Aleppo and Mosul

Pity the poor people of Aleppo and Mosul. Pity the poor children. Our hearts go out to those who face the bombs and bullets, and try to survive in such war torn cities.

The west is rightly united in condemning the atrocities in Aleppo. The UK Foreign Office has made clear its fury, stating that “The actions of Assad and Russia are driving radicalisation and fuelling terrorism, not tackling it”. Many have protested to demand the West does more, and many MPs have spoken in the Commons of the need to relieve the pain.

The problem is what can the West do that can make the situation better? A much reviled but internationally recognised government in Syria has asked for Russian help. The area is now well armed by Syrian forces. President Obama has judged that any military intervention by a US led coalition would make the position worse so he is not proposing to try landing NATO troops or inserting more western warplanes and missiles into a highly explosive situation with all too many bombs already. Those the West would best protect might not welcome a full frontal war between the West and Assad, given the intensity of the violence that would require. Assad is able to exploit the unwillingness of the outgoing President to undertake more intense military action, and the delay before a new President. Mrs Clinton might be more belligerent.

Meanwhile the Iraqi government is seeking to evict ISIL from Mosul and the surrounding area by using substantial military force on the ground. Most agree that ISIL is a dangerous terrorist grouping with links to Al Qaeda affiliates. The problem is a military solution entails a lot of death and destruction. ISIL kill, maim and cow the civilian population, They may now take human shields and expose them to more risk as the Iraqi forces draw nearer. Let us hope that the action to recapture lost territory by the Iraqi forces does not lead to an ISIL inspired massacre.

There are no easy answers for this war torn and troubled part of the world. I Just thought I would give you, my readers, the chance to say your piece on these two conflicts. In the end these countries have to be stabilised by a political process. Governing forces have to emerge that can govern by laws and civil justice, not by force of arms. This still seems a long way off. Gaining military advantage for one side or the other does not necessarily speed a peace.

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120 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    You make all the right points.

    As you say:- Obama has judged that any military intervention by a US led coalition would make the position worse – for once he is probably right. Certainly the UK can do very little indeed that would be likely to improve matters and could easily make things far worse.

    • Hope
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      JR, what a lad of tosh. This would not get happened no or have continued for so lmuch no had we, the West, not intervened by helping rebel groups who we did not know who they were or what they represented. Hague gave away millions of our taxes to rebels which helped caused this tragedy. Cameron wanted more much earlier. This was none of our business and not in our national interest. Political vanity. Cameron and Hollande got Regime change in Libya thereby causing a disaster we now see and thought they could do the same in Syria without putting many boots in the ground.

      The West does not have clean hands in this mess. We are now expected to take more mass immigration from this mess. Enough. No more Middle East wars and no more and migration , our public services cannot cope and our security services overwhelmed.

    • Hope
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      I would love me a judicial inquiry, with all available punishments, for Cameron seeking regime changed in Lybia going beyond any sham UN resolution failed r Benghazi. He the tried his luck with Syria and lucky lay failed. Blair still needs to be brought to book over Iraq. Too many sham whitewash expensive inquiries that do not stand up to scrutiny.

      Politicians can no longer be trusted to take such decisions anymore, we nee more referenda. Westminster is rotten to its core and not fit for purpose.

      • NA
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        JR, what a lad of tosh. This would not get happened no or have continued for so lmuch no had we, the West, not intervened by helping rebel groups who we did not know

        >
        As per usual I find myself agreeing with Hope.
        According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas,

        “I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”

        Who are these “top British officials”? We need to know so we can study their character and learn how not to be.

  2. Mark B
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Every time I post on this subject and try to expose those who are behind the terrorists opposing the, Assad government (elected by the people and not a bunch of Warlords), I either get the post banned or delayed. But we all know who is backing them, so I will leave it there 😉

    From Persia to the West African coast, with the exception of Israel, can anyone here name one Liberal Western style democracy ? Thought not ! Which begs a number of questions. Why is it just the Assad government ? Why is not the West intervening in all those other non-democratic nations and especially Libya ?

    I think this has less to do with democracy and saving the children and more to do with power politics and removing a Russian ally in the region.

    Russia has sent ships there. She is making a statement that she intends to defend both her friend and assets in the region. There was a time when, long, long ago, the West would have dared not intervene eg Afghanistan, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Mark. Whatever your views on Putin he sticks by his alies and puts Russia first. Unlike our mealy mouthed political class who treat us with utter contempt.
      I see the MOD is about to spend £3 billion on German armoured cars without tendering and no offset investment.
      Can you imagine any other country ignoring local producers and then complaining we don’t have the skills and the trade deficit soars.
      Our rulers are drunk on EU membership and will do anything to frustrate our wishes.
      Maybe John can enlighten us as to why we have to rely on foreigners for our defence.
      No wonder Putin is laughing.

      • Mitchel
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        The former Alvis factory on the outskirts of Coventry is now a retail park.Says it all really!

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Dead right.

          I took my driving test in Coventry forty-odd years ago. I drove up the Hollyhead Road a few weeks ago and could hardly recognise the place.

          At one time, in the early 1970s, I was all lined up for an apprenticeship at Alvis where they made some very innovative military vehicles, until Mrs. T. put the school leaving age up, whereby my induction was summarily cancelled. I subsequently went to work at GEC telecommunications instead, and I see that’s gone too.

          Our industrial decline is lamentable, but I’m afraid unless we can build the right products at the right price, manufacturing is going to struggle. And that other selling point, uniqueness, is only good for so long until someone else learns to do it cheaper and better. I believe however, that the pendulum is starting to swing the other way, and we might yet re-establish a sound manufacturing base i9n the UK, and equip our own armed forces with the best locally-sourced military hardware. Looking at the future the neo-cons have got mapped out for us, we’re going to need it!

          Tad Davison

          Cambridge

          • NA
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            I took my driving test in Coventry forty-odd years ago. I drove up the Hollyhead Road

            >
            I also took my driving test on the Hollyhead Road, 30 years ago.

      • alan jutson
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Ian

        Agree with your comments about purchasing.

        Given the fall in Sterling these products will be even more expensive from abroad, unless we have a fixed price in Sterling, which I doubt.

        Steel probably also made abroad instead of here.

        Thought the government wanted to rebalance the economy by up skilling our own workforce and manufacturing industries.

        Seems like left hand and right hand not communicating.

      • APL
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg: “Putin he sticks by his alies and puts Russia first.”

        Putin is a nationalist, more power to him. The ‘internationalists’ we’re governed by, by comparisson have brought little but death an mayhem behind them, the litany of their achievements are manifold.

