The Syrian Problem

Talk of bombing Syria breaks my heart. Syria which used to be a beacon of culture and history in the Middle East is now a place of destruction and war. With 11 million of its citizens fleeing, Syria is in a mess. In order to solve any  problem we need to look at the root cause.

The civil war in Syria started during the Arab Spring where groups of normal Syrians started protesting about the dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad. As Assad’s army started becoming heavy handed with its own citizens, shooting and killing them because they were rebelling against the government, groups started forging, and fighting against Assad’s forces.  Free Syria Army was one of the groups armed with weapons from America and Britain. Another one of those groups were Daesh (Islamic State) who were also fighting against Assad’s oppression and force. Fast forward three years and Daesh have conquered areas in Iraq and Syria, and putting it simply have lost the plot. With their violent tactics they’ve somehow managed to make Assad look like a good guy. When in fact he is not. He’s slaughtered more Syrians than Daesh have, and also used chemical weapons.

This is one of the main reasons I object to air strikes in Syria. In essence we are helping Assad (aka the Butcher) because we are trying to defeat his enemy too. Let’s not forget David Cameron wanted to wipe Assad out in 2013 because of the sheer butchery he’d imposed on his own people.

Another reason is that thought Cameron says there’s an end plan and strategy, he hasn’t said what. He’s acknowledged that we need to get rid of Assad after they’ve dealt with Daesh, but let’s be realistic, how will that happen with Russia supporting him? Will we have the resources? How can that happen without ground troops? We’ve been bombing Iraq for over a year and all that’s happened is that Paris, Tunisia, Beirut and Mali to name a few have been targets, not forgetting the Russian passenger plane departing Sharm El Sheikh.

I still believe dropping bombs will not only be counter productive, it will be a waste of money, not to mention the ‘collateral damage’ ie. more Syrian deaths. It’s a symbolic act of alliance to France, America and now Germany too to go ahead with the bombing. Taking a chance with our security just so our PM can join in with the big boys is irresponsible. There is no evident terror threat from Daesh in the UK. That’s something that has been confirmed, the evidence is insufficient. Yes Paris happened, but Paris is in France, who has been involved in military action in Syria and Iraq for a while now.

I fear that an attack will take place here after Britain join in with air strikes in Syria. I really hope I’m wrong but this move will make it inevitable.

So if we don’t bomb Syria, what should we do?

My answer is that we should withdraw all our troops from Iraq and Syria. In fact withdraw them from all Middle Eastern lands. If Daesh’s war is about reestablishing a warped version of the caliphate then let them. Because in reality they’re not going to get very far — the people don’t want their version of a militant, violent Islam, it just won’t happen. Kurdish fighters from Turkey are already fighting them on the ground. Let Turkey fight them. If they look east let Iran deal with them. On the other side is Jordan, Lebanon,  Saudia Arabia, Israel and Egypt— all countries that are equipped to deal with them. They all have armies, why does Britain and the Allies have to meddle and be involved? Let them have it out. It’s this meddling for decades that has led to the uprising of Daesh.

It may seem radical to suggest such a thing but it’s the only way to make this country safe, long term. If you want to preserve our security here in Britain then get our troops out. Their beef with the West is all about this — occupation.

The other solution is a diplomatic one or one which cuts off their supply to arms and money. Who is buying oil from Daesh? If it’s Turkey, then talk to Turkey. If it’s Saudi supplying weapons then talk to Saudi, after all they’re an Ally.  If it’s not their governments but individuals, then apply pressure on those governments to get that intelligence and do something to stop it. The reality is that there are solutions but the Conservatives want to go to war. They want the kudos and they want benefits which come from war — defence contracts and another foothold in the Middle East.

Tomorrow the government will hold the vote to see how many MPs in Parliament will back air strikes in Syria. If they vote yes which seems to be what is predicted then this is sending the wrong message to Daesh, one of violence and revenge, one that is inviting them to come and retaliate here on our soil.

War should always be the last resort, not the first.

 

 

 

Advertisements

To bomb or not to bomb?

David Cameron is at it again, trying to get support from the House of Commons for dropping bombs in Syria. This time to fight Daesh —previously known as ISIL, ISIS or Islamic State. I am calling them this because the word disassociates itself from the word Islamic and the religion of Islam. Some commentators have begun calling them Daesh which I applaud and to me it just makes sense.

It was only 2013 when David wanted to bomb  Syria’s president Bashar Al Assad but didn’t get enough votes to go ahead. So now he wants to bomb Daesh in Syria and not Assad, even though Assad also wants to get rid of Daesh, as do the Russians, the French and the Americans. Practically everyone, so why does our PM want to get involved too? His appetite for bombing Syria has been there for over 2 years now and I worry it’s more to do with his street cred in the big wide world than anything else. I think it may be just so he can look like a big boy with all the other big boys in the playground. Let the world know that he’s no wimp, he is tough, powerful and important and has the balls to take on Daesh on their turf.

