Yeah, well, as I sit here at my little desk, polishing the fittings, smiling at the doodles penned on it by my daughter in her earlier years, I still feel a bit shell shocked. Hey, they’re still out there, I know, still planning their next actions in this ongoing conflict but, after yesterday, they’ve got a lot of wounds to lick. That gives me satisfaction, for it is surely just return, just “reward”, for them following the manner in which they have been acting and the pain and worse that they have doled out.
There is never a single war, unconnected to any others before or afterwards. World War Two was the direct result of World War One and, of course, could have been totally avoided had a range of attitudes been altered. So over sixty million lives were lost unnecessarily and countless others altered irrevocably. In the UK it is only in very recent times that we actually paid off the financial debts taken on to fight it, so the impact was felt in many ways.
Nowadays the major conflict zone is the Middle East and specifically the ill fated country of Syria. The whole region is awash with cheap money, following the exploitation of it’s huge hordes of oil, and still there is the urgent dash to find more, so dependent of this resource is the global economy. The money is poorly shared – is this not always the case! – and human life regarded as another easily replaced commodity.
Revolutions spread through Middle Eastern countries like a line of dominoes falling starting less than three years ago, each one triggering the next. For a brief moment it seemed like democratic changes might allow openness and far greater equality to emerge in what is still seen of as “The cradle of civilisation”. You never knew – it might even spread to us in the West, if we were lucky!
It’s not worked like that, of course, and there’s been retrenchment everywhere, including a recent military coup in Egypt where the most dramatic changes were witnessed two years earlier as long term despot President Mubarak was deposed by people power.
Unhappiness and ambition rose in Syria quite late, with mass demonstrations asking for change. From what to what was not clear. At that time and to date the country is not oil rich [this has the potential to change, as major fields have been detected]. Behind the demonstrations slowly arose guerrilla attacks and other out and out rebellion, again unclear how or supplied by whom or with what goal. Certainly this had not happened in the other “dominoes”.
Increasingly the Syrian government used its troops to attempt to contain this “rebellion” and the ongoing demonstrations were given shorter and shorter shrift – far less tolerance. They could be, and were, used as cover for rebel actions. Arrests were made to attempt to weaken and halt the rebel forces and the atmosphere between the government and – legitimate – demonstrators became increasingly tense.
It became increasingly clear that much outside influence was being brought to bear on the country – both mercenary and crusading fighters, backed with funding and hardware from countries such as Saudi Arabia, other oil Sheikdoms, the USA, the UK, France, Turkey and others. Israel’s position was typically obscure. They continue to occupy the Golan Heights, in Syria, and have sent odd, unprovoked air strikes into Syria citing ” countering transfer of materials to Lebanese rebels” as their reason. I’ve seen no evidence of their supplying the “rebel” fighters. They are smart enough to understand that munitions can be used against their manufacturer – having done so themselves.
So the situation has morphed from legitimate internal protests against the democratic Syrian Government under President Assad into a wholesale, internationally backed, siege of the country with “rebels” drawn from a wide – non Syrian – base and supplied from an almost infinite armory. “Hell, you can pay us later in oil”. Hell indeed.
Last week pictures emerged to illustrate 200 to 1500 deaths in a suburb of Damascus, seemingly arisen from the use of chemical weaponry. It has been used to pin down Assad and his government by US, UK and French governments (NOT people) who say “Assad has used illegal weapons on his own people. This is against international law so we can now send in our bombers, missiles and the like and TAKE CONTROL AND TEACH HIM, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD, NOT TO DO THIS EVER AGAIN”.
The Syrian government deny any connection to this barbaric act “We would do that the day United Nations Inspectors arrive in Damascus to investigate such matters? Are you out of your minds?” They have a vast stack of logic on their side.
But, hey US hawks, supported by UK sparrows – William Hague, foreign secretary, and David Cameron, “prime minister” – wanted blood. Yesterday morning, after weeks of fluttering around with great inconsequentiality, Hague was adamant “Look, they won’t let me join Al Qaida so this is the only way I can join in the game. I wanna use my bombers on that nasty Assad man”. His play friend David echoed pretty much the same: “Look, he did it, he did it, he did it and, look, we’re gonna get him. You’ll see. We don’t need your permission. We’re going to do it anyway.” This latter is reference to the United Nations Security Council, but hey, who are they?
Frankly I was worried. I mean, I’d seen it coming and staunchly opposed it wherever I could. Little me. Using words. A couple of days earlier I left messages with the “Stop the War Coalition” asking what protests were being organised. No reply, no notice on their web site or Facebook.
So yesterday I emailed my MP arguing he vote a loud NO to the recalled parliament, summoned for today (Thursday) by his boss to rubber stamp military action. I posted and reposted notices about the insanity wherever I could online. Later on, I was overjoyed to see a flash-demo had assembled in London to wave banners “Keep out of Syria” and the like.
And then, by mid evening, the craziness had been drawn back, the boys – David and William – put back in their cots and told to be quiet and go to sleep. We would, after all, listen to the United Nations and not play God with our vastly superior fire power to crush a legitimate, democratically elected and internationally besieged country. Perhaps, now, we might even start to help them instead. Now that really would be progress.
Mmm, but what brought about the change in attitude? Who took the boys toys off them? Who put them to bed?
Was it us?