        Iraq 2 ( Remember on the pretext of WMD )
        Egypt – managed to replace a tolerable Eqyptian administration with the Moslem Brotherhood!
        Libya – A stable regime brought down by Obama & Clinton.

        And now Syria!

        It’s rich our host trying to blame the atrocities in Allepo and Mosul on Putin, it was the Western Allies that destroyed Iraq, it was the Western Allies that destroyed the secular regime in Libya, and they have been agitating for and supplying the anti Assad factions is Syria since Assad took over on his father’s death.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          I couldn’t agree more! People need to wake up to what is really going on, supposedly in the name of bringing western democracy to the world. That’s just a cover. And a costly one in terms of lives wasted, and human misery.

          Tad

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      See also the West’s attempt to shoehorn Montenegro into NATO(and then the EU)-to deny a little bit more of the coastline to Russia.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mark–Was I alone in finding comments elsewhere about the Russians, as is their right, sailing within 10 miles of Dover somewhat strange? Given that the Channel is only 20 miles wide and is an International Waterway what else was expected? Should they have doubled the North of Scotland? I’m hardly pro Russian but exaggeratedly painting them as devils incarnate and with rusty ships to boot is hardly sensible: reflective I suppose of our media’s scurrilous propensity to make things look worse so as to manufacture copy. I wonder what they make of the Bosporus (much narrower still).

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        I agree with that too. Not in my name. People in the UK must be far more gullible that I realised if they swallow the bilge that comes out of our domestic broadcasters.

        Tad

  3. Elliot Kane
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    I think the West could have been effective in Syria, if we had acted decisively at the start, with a clear plan of what we hoped to achieve, how we were going to achieve it and who we intended to leave in charge of the country when we were done. Unfortunately, we did none of those things. The window of opportunity for the West to successfully intervene closed the moment Russia decided to step in.

    The sad fact is that we cannot peacefully negotiate away every problem in the world, nor can all wars be ended without violence. Worst of all are the civil wars, where lingering hatreds can poison a nation for generations to come. This is the likely fate of Syria, whoever wins.

    Our efforts in Iraq are far more successful, for the simple reason that we are backing established regional forces against a clear-cut enemy who is a very real danger to both us and them. As such our role is simply to support them in taking out our common enemy; a clear role we know we can fulfil.

    One thing we definitely need to do is to have a stern word with the Turks, our supposed allies, and get them to stop bombing the Peshmerga, which at this point only serves to help ISIL. The problem is that while Turkey may be an ally, its goals in the region are very different to ours. We need to be aware of that, and cautious of it.

    Nonetheless, it seems that ISIL will soon be driven out of Iraq, which should allow the Iraqis a chance to work out their own problems, hopefully a lot more peacefully. Unfortunately, that will mean a lot of ISIL combatants scattering across the world; defeated, but not destroyed. This is the main danger we will have to watch for.

    If either Iraq or Syria could have been settled through rational debate and diplomacy, the conflicts in those unhappy nations would have ended long since. The only thing to do when war cannot be avoided is to get it over as fast as possible.

  4. Ashley Mooney
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Stable consultant Villanova administration is a prerequisite for a prosperous society. The actions of the UK in Syria and Iraq, as well as Libya, amount to nothing more than dropping a few bombs and seeing how it goes. First the UK government needs to apologise. Only when they do that will the regional forces involved respect the views and policies of the UK.

  5. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    JR why has HMG seem to have given control of who is admitted to the UK to the NGO/charity sector? Mrs Merkel seems to now regret her naivete over admitting unscreened migrants, why does Mrs May seem to have learned nothing? The behaviour of residents of Sangatte at the moment shows that they are unlikely to become model British citizens.

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Indeed,and why are the likes of George Soros and Peter Sutherland never slapped down by anyone in government?

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Excellent points.

  6. Richard1
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    It is a gruesome situation but I do not think we should start WWIII over it as Andrew Mitchell has in effect suggested by proposing the shooting down of Russian planes. We should provide humanitarian aid and refugee shelter as near as possible to the conflict – and demand the cooperation of supposedly friendly neighbouring countries. We should expose what Russia and Assad are doing so the world is clear about it, pursue individuals – including if needed Putin and of course Assad – for war crimes, however long it takes (Nazis are still being prosecuted 70 years after WWII). And we should impose tough economic sanctions on Russia, including travel bans for Putins principle henchmen involved in this. One practical step the UK govt can do is get moving with shale gas so we can put a complete stop on the purchase of a Russian gas.

    • mickc
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      How about exposing what the USA and Saudis are doing as well?

      They have created this mess…from which the UK should stay well clear.

    • Bob
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      …………. Michell should be kept well away from the levers of power, his temper tantrums do him no favours.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        His kind worry me, they really do. They talk as if war was an adventure. I bet he won’t be one of ‘the poor bloody infantry’ who has to fight on the front line when it happens! And all because the politicians can’t do their job properly and allow themselves to be manipulated by someone else’s evil intent (and by that, my eyes are cast westwards, not towards the east).

        Tad

    • zorro
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Do you really want to go there?…. Blair, Bush, Cameron, Sarkozy? I seem to recall that Assad is the legitimate President of Syria, and invited allies under international law to fight terrorists (largely foreign) slaughtering and kidnapping people in his own country. Those terrorists have been supplied/supported/tickled by you know who ?…..

      It is mooted that refugees are fleeing ‘mad, bad Assad’….. Please tell me how many Syrians claimed asylum in the UK before 2011? Assaad has been in power since 2000 and his father several decades before that. What threatt were they to UK interests?

      zorro

      • getahead
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Well said Zorro.

      • stred
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        I know Syrian Christian people in my local shop. They don’t talk about politics at all,but I know that they depair about the ignorance of the UK government and liberal politicians. They know that they will never be able to go back to the country that their descendants lived in for 2000 years.

  7. Martin pope
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Are we going to stand back and let the Turks slaughter the Kurds in northern Syria? The Kurds were fighting IS on the ground when no one else was interested. Men and women stayed and fought bravely for their land when elsewhere men of fighting age ran off to Europe

    • mickc
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I certainly hope the UK stands back. Naturally, if anyone wishes to volunteer to fight with the Kurds they should do so.

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Pity the poor people of the sink estates of the north east of England. Pity the poor children in British children’s homes. If the chattering classes uttered these words we would all be a lot better off.