He claims it is because there is a real terrorist threat to Britain, and somehow bombing Syria will lessen that threat. For me that doesn’t make any sense at all. France have been bombing Iraq and Syria for a while and we all know what happened there. Russia is also heavily involved with arming Assad and intervening and their passenger plane was blown up in Egypt killing over 200 of its countrymen. How will it make our country safer? It won’t. I fear it will make the threat more urgent and real.

Britain dropping bombs in Syria is going to kill more Syrians civilians who have already endured over 4 years of war and persecution, creating a bigger refugee crisis which Europe has to deal with — the more bombs that are dropped, the more Syrians will want to leave. It will anger Daesh and spur them on to commit more atrocities most probably in Britain.

In the last ten ears or so, no military intervention by Britain in the Middle East has been successful. Be it Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya, lets face it, its been a shambles. The consequences have left a hot bed for breeding extremism and violence which has only escalated across the region since the invasion of Iraq. In a country like Pakistan, Islamic terrorism was almost unheard of prior to 9/11, but after the invasion of Afghanistan it too has become a breeding ground for extremists, and even has its own Taliban. How many  more countries are we going to bomb? With no exit strategy, you’d think history has taught us what not to do. But no, here we are again debating the same issues that we always debate after terrorist attacks.

The interesting thing is the value of defence companies in the FTSE 100 has gone up this week by 2%. Hmm so who is benefitting from dropping bombs? Not the Syrians, and certainly not us in the West who will be more vulnerable to the terrorist threat.

When Tony Blair went to war with Iraq in 2003, it was only two years later on July 7th when London was attacked by suicide bombers. Coincidence? I think not. The attacks and locations are planned and carefully thought out, they don’t just choose random cities. There is always a political cause with a specific target.

Bombing Syria will be counter productive and will only cause more death and destruction, and make our world a far more dangerous place.

 

 

Paris 13/11

In the aftermath of Paris, where 129 innocent people have been killed in bomb attacks the world seems to have come to a standstill. Whilst watching the coverage as it was happening, me like most Muslims were hoping and praying that ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) were not responsible. But deep down in our hearts we knew, and unsurprisingly ISIL have since claimed responsibility.

We are now expecting the backlash and reprisal attacks. One Muslim woman was already bottled in Fulham, London within 24 hours of the attacks in Paris, and a Muslim woman was abused whilst praying in Australia. This is just the beginning for when Muslim terrorists strike, life becomes increasingly difficult for all other Muslims, especially covered women who are not only identifiable as Muslims but also deemed as easy targets.

The hate on Twitter was immediate and immense, where I read many tweets like ‘Kill all Muslims’ and ‘Get all Muslims out of my country.’ Emotions are running high understandably but whenever an attack like this occurs some people think it is an opportunity to incite racial hatred. We’ve seen it before after 9/11, 7/7, Charlie Hebdo, innocent people die and then Muslims get the brunt of it.

What happened in Paris was sheer horror, it was gruesome and it was bloody but it also happened in Lebanon the day before. It also happened in Baghdad two days ago. Why don’t we care about these lives? Same group, same motives but different lives. Lives that aren’t white, lives that aren’t European or American, why do they matter less?

Is it because we think the Middle East is some medieval part of the world which we can’t identify with? Have we become desensitised to the deaths in the Middle East? Whether they die in Palestine, Iraq or Syria, why don’t we care as much? These are questions we all need to ask ourselves.

Is it because Paris is in Europe, which is geographically near to us or that we all hold special memories from our holidays in Paris? What about those who have family in Beirut or in Baghdad, what condolences have we offered them? Or is it simply because a white life is much more valuable than any other?

In October alone the UN says 717 people died and thousands were injured from acts of terrorism in Iraq. In our heads we can’t even comprehend such a number but this is the reality.

So why France? France along with the UK and USA are involved in air strikes in Iraq against ISIL. ISIL has said in its statement – this is a revenge attack for the military intervention in Iraq and Syria. Make no mistake and please do not believe the politicians who want you to think ‘ This is an attack on our freedom and our way of life.’ No it’s not, it’s revenge for joining Putin and Assad in attacking a shared enemy.

What is almost laughable if it wasn’t so ironically tragic is that Bashar Al Assad has killed more people than ISIL, yet we continue to ignore Assad. Assad has the backing of Putin so we are also indirectly assisting him in trying to destroy our shared enemy. The biggest powers in the world are trying to defeat ISIL and like with any war the enemy will strike back. And it has.

Things are bleak, for all we can do really is hope that the politicians in France, the US and UK don’t make any knee jerk decisions. Like George Bush did after 9/11 and invaded Afghanistan only to find Bin Laden many years later in a different country. Whatever they do decide, and chances are it will involve increased military intervention and violence in the region, only more bloodshed is to follow. Whether it’s our military sending drones to Iraq, or ISIL attacking European cities no one really knows the end game. No one really understands how to overcome the problem of ISIL and how it was created in the first place.

The only thing we can do is try and understand each other and unite against violence whether it’s in Baghdad, Beirut or Paris. Murder is murder regardless of the skin colour or religion of the victims, or the motives of the perpetrator.