Interventions in the Middle East

I see advocates of UK military intervention in Syria are using the media to claim we should have intervened more  by deploying substantial force. They  accuse those of us who said no to more force being used of helping create the recapture of Aleppo by Assad.

When we had the debate in 2013 it was no part of my case that Syria would have a peaceful and happy future without our intervention. It was simply to argue that our intervention might do more harm than good. As most people in the UK did not want either Assad or ISIL to win and they were the two combatants it was difficult to see how we could intervene successfully. Surely you only bomb and fight in someone else’s country if you have a legal right and think you can make things better by doing so?

Those who think our intervention in 2013 could have solved the problem need to explain how they could have swept away all the evil forces in Syria and created a peaceful and democratic government. Whilst arguing this they need to explain why our military intervention in Libya did not bring this about there, and why there is still serious fighting in Iraq.

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67 Comments

  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Having decimated our armed forces we are in no position to intervene anywhere.
    Coupled with the fact that we prosecute any military personnel who kills the enemy,I think a period of silence is called for from virtual signalling MPS,s.
    A very happy Christmas to all our brave lads and lasses tasked with guarding us especially those in the submarine service.

    • Spinflight
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Yet we send troops to the Baltic states of Nato, despite only one of them even meeting their 2% contribution.

      Quite what this is meant to achieve, supposedly a tripwire force, is beyond me. The only overland link is via rail through Russian territory, sea and air links would be seriously imperilled if anything should happen.

      Hence a not insignificant number of our troops are merely used as a tethered goat.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Good post. The latest episode in vexatious mud slinging by the legal industry over troops’ actions in Northern Ireland to combat terrorism disgraces all of us. MPs should shut this initiative down before calling for anymore interventions or wars of choice.

      As to Syria, my recollection is the interventionalists were calling for bombing of Assads chemical weapons stocks. It not clear what this would have achieved – and it would surely have been very dangerous. Assad was ordered to stop using them in any event by the Russians.

      What could possibly have worked if implemented 4 or 5 years ago would have been a no fly zone – which worked very well in Iraq between the gulf Wars – and maybe a safe haven which would have solved the refugee problem. But Obama was too much of a ditherer for that.

    • M Davis
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I echo your sentiments, Mr Wragg – and a Happy Christmas to all with thanks to JR for this blog.

  2. Hope
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Spot on JR. Osborne forgot to say the role he played in Libya and how it caused mass immigration to Europe allowing to terrorists to move quickly and unchecked across the continent. Cameron expected adulation when he visited with Hollande. He now needs to be investigated why he allowed regime change beyond the UN mandate. No more phony inquiries like Blaire. Proper judicial inquiries with punishments attached.

    Today we read a similar minded left wing liberal in Germany delayed the picture of the suspect being released by twelve hours because it might have incited racial tension! Rotherham ring any bells, Luton, Oxford. No link to Islam in reporting crimes by the media committed because of the religion. Worrying times for ordinary tolerant people.

    • stred
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Cameron visited Libya with Sarkozi to celebrate his triumph in regime change. Mrs Clinton did not turn up but seems to have been behind the scenes.

      My Syrian Christian contacts all are in no doubt about who they wish to be the winning side, and it isn’t ISIS. They say that Assad is not as bad as his father and is just a figurehead for his clan. The same goes for many Sunnis who have fought in Assad’s army rather than let the savages take over.

      Let’s hope their relations left in Syria can have a slightly happier Christmas, though theirs may be not quite as commercial as ours. There does not seem to be much hope for any outside Kurdish controlled Iraq.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      “Osborne forgot to say the role he played in Libya and how it caused mass immigration to Europe”

      Yes, it’s strange how one of the side effects of neocon wars is destruction of European civilisation; could it be that neocons are not themselves European, in the main, and the destruction of Europe is one of their global objectives?

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        It couldn’t be better designed for the purpose.

    • APL
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Hope: ” Libya and how it caused mass immigration to Europe”

      It isn’t as if Osborne didn’ t know either, Gadaffi told us the extent he was holding back the immigrants pouring into Libya.

      I think the Italians were even paying him to, too.

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

        Osborne and Cameron did not have a clue who the rebels were or who they were arming. We saw pictures of the alleged rebels cutting out the hearts of Syrian soldiers, is this the sort of behavior our govt should condone or waste our taxes on? No! Osborne and Cameron didn’t not have a clue and it was pointed out by the military how they dismissed their views! Complete dangerous bored posh boys who did not know e price of milk.

        Now we read the man of the people, Cameron, in his true colours flying first class to the Caribbean for a Christmas. How many body guards are we paying for? These people create the danger but do not have to face the consequences of the terror they create. Same with Blaire and Straw.