    If we have resources to throw around the rest of the world it would be nice if someone could remember our own people who are in trouble.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      That is hardly comparable

      • Iain Gill
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Many are suffering far worse. We have mass rape of children in our children’s homes. Nobody has been held accountable for that, and few do gooders rallying around that cause. Many of the sink estates are left as jobless wastelands now the industry they were built to support are gone, worst schools and healthcare in the developed world.
        Surely due much higher priority from our political class.

      • Benjamin Waterhouse
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        No, they are white and British so of no interest to the chatterati.

    • bigneil
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      On the radio a few days ago – we had borrowed ANOTHER £2bn – along with cuts everywhere – why why why do we continue waving in thousands of people – a lot with no English – a lot with no skills – and all entitled to instantly walk in to a doctors or hospital. – All this is clearly deliberate – but then again – those who are rich enough to have private healthcare – and don’t need to wait weeks to see a doctor -won’t care. I’ve actually forgot what my doctor looks like. I’ve only been able to see some “stand-in with a fancy title” for that long.

    • rose
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Many of the poor children in children’s homes in the North have been moved up there from Kent in order to make way for immigrants. Why has no-one complained about this heartless treatment?

      When children are older they will have to take out loans for their university fees. But if they are Dubs’s “children” they will be paid for till they are 25 and that includes university fees etc. because they are deemed not able to take out loans. The Liberals are thought to have lost support over loans. How will Conservative voters react to their children having to take out loans and Dubs’s “children” not?

  9. Stilldark
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Washington Times 20/10/16. Hillary C embraces George S radical vision.
    Work backwards from there.

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Oh yes!And with Mr Putin being,amongst other things,the patron saint of the nation state…..

  10. fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the whole debacle in these countries is getting worse. We may not agree with how Assad runs his country or any other dictator for that matter but by going in and interfering we have made things worse. The rebels need to surrender to gain peace. I can’t see it happening any other way. Diplomatic talks don’t seem to work very well in that area of the world. They have to sort themselves out the best way they can. Somehow, one side or another has to give in and try to go back to some kind of normality. Any Western interference on a major scale could start bigger problems for many countries.

    So the jungle is being dismantled today. All I can see are a lot of out of control young male adults rioting because they don’t like what is happening. France has brought this on themselves but it seems we will get some of the problems. Devon has been chosen to take some immigrants and I know a small village near Chichester was highlighted at one time too. Probably unsuitable places for these people and adding to the problems for locals. These men hardly look like the type of people that will settle into local life!

    • BeeCee
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I thought they all had family here?

      Why are they not being sent to them?

      Where have all the vulnerable ten year olds vanished to?

    • John C.
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      They can be “settled” wherever we please, but in fact within weeks they will have made their way to London or Birmingham or Bradford. Who will stop them? We live in a fantasy world- reality has fled the coop.

  11. Nig l
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I have no confidence whatsoever in HMG considering Cameron learned nothing from Blair’s mistakes, indeed both contributed massively to the rise of Isil by taking out regional strongmen, however detestable and I suspect you voted for both. etc ed

  12. alan jutson
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Dame Rita

    Agree with you, some NGO”S, (not all) are very good at offering help and aid at a much lower cost that the foreign Office, which also more importantly goes direct to the right people, but they should certainly not be involved in any way in the picking and choosing of possible people to come to our Country given the terrorist and security threat that this may involve.

    Why are taking anyone from the Jungle at all, given we said we would take families from the camps in Lebanon who had done the right thing.

    If people have relatives here, then fill in the correct forms and paperwork and come legally instead of trying to hide in the back of a lorry, or riot on the streets of France, or anywhere else for that matter.

    • rose
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      We are now forced to take them – if they say they are under 18 – because Lord Dubs forgot his place as a peer and as a should-be grateful refugee, and mounted a coup against the Cameron government with his amendment. Both PM and Home Secretary were aware of the folly but couldn’t stop it. Now anyone in Africa or Asia who wants to come here fully paid for till they say they are 25, can. They can also bring in family.

    • dame rita webb
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      What’s peeing me off here is that I would like to bring my mother in law to the UK to give me some help with her grandchildren. She can come here but she will have no recourse to public funds. My husband has to cough up £1000 if he wants British citzenship and a passport. She is fluent in English and comes from a culture where it is shameful to seek any help from the state or charity. He is an NHS doctor. Those who are arriving at the moment who seem to have something hide (hence the blankets over the head) will more than likely have everything put a plate for themselves with no guarantee that they will behave themselves once they arrive.

      • Richard
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        They have to hide their goatees.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Present situation just shows how ineffective the United Nations is as a World Organisation.

    Whilst Assad is still alive and wanting to retain control by killing off any opposition, then you will continue to have a problem.
    The fact that Russia wants to retain influence within that area and is prepared to help him no matter what the cost in human misery simply adds to the problem.

    It has been alleged that some Arab States are or were funding ISIL, it has also been alleged that the USA turned a blind eye, certainly in the early days to such funding at the time, because they also wanted some influence within the region if the recently released Wikileaks e mails are genuine.

    If any of the above has truth behind it, then it complicates the situation even further.

    So very sad for those innocent people who are caught up in this situation.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      It is not clear to me why I as an Englishman would want my country to put our forces at risk by involving ourselves in yet another conflict which is none of our business. None of this would be taking place without the the existance of a conspiracy to destroy Western civilisation, by turning many of the countries proximate to Europe into failed states through unprovoked aggression and then driving and enticing millions of culturally incompatible migrants into our midst; add to that the plot to destroy us economically with the global warming hoax and its possible to see that most of our politicians are either dim or working for the enemy within.

  14. Bob
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    We can thank David Cameron and Obackorama for their premature withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq and their impetuous intervention in Libya.

    The Syrian conflict is being misrepresented by the compliant western media.
    Channel 4 recently had to take down a video clip when they inadvertently exposed something that gave a lie to the “western” narrative. I haven’t revealed what it was because it would be censored anyway.

    etc ed

    • Bob
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      @Mr Redwood

      Why did you edit out the names of the independent journalists in Syria?

      Reply Because I did not have time to check them and do not know them

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The most pointless, vacuous and fatuous demonstrations on this over the weekend was headed by the luvie Carey Mulligan, who said they wanted us to stop this war, glibly declare that we should impose a no fly zone, and should save the children of Aleppo, with them ending their bit of virtue signal;ling by making a pile of teddy bears.

    If only it was so easy.

  16. agricola
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I would be agreeably surprised if Russia was supporting Assad because he was the democratically chosen leader of Syria.. I suspect that Russia’s motivation is a desire for a port in the Mediterranean , and a buffer against the myriad insanities of revolutionary Islam. This has a positive military side for the West in that we know where he is.

