nothing was not an option in the face of an attack as horrific as the one we saw earlier this week.

He has since described Trump’s action as “proportionate” but went on to say that our Government’s response was not sufficient:

The attack by American forces was a proportionate response to the barbarous attack by the Syrian government on its own people.

The British government rather than just putting out a bland statement welcoming this should now follow it up and call an emergency meeting of the Nato alliance to see what else can be done, be that more surgical strikes or no fly zones.

Evil happens when good people do nothing, we cannot sit by while a dictator gasses his own people. We cannot stand by, we must act.

I don’t always agree with what they say, but in situations like this, I always look for the views of three people: Paddy, Ming and Julie Smith

On Twitter, Paddy said:

I also had a conversation with Julie on Twitter:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 71 Comments

Observations of an expat: Disastrous Middle East victory

 

It looks as if the fighting in Iraq and Syria will draw to a close in 2017. We won and lost.

Isis,  Isil, Daesh, Al-Nusra, A lQaeeda, whatever name the Jihadists call themselves  have been pushed out of the remains of Aleppo and are hanging on by their blood-soaked fingertips in Mosul and Raqqa.

Also destroyed and seeking peace terms are Western-backed rebels in the Free Syrian Army and its dozens of feuding constituent parts.

The Obama Administration and its 13 allies backing air strikes could claim victory.  They may even try to do so.  And in terms of denying the Jihadists a territorial base, there are justifiable grounds for a victory claim.

However, Islamic extremism is far from defeated. Jihadists have repeatedly displayed their prowess in filling political vacuums wherever they occur, and Western intelligence agencies are issuing dire warnings of attacks on Western soil orchestrated by bitter battle-hardened extremists in full flight from the Middle East.

No, the real winners are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran and Hezbollah.  And the real result is a massive defeat for the democratic hopes of the 2011 Arab Spring and a  victory for tyranny

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments

Aleppo must be a wake up call

Amid the humanitarian catastrophe that has been the siege and fall of Aleppo, both supporters and opponents of earlier calls for military action by the West against Assad have been claiming vindication by events. Perhaps some are relieved that the TV pictures of bloodied children in rubble can be attributed to Russian bombs rather than Western ones.

And perhaps we are guilty – as the EU is supposedly guilty of welcoming closer ties with Ukraine – of seeing a potential for good in the Arab Spring. Torment nobody with the promise of freedom and democracy unless you can deliver it, at gunpoint if necessary? Don’t start a civil war you can’t win, however bad your government?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 29 Comments
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    @ Eugene I think it is sweet of you to give us advice, but I don’t think you understand us, where is the evidence that...
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