        • APL
          Posted December 25, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Hope: “Complete dangerous bored posh boys who did not know e price of milk.”

          That may be true. If so, doesn’t say much for an expensive education.

          I think that they were driven by Clinton as SoS under an ineffectual Obama, who’d rather spend his time on the golf course.

          There is the possibility that Clinton was manipulated by the Saudis via Huma Abedin who some say has family links to the Moslem Brotherhood.

          NATO doesn’t do much without the US being on board. Then there is the video of the repulsive Clinton gloating about the barbaric death of Gadaffi.The USA has dodged a bullet there, if you ask me.

          It is too much of a coincidence that the only states attacked by the West were all secular Arab; Libya, Iraq and most recently if indirectly Syria.

          • Hope
            Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            It was not possible for rebels to act in such a coordinated way and make such progress against Gadaffi without help from the U.K. And others military. Regime change was not permitted under the UN resolution. This was a deceitful and dishonest way to get military into Lybia. Cameron should now face a proper judicial system nquiry along with key ministers, like Osborne. We should never allow these unlawful Blaire type wars ever to repeat. That is why Osborne was so deceitful and wrong in parliament over Syria last week.

  3. Mark B
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The sooner ‘we the people’, you know, the one’s that shed the blood and have to pay for all this, get a vote the better. I mean, Switzerland has remain at peace for over 100 years despite being at the epicentre of the some of the biggest carnage the world has ever know.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Dear Mark–Couldn’t agree more–All one ever hears about why we do things the way we do is “Because that’s the way we do it”–which is ridiculous. The fact that there was once no other way is irrelevant and of purely historical significance. I listen to what most MP’s (elected because good looking, especially on the tele, or at making speeches or kissing babies etc) have to say, and weep. If it is possible, which it clearly is today, to ascertain directly what the people want that is clearly Way To Go. Many more decisions should be made populistically. Pity about Cameron and Clarke not liking it.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      Absolutely right.

      We need a Swiss type model of direct democracy and much much much less politics and government

      • agricola
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely true, MPs with their party loyalties and political careers cannot be trusted to reflect the will of the people. Witness the grovelling statements that they will respect the will of the people while at the same time try every trick in the book to dilute that referendum decision. Democracy is not safe in their hands, so as you say direct democracy is the way forward.

  4. Peter Wood
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,
    This is part of the wider issue of the UK’s new position in the World, outside of the EU. We need to reposition ourselves with the reality that we are 5th largest economy (or possibly 6th) not the 2nd, and we run a large budget deficit. Therefore ANY foreign adventure, be it military or charitable, should be far more carefully considered than of late by the Blair and Cameron governments.

  5. Robert Petulengro
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Mr Assad is fighting, literally, for his life.
    The Russians are supporting him because he is their ally.
    But most of the population are Sunni which is against Mr Assad. Hence the brutality.
    And we may well ask what part Iran and Saudi are playing in all this too?
    With our now tiny little army we are in no position to play in this muddy water. We made enough of a fool of ourselves in Iraq and also in Afghanistan.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      “But most of the population are Sunni which is against Mr Assad.”

      By application of Occam’s Razor, therefore, we can deduce that when Assad recently won a renewed mandate as President, the election was actually hacked by the Russians.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Had it been by referendum we would not have invaded Iraq and would not be in this awful situation.

    Often the people do know best.

  7. Pd
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Very true. Commonsense seems to be missing amongst so many in the political and media classes these days.

    Syria is highly complex as is the whole middle east and all the west ever does is makes things worse whatever the aims

  8. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Military intervention by the UK only prolongs the problem, which can only be solved by the Syrian people burying their differences and coming together, which aided by their belligerent and aggressive religion will not happen soon.
    The best thing the UK can do to alleviate their suffering is to support refugee camps at the country’s border. There they remain until with their fellow-countrymen they can work out a solution to their country’s problems.
    I’m not in favour of taking refugees into this country because we must make it clear that the future of Syrians needs to be in Syria itself.

  9. bigneil
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    We interfere out there – so they all want to come here. With more cuts to the BA, which will inevitably lead to an increase in the “hands-out” new arrivals by lorry, shouldn’t we spend the money – and use the army – to man our borders instead of waving in the inevitable terrorists, which we then pay in benefits to live here and be a danger to us.
    I cannot be alone in failing to understand why the govt does not work with the old saying of “a stitch in time…”, instead just continually throwing billions away on importing cultures which only seek to exterminate us.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    We should have kept out completely other than offering possible diplomatic help and humanitarian aid where requested.