    The inherent instability of most of the Middle East is down to post WW1 politicians dividing the area into regions of their interest by the expedient of drawing straight lines on maps. These lines paid no respect to religious and tribal differences. The only way such countries have survived is to have been subject to totalitarian leadership. The Western powers in seeking to destroy such totalitarian leadership could in their own minds strut the moral high ground, but in so doing created the mayhem we see today.

    Maybe Russia is right in putting totalitarianism back in place to gain stability. The very real danger for them is that they create for themselves a second Afghanistan experience.

  17. Antisthenes
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Poor Western leadership adopting progressive moral thinking (idealistic and delusional) has led to a succession of blunders that culminated in the current situation in the Middle East. From the toppling of Saddam Hussein to agreeing a sanctions lifting agreement with Iran. Coupled with a less enthusiastic backing of Israel. The invasion of Afghanistan was probably the right course of action but the planning, execution and aftermath was flawed as not enough thought was put into the consequences of that action.

    Appeasement or lack lustre policies rarely leads to satisfactory outcomes when dealing with those who have rapacious intentions which Islamic terrorist groups, Russia and Iran all have. The Middle East and Afghanistan are regions which are very unstable best left alone to sort out themselves unless they pose a direct threat to the West. Afghan and the Taliban and Hussein and Kuwait did. That was dealt with in the appropriate manner more or less. ISIS is being sorted out as well but mostly by local forces which is appropriate as well.

    Strong men(nasty evil dictators and war lords) have long been those regions means of keeping them relatively stable. Even if they were not so by Western standards we had no right to interfere as it worked for them. Subsequent events from toppling strong men because it was the moral thing to do has proven that was wrong. The Middle East is now in turmoil and now much more unstable than ever and a greater threat to the West. We are reaping what we have sown.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Previously I have commented that the UK should stay out of the Syrian civil war. It is a conflict complicated by several internal warring elements and it is compounded by the Sunni/Shia conflict supported by outside Middle East powers with Russia in the mix as well. It is not clear, at least to me, that a US led military intervention would hasten the resolution of the conflict; rather it would risk its prolongation and possibly wider extension. Eventually there will be a “winner”; the UK will need to come to terms with whoever that is.

    ISIL needs to be defeated militarily and ideologically. That will only be achieved by a determined operation on the ground. From the information that has been shared with the public, it seems to me that the UK involvement of air support and on the ground advice sounds about right. If there are also covert operations by special forces, that sounds right to me too.

  19. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The current mess will deteriorate considerably if Clinton is elected president.

  20. Jims
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Let’s let in anyone that wants to come here from Syria or Iraq so that they can demonstrate that 1400 years of hatred can be put to one side and they can live in harmony with Christians and Jews!

    And if that doesn’t work they can be assured that our politicians and media, led by the BBC will not notice any of it because they know best.

  21. Aatif Ahmad
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    This is a proxy war between the West and Russia and between Saudi Arabia and Iran. You forgot to mention that bit.

    The West used jihadi militants against the USSR in Afghanistan, supplying them with weapons and financial aid. Once the USSR collapsed and withdrew from Afghanistan, the West abandoned the country to its warlords so it ended up as a failed state.

    22 years later, the same was done with Libya and Syria. Syria, a staunch Russian ally, was undermined using jihadi militants in order to create a Western ally and remove Russian influence in the Middle East.

    • mickc
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      An excellent precis of the position!

  22. Mitchel
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The biased reporting of these two sieges (and the hypocrisy of our bought-and-paid-for-establishment)is appalling.

    “The actions of Assad and Russia are driving radicalisation and fuelling terrorism….”says our foreign office.NO!the same parties that sponsor “radical” preachers in mosques in the West are doing that-white clad Daesh funding black-clad Daesh.

  23. Mapper of the Yard
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I looked for Aleppo and Mosul on a google map of the UK and I cannot find them. Either those two places have slipped through the all-seeing eye of Google or they are not part of the territory of the United Kingdom. This no doubt goes some way to explain why there are no British “boots on the ground” nor a decent pub.

  24. Original Richard
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The West needs to stop meddling militarily in the Middle East. Every attempt to affect regime change (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria) has made the situation worse.

    Only humanitarian aid should be given.

    The West should start to think forward about protecting itself from Middle East conflicts spilling over into the West by not accepting the settlement in the West of millions of Middle Eastern men of fighting age.

    These men are the least vulnerable people from the region as well as being totally intolerant of Western culture.

  25. Oilyman
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    It would be much more fair if America, Russia and ISIL would divide the whole of the Middle East fairly into thirds. In the tradition of Saxons they could call each one a “Riding” which means “a third” . So much to learn from the times of Cuther the Saxon and Eric Bloodaxe of York.
    Of course the population would not have the oil. It is good to see theey are already well on their way here to live, work and not think of nasty black oil for the rest of their natural days.

  26. margaret
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    We should Always be starting from the premise’ Do No Harm’. This is a wide proposition and there are short , medium term and long term consequences of any action which is taken. Action does not only mean the physical intervention , but also the act of rewriting treaties and laws. Any thought which is formalised into directing proceedings in a certain way is an action.

    Since it is impossible to do no harm ( we want ISIS out of the way ) there has to be a second best which is do as little harm as possible. This must be at the forefront of every step. It does not mean being soft and causing harm to our own inhabitants by overreaching ourselves and making all the UK suffer, or being unwise by letting in terrorists. Firmness and gentleness must be our stance. We cannot account for what other countries do. We must leave it up to their conscience, but help where possible.

    Politicians do or should understand this. There should be no appeal to religion or power for powers sake. Simple empathy is sufficient. How would you feel if this was your child? How would you feel if this was your mother? How would you feel if this was your father?

  27. SM
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to these dreadful conundrums. Why should we fight Assad while remaining diplomatic and trading allies of the Saudis, whose human rights record might be written on one quarter of the back of a postage stamp? What should we be doing about the civil war in the Yemen and the re-ignition of conflict over Kashmir?

    As another poster above remarks – where is the United Nations in all this? Would anyone notice if everyone there packed up and went home (other than our Treasury)?

  28. Bert Young
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The key to the problem now in Syria is Russia and its need to influence the price of oil . The USA has unfortunately dominated intervention in the Middle East and has failed miserably to succeed ; it should never have been involved in the first place .

    The world now faces a different threat from the infiltration of Islam and the inability to co-ordinate an adequate response . In the past the regimes that had power used maniacal controls to enforce discipline ; those days have gone . Whether conciliatory methods will now be able to produce a successful result remains a big doubt . God help us all .

