Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves Over Syria

On the gassing of children in Syria:

US President Donald Trump has condemned the killing of dozens of civilians in northern Syria in an apparent chemical weapons attack by Syria’s air force.

It was an “affront to humanity”, he said, adding: “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies… that crosses… many lines.”

Well, we knew Assad was capable of doing this as he’d done it before. There are quite a few on the alt-right and elsewhere who seem to think the West should not be involved in Syria because Assad isn’t that bad and he’s the only one who can keep control. I think Assad has proved he is pretty bad, but in all honesty he is the only one who can keep control, and there is no alternative. This doesn’t mean the West has to like him or work with him or give him the time of day, but it does mean that there is precious little they can do about it – gassed children or not.

He did not mention Russia, Syria’s ally, which says chemical weapons in rebel hands may have been released.

Does he have to? Russia has made it perfectly clear that Assad is their man. They probably sold him the weapons we’re talking about.

But America’s envoy to the UN accused Russia of covering up for Damascus.

“Time and time again Russia uses the same false narrative to deflect attention from their ally in Damascus,” Nikki Haley said during a heated UN Security Council debate in New York.

Hinting at possible unilateral action by the US, she added: “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”

And finally we get to the real story, the utter ineffectiveness and uselessness of the UN. Other than to provide cover for dictators gassing children, and allowing those same dictators to help pass resolutions condemning Israel’s existence, what purpose does it serve?

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Russia to “think carefully” about its continued support for President Assad.

Vice-President Mike Pence said “all options are on the table” regarding Syria.

This is actually sensible. Obama and Kerry, in displays of staggering stupidity, would routinely announce what the US was not considering whenever they were faced with a crisis such as this one. I am hoping that the US is not really considering military action over this, but there’s no need to tell everyone that, is there? But no doubt this will be presented by some sections of the media as Trump gearing up for war.

In an interview with Fox News, he added: “The Russians are in a close working alliance with the Assad regime in Syria, and the time has come for them to keep the word that they made to see to the elimination of chemical weapons so that they no longer threaten the people in that country.”

They were never going to keep their word: stop being so idiotically naive. Instead, understand what sort of regime Putin is running and learn to deal with it.

Only last week, Ms Haley said the US was no longer prioritising the removal of President Assad, a shift in US policy from the Obama era.

The US is no longer prioritising the tried, failed, and impossible? That’s good news.

A chemical weapons expert, Col Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, told the BBC the Russian version of events was “pretty fanciful”.

Well, yes. But so what? We knew that years ago.

I still have no idea what the West hopes to achieve by getting all outraged about this. Russia’s intervention has guaranteed Assad’s survival, and they don’t appear to be in the least bit interested in reining in any excesses on his part. Short of all-out war with Russia, which nobody wants, there’s nothing the West can do. Yes, it is terrible, but so is all-out war with Russia. Despite the conspiracy-mongers on the internet who think the CIA started the uprising against Assad, and despite the idiotic, half-arsed attempts to arm jihadists and “moderate” rebels by Obama, very little of what is happening can be blamed on the West. The blame lies solely at the feet of Assad and Russia.

If the West really wants to do something about it they ought to start by withdrawing from the United Nations, thus removing from these regimes the legitimacy the organisation grants them. The priority of Western governments should be protecting their own countries such that a shit-show like the one in Syria does not impact on their citizens at home. It’s bad luck for the Syrians, particularly the parents of the kids who’ve been gassed, but what is the alternative? In the absence of all viable solutions to help others it’s about time Western governments started focussing on the wellbeing of their own citizens and, possibly, a handful of foreigners who are not habitually on record saying they absolutely detest them and everything they stand for.

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21 thoughts on “Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves Over Syria

  1. The best thing for these types of wars is for them to be over quickly. The longer they go on the worse they tend to get. By arming opposition forces all that has happened is that the war has lasted longer then it would have otherwise done so.
    The UN actions tend to drag these things out as well, arranging for truces while the weaker/losing side can resupply and rearm under the pretext of humanatarion aid just prevents one side or the other from winning.
    As bad as this attack has been it may encourage the losing side to come to terms sooner rather than later and thus save lives.
    And yes we should keep out of it, and thank you for a great post. I enjoy reading your BLOG, this is my first comment here.

  2. SteveT,

    Firstly, many thanks for visiting and commenting.

    Secondly, see here, especially the comments.

