By Luke James in Britain:
Syrian war drums beat ever louder
Monday 26 August 2013
Mr Hague hinted the government was ready to launch an armed response to the Syrian civil war after around 300 people were reportedly killed in a chemical attack.
He said the UN security council had not “shouldered its responsibilities” on Syria because Russia and China have resisted military intervention.
But the Tory minister argued it was possible to respond to the use of chemical weapons “without complete unity” on the council.
Defending the prospect of a unilateral attack with the US, he said: “Otherwise it might be impossible to respond to such outrages, to such crimes.”
Mr Hague’s comments come before a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council on Wednesday which PM David Cameron has returned from holiday to chair.
MPs from all parties immediately called for an emergency session of Parliament to debate whether Britain should wade into the war.
Labour shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said: “If, in reality, the Prime Minister is now considering military options involving UK personnel then of course I would expect him to seek a recall of Parliament.”
He insisted Mr Cameron should “come to the House of Commons and make his case in advance of a decision being made.”
Opposition forces accused government troops of being behind last week’s reported gas attack but President Bashar al-Assad dismissed the claim as “politically motivated.”
Distressing but unverified footage of dead bodies and hospitalised children emerged after the reported incident.
Veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn urged leaders today to make a “rational response” to the “terrible pictures of the atrocity in Syria.”
He said: “Instinctively we all want to punish the perpetrators and ensure there will be no repeat of this mass slaughter. That’s the emotional reaction.
“The rational one is to measure the consequences of our using force in the Syrian civil war.”
Mr Flynn added that both sides in the conflict have complex interests and said the consequences of intervention were completely unpredictable.
And he warned: “A civil war with evil fanatics on both sides could quickly escalate into a regional war and a world war.”
By Lindsey German in Britain:
When will the West ever learn?
Monday 26 August 2013
The latest horrific casualties in Syria, suspected of being the result of a chemical weapons attack, have been the occasion for a new round of demands for Western intervention in the country.
While details of the case are disputed, the use of chemical weapons should be condemned, whoever uses them.
But this latest attack should not be used as a pretext for military intervention, which will only worsen the situation there.
This is especially true when those condemning the use of these weapons have few qualms about using them (as the US has done in Iraq and in Vietnam) or of manufacturing deadly weapons, which they happily sell to dictators and despots around the world.
The latest incident in Syria crosses a red line for the Turkish government, which is urging further intervention.
A UN investigation has already begun but that isn’t enough for the Western powers and their allies in the Middle East.
While the UN dresses up the move for further intervention in humanitarian demands, any such step by France, Britain, the US or its regional neighbours will not stop the war now going on in Syria. It will exacerbate it and lead to greater casualties on all sides.
The tragedy of Syria is that the civil war there has turned into a proxy war with implications way beyond its borders and with outside intervention on a scale which resembles the 19th century carve-ups of the Balkans between the various empires of Europe.
A variety of countries have already supplied money, arms and special forces. US, British and other troops are on manoeuvres in Jordan, sending warships to the eastern Mediterranean and recognising and funding a “government in waiting” of the Syrian opposition.
The humanitarian credentials of the intervening countries are threadbare.
Saudi Arabia, which has poured arms and money in to overthrow Assad, who is a close ally of Saudi enemy Iran, is one of the most repressive and illiberal regimes in the world. Its support for brutal repression of demonstrators in Bahrain and its current support for the coup in Egypt which has led to thousands dead, belie any talk of protecting rights, freedoms and human life.
Turkey’s record on human rights, from its persecution and imprisonment of journalists to its long-running war and persecution of the Kurds, demonstrates that its support for the opposition Free Syrian Army is more about its own strategic interests in the region than anything else.
It may be that the ferocious calls to use force are in part an attempt to gain more access to different parts of Syria for the UN weapons inspectors, who are in the country investigating previous claims of chemical weapons use.
Twice in the last century – after the first and second world wars – there was a major reshaping of the Middle East. This was done not in the interests of the people of the region, but of the imperial powers.
Their ability to learn from their mistakes has proved to be zero, while their propensity to repeat the mistakes continues.
Western intervention in Syria, or anywhere else in the Middle East, would deny freedom and justice to its people and fuel greater displacement and war.
A Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop on Monday warned that an armed intervention in Syria could unleash a “world war”, while the Vatican’s official newspaper called for more “prudence” from Western powers: here.
Britain and other imperialist states are in danger of sleepwalking their way into an unjustifiable military adventure in Syria that could engulf the entire region in flames: here.
The U.S. Knew Iraq Was Using Chemical Weapons, Helped Out Anyway: here.
- Britain preparing military intervention in Syria (en.trend.az)
- David Cameron urged to recall Parliament to discuss situation as missile strike against Syria looms (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Russia warns West over ‘illegal’ Syria intervention (telegraph.co.uk)