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Not just the price of oil but the currency in which it is traded.

  29. graham1946
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Slightly off topic but related, your first paragraph is very powerful, yet we are expected to open our doors to illegal immigrants in Calais who face none of these things and are there of their own free will. They could have asked for asylum in any number of countries and are in no such danger in France, but choose to try to enter the UK illegally.

    Of the ‘children’ in Calais, where are the small ones? Why were the first to arrive mainly adult looking men? Were they more vulnerable than say a ten year old, or is it that this age group doesn’t actually exist? Where are the girls? Surely if any exist, the authorities in Croydon wouldn’t be erecting a screen to cover them up but would want us to see the good we are supposed to be doing?

    Meanwhile the ones facing war and real danger and hardship are left in the area and I haven’t heard any of the show business luvvies interrupting their schedule to go out and plead for them.

  30. E.S Tablishment
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Phenomenal smartness of Western military technology over Russia! Well done to all concerned! It has taken months and months and weeks for Russia and its proxy army the Syrians to bomb and level Aleppo. Huh!! See how the luftwaffe leveled Leningrad ages ago. Easy-peasy. See how western ground forces are reducing Iraq to rubble in quick step like Mr Balls tripping over his feet, falling over and crushing all before him in a fenzied ill-advised demonic waltz.
    Brexit could lead to quite a good military trade deal with Russia. The French sell them nippy little attack boats and lots of other natty stuff. We can do better. We could get an order for changing their coal-powered one aircraft carrier seen in the Channel recently with diesel-power. It would not be subject to EU environmental protection fanatics.
    # By the way will Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth get UK funding instead of EU funding after Brexit? Are they threatening relocation to Europe leaving us without their wise..erm… information?

  31. Prigger
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    It is good British soldiers are not now involved in Aleppo and Mosul. Their mothers have only just started talking to them again.

  32. ChrisS
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “In the end these countries have to be stabilised by a political process. Governing forces have to emerge that can govern by laws and civil justice, not by force of arms.”

    I believe that this is the fundamental mistake Western governments have made egged on by the elitist Liberal do-gooders every Western country has to put up with.

    Countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya have one thing in common : none are really suitable to be Western-style democratic government because they are artificial constructs dating back to the colonial era. Empire builders like the British subdued warring tribes and drew up borders that suited themselves but bore no relation to traditional boundaries. These “Countries” were fine when governed by an overwhelming military power like Britain or by a dictator, but otherwise were always going to be impossible to control.

    While Gaddafi, Assad’s father and Saddam Hussein and previously the Shah of Persia were not the kind of leader one would particularly want to invite round for dinner, they did keep their countries relatively peaceful and respected the rights of both minorities and women. If I were a Christian or a woman in any of those four countries, or most other places in the Middle East, I know what kind of regime I would prefer to live under.

    I very much doubt whether peace is possible in Libya, Iraq or Syria unless a single strong leader emerges who is a lot more intelligent that the present President Assad.

    We cannot judge or expect the countries of the Middle East to be managed by our standards. Our governments need to make it clear to the Do Gooders that no matter how much money or military might we throw at the problem, that is a fact of life.

    While their own young men are selfishly more interested in running away and trying to get into Europe than defending their families and way of life, those countries can’t hope to succeed.

    The EU would be better off funding more humanitarian aid and pulling up the drawbridges around Southern Europe. Sad but realistic.

  33. backofanenvelope
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    “In the end these countries have to be stabilised by a political process. ”

    Before this can be done, Islam has to be reformed. What do you think the chances of this happening are?

  34. FarmerGiles
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    All the reports on TV of Aleppo and Mosul show miles upon miles dirty featureless dry ground without so much as a blade of grass or a half-grown turnip to punctuate the landscape.
    When not fighting, what do people with themselves? In Mosul for instance?What work do they do? What do teenagers do for kicks…kick in a budding cactus……vandalise a bus stop placed there by the British occupation in 1918?
    On the surface of it, literally can’t see anything anyone could be fighting about. etc ed

  35. English Pensioner
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    This is another of these situations where everybody “wants the government to do something”, but no-one can suggest anything which won’t make the situation worse.

    I argued from day one that we should support Assad. He’s not a particularly nice person, but he was many times better than ISIS and its associates.
    Assad kept the peace in Syria and allowed other religions to exist. Provided that you did nothing to interfere with the status quo, you were reasonably safe. I had friends who visited the country as tourists. OK, it wasn’t a democracy, but, other than Israel, where is there one in the near and middle east?
    TheArab countries only seem to remain reasonably stable under a strong dictator, the “Arab Spring” which, we were told, would bring democracy to many countries has been a total disaster.
    Can anyone claim that any of the countries involved are any better off? Libya and Iraq are disaster zones following western interference, and Egypt, which was quite peaceful is now a no-go zone for tourists reducing large areas to even worse poverty than before.

    • NA
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      UK and later US policy was aiming at balkanizing Syria, to weaken it in the region, and then offer ISIS and the Sunni Jihadists a limited Islamic State in return for getting rid of Assad. Thus we planned to break the Hezbollah-Assad-Iran axis. There is also a proposed Qatar-Turkey gas pipeline that Assad is thwarting in return for Russian protection and the continuation of the current status quo.

      In this situation the aggressors were us, Britain, the US and Qatar/the Saudis. We seemed to be leading and the U.S following in this strategy of regime change in Syria which has so far resulted in 200.000 dead (approx.) and the very real possibility of a shooting war with Russia.

      Like I say, there has to another way.
      In my opinion, God will punish us for what we have done to Syria.

      Galatians 6:7

  36. Ed Mahony
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I agree with you.
    And I certainly think Tony Blair’s Iraq War is an important cause for this war (and i accept there are other important causes as well). This is one of the messiest, ugliest, most complicated wars ever come across. No idea what the solution is. Except that if you believe in a Higher Being, pray. And in the meantime, help the refugees with donations etc ..

  37. Horatio McSherry
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Unfortunately you’re right. There is now nothing we can do that would improve the situation. The only thing we would do is fuel the flames and make one or both sides take aim at us.

    Unfortunate also that our previous Prime Minister and his front bench entourage cut their noses off (or more accurately, the people of Syria’s noses) to spite their face. They could, and should, have supported Assad from day one against ISIS and nipped this in the bud. Assad was never a threat to the wider world and could have been dealt with when the dust settled. Instead, our politicians, of such staggeringly low ability (our kind host excepted of course) did the only thing they know how to do: virtue signal.

    You think this is bad? You wait until Erdogan gets on a roll after Mosul.