  3. There was a nice part of one of the Craig Bond films where Jeffrey someone, the CIA man, was asked whether he was onboard or was not, whether he could be trusted or not. It was pointed out to him that if we only dealt with good people, there’d be no one left to deal with.

  4. Things are definitely heating up folks, this is significant. Without getting into the whos and whys and whether or not Assad is a bad guy, the one and only thing that struck me when I seen Trump’s announcement on the box, was the person that was standing next to him.

    King Abdullah of Jordan we should expect to see more of him as the Islamic end times unfolds.

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/politics/2015/6/10/whats-in-a-flag-raising-jordans-red-standard-high

  5. I still do not understand why Assad would do this when things have been turning in his favour. What has he got to gain?

  6. I don’t think we should be involved in any of these country’s internecine squabbles because they aren’t going to buy democracy or ‘western values’ and so on at the end of it. Other than our weapons, we have nothing they want. It may all be terrible but they have to sort it out themselves, or rather the winners have to sort out what they have wrought. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Sorry.

    As for the UN, they really are useless. They exist to score shallow debating points, give fat dictators a week’s shopping in New York and appoint misogynists to female rights committees. In one of PJ O’Rourke’s books he has a section on UN peacekeepers who stand and watch atrocities without coming to anyone’s rescue. In fact, he went through one log of a group of peacekeepers which detailed what had gone around the troops but noted the ‘action taken’ column was always blank.

  7. Can one 90% rule out a false flag operation. Much reporting from the rebel side has been accepted as unquestionable truth that has been anything but.

  8. Ljh,

    It might well be a false flag operation, but my broader point is that it doesn’t matter: good or bad, Assad is there to stay so long as 1) the Russians are supporting him and 2) there is no alternative. In other words, he’s there indefinitely, regardless of whether he’s gassing kids or not.

    Look at ISIS: they’re massacring ethnic minorities, selling kids as sex slaves, and burning pilots alive and the world isn’t doing anything because they either can’t or don’t want to. I’m fast coming to the conclusion everyone needs to be a lot more like the Israelis: look after themselves, rely on nobody. We can offer protection to others if they modify their behaviour accordingly, but the first sign of ingratitude or freeloading, they’re on their own.

  9. In one of PJ O’Rourke’s books he has a section on UN peacekeepers who stand and watch atrocities without coming to anyone’s rescue. In fact, he went through one log of a group of peacekeepers which detailed what had gone around the troops but noted the ‘action taken’ column was always blank.

    Which is preferable to their running child sex rings, which is what they usually get up to.

  10. Tim Newman: the west will have to abandon the cultural masochism that has brought it to this point and reembrace enlightenment values, pride in achievements and a respect for empirical truth, before it will defend itself. Perhaps Trump may kick things off by withdrawing the USA from the UN, but I am not optimistic even though he has made the right noises on Nato.

  11. I’m always at a loss to explain why these chemical attacks are worse than the ordinary ones. I don’t recall anybody except the usual bleeding-hearts giving a shit about all the Syrian children getting shot and bombed the day before. I suppose you could say that poison gas causes worse injuries, but it’s not an argument I’d care to make in front of someone with three foot of shrapnel up their arse.

  12. Multiple theaters now heating up, this will bring the UN to the brink.

    “A spokesman for the US Defense Department, Commander Gary Ross, said on Thursday the United States viewed China’s establishment of an East China Sea ADIZ in 2013 as “a unilateral change to the status quo … that raises regional tensions and increases the risk of miscalculation, confrontation and accidents”.

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2081781/us-rejects-plea-respect-air-defence-zone-over-east

  13. I still do not understand why Assad would do this when things have been turning in his favour. What has he got to gain?

    Indeed, I can’t answer that.

    I’m always at a loss to explain why these chemical attacks are worse than the ordinary ones.

    Nor that.

  14. Again, with dulce et decorum est, one wonders if gas is really that much worse than having your guts carved out or getting a gangrenous limb amputated without anaesthetic, or any of the other joys of the ancient battlefield. I’m reading a book about the battle of Trafalgar, and it all sounds pretty horrifying, but without having dented the morale of the British seamen. Perhaps that’s the difference between four hours of battle and four years of war.

    As for “false flag” stuff, well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The idea that Assad simply wouldn’t do it – isn’t that what people said last time?

  15. Fair enough maybe it is some personal opinion that I formed as young un, that death or mutilation by gas was worse than conventional lethal injury.

  16. Or maybe you’re right and it is worse. I don’t actually know what the fuck I’m talking about

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