  38. Javelin
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    There a great piece on Radio 4 bringing in the concept of “Hot Peace” that has now developed after a Cold War.

    A Hot Peace has come from the left wing multi culturalism believing immigration from around the world will stop international conflict … because domestic conflict will arise from the immigrants.

    This however doesn’t work because it means second division countries can start wars that we cannot get involved in.

    It also means we are in a continuous state of domestic civil unrest.

    How long will we put up with this??

  39. Stanley Cook
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    So much has happened in the Syrian civil war, and so many outside powers are involved in it, that it is very difficult to see how the country could ever again be made to function normally as a unitary state. Perhaps the only effective solution (possibly also applicable at some stage in the future to Iraq) will be some kind of UN-supervised partition between autonomous areas separating Sunni and Shia populations

  40. Simon Platt
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I think that HMG’s policy on Syria is wrong. We should be supporting Assad and Russia against the Sunni terrorists.

  41. rose
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    In this nightmare all I can think of is please let the Russians and Assad win as soon as possible. But with the suicidal mentality on the other side I can’t see it happening soon.

  42. Dioclese
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Syria is a civil war. Nothing to do with us. Regrettably the rebels are going to lose, so I say let them get on with it. You might not like Assad, but at least when he wins they can start rebuilding the country and we can send the refugees home.

    We proved this in Iraq. Saddam might have been a depot but at least there was peace in Iraq before the USA and Blair embarqued on regime change. Just look at the mess there now…

  43. NickW
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Different Nations are suited to different styles of leadership by a process of evolution; what works in one Country won’t work in another.

    It is useful to compare “Before” and “After” pictures for Iraq, Libya, and Syria; outside interference has destroyed once prosperous Countries and turned them into failed States; these Countries, however unsatisfactory their leaders might have been by Western standards were once relatively peaceful and prosperous. They have now been destroyed by America’s determination to subject them to “Western Democracy”.

    Now that America has shown the world how truly rotten, anti democratic and corrupt it’s “Democracy” actually is, we should ask America to keep that corruption within its own borders, and not try to export it to the rest of the world.

    America and the World deserve better than this.

    On the subject of “Russia is interfering with American elections” as the Democrats claim; this is simply a smoke screen to deflect public opinion away from the sordid and corrupt reality exposed by Wikileaks. In any event, interfering in other County’s elections has been a Washington Gold Standard for decades; my view is that the exposures come from within the USA and are instigated by Americans who are disgusted by what they see.

    I realise that my views may not be palatable to the “Bien pensant”, but they are however held by a significant proportion of the global population.

    • rose
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear on USA democracy and media bias.

      We haven’t even had parliamentary democracy based on the universal suffrage here for a hundred years and it is already showing signs of corruption by the media and other elements. No-one decent or intelligent in the next generation is going to put themselves and their family through the media mangle. In another generation it may be decided this is not the best way to get good administration.

      In the meantime we should stop imposing it on other parts of the world. It hasn’t been tried and tested for long enough.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Great post Nick!

      Tad

    • APL
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      NickW: “On the subject of “Russia is interfering with American elections” as the Democrats claim.”

      It’s an audacious claim too, when you consider it was Clinton who maintained an insecure email server, in her basement, exposing anyone she corresponded with to ‘snooping’.

      Even if it were the Russians who got access to her emails, they didn’t have to ‘hack’ the data, just walk up to the server and stick their shovel in.

      etc ed

      • APL
        Posted October 29, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        JR: “etc ed”

        And as if by magic, the FBI reopens the investigation to Clinton’s wantonly reckless handling of US State secrets.

        Now a known third party, or even a top level aid has been found to have Confidential and Secret material on their mobile devices!!

        It’s safe to speculate, that after Clinton’s tenure at the department of State, there isn’t one confidential memo, Top secret document or classified exchange that hasn’t been exposed by the Secretary of State.

  44. APL
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The west is rightly united in condemning the atrocities in Aleppo. The UK Foreign Office has made clear its fury, stating that “The actions of Assad and Russia are driving radicalisation and fuelling terrorism, not tackling it”. ”

    I should be surprised that you have such a blood lust. But not really since you were urging war, death and destruction not that long ago in Libya back in 2011.

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2011/03/12/no-fly-zones-and-the-libyan-uprising/

    Then you were advocating supporting what you laughingly called ‘the democratic opposition’ against Gaddafi.

    How did that work out for you? More to the point, how is democracy that you so kindly brought to the people of Libya on your bombs, your death and destruction, how has that worked for them? Are you satisfied, do you think you’ve done a good job?

    Reuters in 2011 reported that Obama and Clinton had clandestinely supplied the rebel factions in Libya:-

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-usa-order-idUSTRE72T6H220110330

    That led to the destruction of Libya, the unprecedented murder of a US ambassador Christopher Stephens and potentially the loss of some advanced US anti aircraft missiles to the ISIS / Al Qaeda.

    One of which was used to down a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, the remaining missiles location is unknown.

    You have the audacity to blame Putin and allege that Russia is causing ‘radicalization’. You are either ignorant or evil, I can’t tell which.

    Reply You write the opposite of the truth. As my piece on Libya made clear I said there was great risk in a no fly zone, it might not be legal, and I was crystal clear the UK should not do it!
    This piece condemns all violent sides in the Syrian conflict.

    • APL
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      JR @ 12/03/2011: “Many of us would like to see the brave resistance of the democratic uprising be successful.”

      So, are you satisfied with the outcome?

      JR @ 12/03/2011: “It is heart breaking to watch the tv pictures of the brutal repression now underway in Libya.”

      You’ve been almost entirely silent about the Islamic warlords that now ravage what was once Libya since the Western sponsored overthrow of Gaddafi.

      Why?

      Reply I did not argue for western military intervention in Libya and am no apologist for what has now happened in Libya. I am on the opposite side of this argument to your allegations.

  45. Pat
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    If the policy objective in Syria is simply to bring back peace to the place, then the best policy is to find out who is the most powerful contestant in the Syrian civil war and back them, thus ending the conflict earlier.
    If we can’t stomach that (and it would inevitably mean siding with unsavory people) then the best we can do is keep out of it, apart from humanitarian aid where possible.
    Whoever wins in Syria the resultant regime will not look anything like a western democracy and will be guilty of human rights abuses, as maintaining power will not be a given.
    The only alternative theoretically possible would be to invade the place, impose peace, and colonise the place for a generation or two. I doubt very much that we have the means any more (even including the US) and as Iraq showed we certainly don’t have the stomach for a long enough stay, hence I hope this option is not followed.

  46. acorn
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    2022 will be the centenary of the end of the Ottoman Empire. That’s when I expect Turkey to do a deal with Russia and establish the new Ottoman Empire in the Middle East

    “Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire” at Yahoo News.

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      What if Iran decides it wishes to re-establish the Shiite Safavid Empire?Before the split in Islam,this region was fought over for centuries by the Persians and Russia’s spiritual predecessors the Byzantines,bleeding each other dry, and then with the advent of Islam,first the Arabs and then the Turks entered the mix,ultimately devouring both the original protagonists.

  47. MyCountry
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Off topic

    The dismantlement of the Calais Jungle ( again )

    The arrival of inhabitants here, in closed-curtain coaches, disembarking out of view of the public, then sent to secret internal destinations at undisclosed times and dates for indefinite and unannounced periods of time, out of sight and knowledge of the local and regional population with the connivance in secret of local democratically elected Councillors, MPs, and all paid by the tax-payer quite openly.

    Of course all these elected persons should have their salaries stopped immediately and their possessions sold at auction, immediately, to recover costs and they should be forbidden to stand for public office again for the rest of their natural lives and further possible legal action against them not ruled out. Also names gathered of all in social services and other local regional and national bodies, their role in it, with probably very heavy fines levied against them.
    Secrecy, unless it is relating to the defence of the realm, suggests criminality and fraud.
    We should not tolerate this behaviour here.

    • APL
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      MyCountry: “Of course all these elected persons should have their salaries stopped immediately and their possessions sold at auction, immediately, to recover costs and they should be forbidden to stand for public office again for the rest of their natural lives and further possible legal action against them not ruled out. ”

      What a modest, moderate proposal.

      Something has to be done to discourage these lunatics. We have had twenty years of continuous war, 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.

    • rose
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      The smuggling into the UK of “children” has been going on a lot longer than people realize. Only the foster parents know how long. One of them stood up in the H of C yesterday and said there should be rigorous checks. The HS said there always were. But how can there be when the papers have been thrown away?

  48. NA
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Turkey have moved tanks into a village just north of Aleppo.

    According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009: “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business”, he told French television:

    “I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”

  49. NA
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    .Pity the poor people of Aleppo and Mosul. Pity the poor children. Our hearts go out to those who face the bombs and bullets, and try to survive in such war torn cities.

    >
    Is their any evidence the people of Aleppo and Mosul want saving from ISIS rule by means of more bombs? My guess is they do not.

  50. NA
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    ISIL kill, maim and cow the civilian population

    >
    If people can still shop and go about their daily business they will put up with ISIL rule. They may not like it but it is better than the coalition or Russia dropping more bombs. They will like that even less.

  51. John Robertson
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    In our own lifetimes we face many problems that need solving, most are in the following categories:

    Individual issues
    Family problems
    Problems at work
    Problems with a market or industry
    Being heard and those in charge responding

    Who solved those problems?

    Was it someone from an alien country?

    I don’t think we should be looking at all to solve Thierry problems, we have rejected colonialism after all.

    We need to give the clear message it’s their problem to own and to solve. Why so many single able bodied males left the region? Be cause we offered an easy option to them.

    We need to stop asking how we can help and start saying its your problem, sort it!

  52. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Sturgeon says she’s frustrated. We all knew that

  53. John McDonald
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    If the West would stop poking Putin/Russia in the eye based on idological rather than factual reasons, the situation in Syria would be resolved quicker with less loss of life. You would think the West would prefer that Syria falls apart rather than have a functioning Syria with Asad in charge. High civilian body count but no Asad to be prefered.Rarely does western media treat the rebel’s (if in fact there are any true rebels as such left) shelling of families in the Asad held areas of Alepo with the same condemnation, if any at all. How will western media and politicians report the deaths of familes in Mosul were Russia is not involved, just the west ?
    Who gives a less biased report regarding loss of life , RT, BBC, SKY or CNN ??? We inflect collateral damage in the west, but Russia/Assad inflect war crimes on the civilian population.

  54. CynicSceptic
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The arrival of Italian engineers in April this year to repair the Mosul Dam suddenly led to a media blackout. Perhaps it is the centre of International communications and someone unplugged something or tripped over a satellite dish.
    In the event, Islamic State did not drown everyone in Iraq as was stated by CNN and other American networks. Not when they heard the Italians were bringing really really large pizzas as gifts and some Italian ice cream (coffee flavoured ) or something like that.

  55. They Work for Us?
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    “My Country ” has the right of it. We absolutely must clip the wings of politicians and officials to admit liabilities to the public purse into the country. We do not want them but are expected to pay for them against our will because our elected representatives have a free hand they do not deserve, are incapable of administering it using common sense and allow themselves to be influenced by virtue signallers.

  56. Kevin
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    JR writes: “Assad is able to exploit the unwillingness of the outgoing President to undertake more intense military action, and the delay before a new President. Mrs Clinton might be more belligerent.”

    And Mr Trump?

    Reply He says he wants a rapprochement with Russia

    • rose
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      He also says he wants Europe, especially Germany, and Saudi Arabia and Japan to pay for their own defence.

  57. rose
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mr R for your contribution to the Calais questions. You represented us well.

  58. LondonBob
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I wonder on whose behalf the Foreign Office speaks as it does not speak for the British people. Thank God the Russians stepped in before it was too late. The same problems that caused the Iraq war remain, unfortunately should Clinton manage to buck the polls and win the things could well get worse given how deeply she is compromised by certain special interests.

    Of course there also remains Erdogan, who knows how far over NATO will go to keep them onside. Another ally in the region that seems to dictate to us our foreign policy there rather than being guided by our own national interest.

    Time to stop our illegal meddling in Syria. End the sanctions and end our support for the Islamist opposition.

    • NA
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I wonder on whose behalf the Foreign Office speaks

      >
      BAE Systems etc

  59. OnYourPew
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    The Labour Party has shut up about “Food Banks and one million British children and families going hungry.” A clear indication of their priorities when you think about it very carefully…in view of more being added via Calais to the 5000 awaiting distribution of loaves and redherrings to the multitude. Jesus would never have prioritised a few hundred over one million even though he thought of goodness and charity in Absolute terms and not in relative terms like ex-oil magnate the Archbishop of Canterbury.
    We should give every child migrant a gift voucher for a BHS Store in gratitude in ripping the worthless wolves’ clothing off the Labour Party.

  60. rose
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Worrying performance by the PM today in questions on her statement: her answers were the wrong sort of equivocal and people are inferring we will stay half in. That would make it very easy for a succeeding government to put us back right in. And her answer to Gisela Stuart was the most worrying of all: we may not have got rid of free movement by 2020. I didn’t think the Brexiteers looked as chipper as they usually do. Please reassure us.

    Reply Her statement was a strong reaffirmation that we will take back control

  61. Aesop
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    The ones of us with memories which are not bleached away each day with a lousy media news update, will remember when Syria was at peace. Then a very small demonstration took place which we all saw. Maybe four people were truncheoned by police.
    The BBC said then that they were of the minority tribe and Assad was leader of the majority tribe.
    The there was another bigger demonstration in a larger street and pot-shots were seen and heard from the crowd and police shot a few people and arrested others.
    Then we were thrust by US media into the idea that arms should be sent to Syria to “help” those who were demonstrating which seemed like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.. Mr Hague hummed and harred, first dismissing it, then two weeks later thinking it might be a good idea, then denying he was even thinking about it. Then we saw about six young men crouching down in a house with American weapons and smiling broadly with very white even teeth, well flossed, in Syria. And so it began.And it grew in the telling like Tolkien’s book. Until we have a massive civil war in Syria. Assad’s fault of course and the Orcs in Middle Earth.

  62. Profiteer
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The price of camel manure has increased several thousand percent in the whole of the Middle East. It’s an ill wind…

  63. Redneckhead
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    People in ancient times in Aleppo and Mosul and the whole area were the zenith of culture and science. Some say their own success brought about ultimate failure. A growing population where and when the ideas of Malthus were correct in some way.

    Of course such a genetic intelligent and aspirational pond…whatever current economics and politics ,present a severe threat to the West and our way of life. People of that area are the ultimate competitor. A level playing field and they would would win hands down against the namby-pamby welfare-stated West. ( so the US Democrat Party theorists would have it ) We have grown weak, they would argue, by our success.

    Though I feel it is the loony tune American body-politic which are the impedimental gene to all of us throughout a world increasingly external to them. Designer drugs, prescription drugs, the drug of power, the narcotic of wealth has knocked off and utterly corrupted a politcal chromosome. They are relegating themselves to the bottom of the world’s banana tree not by their success but by their silly waco behaviour. We should dream of extricating ourselves militarily and politically ffrom the relatively new idiot on the block: America

  64. Uptheworkers
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Electorally untried MPs and Councillors (post-referendum ) are very brave career-wise in being so wonderfully hospitable to young migrants entering our country. Only time will tell whether their voters will respect their humanity in the intimate privacy of their voting booths when no-one else is looking ‘cept perhaps the Devil himself.

  65. Canvasser
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Does ISIL have support in the lands in which they fight, from the population? Well, they have support from persons in the UK, France, Germany and elsewhere. So yes. Americans and British have no support whatsoever.It is because they are not local candidates and remarkably do not even speak the language. Imagine a Tory or Corbynite here doorstep campaigning and speaking only in a language of the Middle East. Time to look realistically at the Middle East and not like a used shoe box full of last years toys.

  66. BadReligion
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    The vexatious question for members of all political parties in the UK is how ISIL has not been corrupted man by man and their original beliefs become as nothing. Many UK politicians cross-party gaze stupidly, drunk with a portion of power, at their town halls sporting frowns on their foreheads with hunched shoulders. Evidently it’s a British. Anglican/Catholic thing.

  67. Barman
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    The Labour Party are not crying out for MORE child migrants. Is this a tacit recognition they have lost parallelity with their core vote or a recognition they are are in no condition to say parallelity?

    • rose
      Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      The new chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper, is always crying out for more “child” migrants and for people to “step up across the country”; yet, unlike her morally inferior opponents, she has never offered to have one in her own house.

  68. Peter D Gardner
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    The question seems to me to be whether the West any longer has the capacity to do any good in Syria. It lost the peace after the Cold War. It is riven with division and has no common morality. It cannot agree on anything of importance. It has made many blunders in the Middle East and in Europe. I have read two books on why nations and civilisations fail and I am currently reading a third. The conclusion is inescapable. We’re all doomed, as Pte Frazer said. The intro to my current book says it will show that declining nations and civilisations can be saved by restoring patriotism. If we last long enough for me to get to that final chapter I will let you know what it says.
    For me, step 1 is extricating Britain from the EU. Britain is the only European country with a decent track record over the last two hundred years or so of fighting for and defending freedom, democracy and the rule of law. It would not have been able to save Europe from itself twice in the last century had it not been a fully independent sovereign nation. As a subject of the EU it cannot possibly act decisively, although still capable of minor goods.
    It will take many years to restore a common sense of pride in and loyalty to Britain and to produce leaders and administrators with the skills, character and mentality to lead and govern a truly sovereign nation.
    That is why Mrs May is wrong to pursue a new entanglement with the EU in the timescale of Brexit. The more important and greater task is to exit quickly and cleanly and recreate the sinews of greatness in a fully independent Britain. that should be her primary task. Only when that is truly under way would it be wise to consider a new entanglement with what will by then be a very much changed EU.

  69. Kenneth
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Half tax cuts and half towards the debt/deficit

  70. NA
    Posted October 27, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Interesting debate yesterday about Yemen with several Conservative MPs defending our partnership with Saudi Arabia, mainly based on jobs (16000 employed at BAE etc).

    So we had a battle for the moral high ground between saving UK jobs or sending more arms to a regime in Saudi Arabia which we think is probably intentionally targeting civilians who support the wrong type of Islam (Shia).

    Personally, as a Christian I would be happy to pay more taxes to support subsidize BAE staff in their redundancy. Furthermore, if I was one of the 16000 BAE staff I would also reluctantly agree that the end had come as far as Saudi contracts was concerned (even if that meant I lost my job). Human life is even more important than my own self interests or financial gain and BAE staff need to accept this. Sorry if I sound like a wet SNP Lefty, but some moral clarity is important here.

    I noticed that Tory MPs arguing the case on behalf of BAE seemed to think we were still living in the 1970s. If people are made redundant it is not the end of the world anymore, there are tons of things they can do, even from home with the internet. I was made redundant once and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    BAE contracts with Saudi Arabia should atleast be suspended to use as leverage over them and to modify their actions. The Saudis will not buy weapons from Russia as they hate each other.

    etc ed

  71. NA
    Posted October 27, 2016 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    The reason the Americans agree to sell us weapons that usually only they possess is so they have the option to modify our behaviour in any foreign actions we took which they did not support. They would do this by refusing to send more parts and withdrawing technical support. This is surely what we should now be doing with the Saudis?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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