    The United Nations played its usual failure game once more.

  11. Alan
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The main significance of the Commons vote against intervention in Syria in 2013 was that it influenced the US Congress similarly to vote against US intervention. It is quite true that our forces, indeed all the EU’s forces, would have been inadequate to affect the outcome, but the USA did have the military capability to do so. However it lacked the political will.

    I think the geopolitical significance of what is happening in Syria is not what the outcome will be for Syria; that is probably of importance mainly to the Syrians themselves and their immediate neighbours. The important point is what the outcome will be for Russian and USA influence in that region of the world.

  12. formula57
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    “Surely you only bomb and fight in someone else’s country if you have a legal right and think you can make things better by doing so?” and it is clearly in your own country’s interests to do so.

    Never again should the UK follow the self-righteous Blair doctrine that said the British military should be committed when and wherever they could make a difference. That applies expecially in the Middle East where, as you have shown previously, interventions have not worked well and now especially too in the cases of giving assistance to our EU enemies.

  13. rose
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    All this irresponsible muddle and confusion goes back to Kosovo when Messrs Clinton and Blair abused NATO to interfere inside another country. All they succeeded in doing was to create a massive humanitarian crisis which Alastair Campbell then seized on as an excuse for further bombing.

    Before that it was understood by governments that you didn’t intervene militarily in other countries. You only defended a country from outside attack – as with Kuwait – or your own territory – as with the Falklands. Plenty of muddled people urged us to go further and intervene in Iraq in 1990 but thank goodness the government then knew better.

    Since Kosovo it has been one folly after another. Peter Wood the Ex Ambassador to Syria gave a good summary of this latest folly when he was interviewed recently.

    The worst of the muddle is that the would-be interveners subconsciously want the Empire back and Pax Britannica, but are the first to decry our history and make our children feel guilty about it.

    • rose
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Sorry, Peter Ford not Peter Wood

    • Mark B
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Blair was swayed much by the chants of; “Tony, Tony” etc. much like CMD was over Libya.

      This is why PM’s need to be restrained by Parliament and Parliament made independent from the executive.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Osborne’s back of the room comments and criticisms show his lack of wisdom and understanding ; another indication of why young and inexperienced individuals should never be allowed to become politicians .

    As a young boy of the past he should go back to his toys . The Middle East problems are not for the West to try and solve ; tribal warfare has to be sorted out by them .

  15. zorro
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I disagree that the majority of people are against Assad, and it is clearly nonsense based on the fact that the SAA has been able to fight successfully. The SAA is majority Sunni by far. Do not be fooled by the media. Assad wouldn’t have lasted long without support, it is the rebels/headchoppers who lacked support except from external powers…..

    zorro

  16. Antisthenes
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The West is no longer capable of policing the world and the age of imperialism is over. Both policies were by modern standards wrong. However it is understandable that both occurred as the situation, standards and values were different then. We were just following an evolutionary path. The West is in transition onto a new one most of the rest of the world is on the old one and are at different stages upon it. The West is now in reverse situation as it is now the focus of the new imperialists and self appointed policemen.

    The West now has to look to it’s own defence. It is said that the best defence is attack so would suggest that we go gung ho into every conflict to seek to dominate. However our new evolutionary path precludes us from only doing so halfheartedly as our ethical values have changed as has our military capacity. So aggression is no longer an option which poses a dilemma as forces opposed to us are not so squeamish. If we cannot find a solution to negate their ambitions peacefully then we will be doomed. The evidence so far is that peaceful means only meets with derision and is seen as a weakness to be exploited. So I hold no great hope out for that solution.

  17. forthurst
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    “As most people in the UK did not want either Assad to win…”

    …because they had been told by the MSM that Assad was a wicked man who slaughtered his own people with barrel bombs, barrel bombs being a particularly nasty ordnance, much worse the British supplied cluster bombs, the Saudis have been raining down on the civilian population of Sana’a.

  18. English Pensioner
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Most politicians, particularly when they are in opposition, are very good at deciding, using hindsight, what should have been done some years ago.
    At the time, if I remember correctly, the uprising in Syria was all part of the “Arab Spring” which was going to bring freedom to all those in the region who were ruled by dictators, and which many notable names urged us to support. In the light of that belief, we would have supported ISIS had we intervened in Syria and I’m sure all those who were advocating such action would now be feeling very proud of their actions.

  19. Prigger
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Christmas messages from Party Leaders? Yuk!
    Christmas message from HM The Queen , yes please!

    Mrs May suffers from the politician’s gaffe: “Unite and move forward” on the assumption we are divided. No we are not divided despite the best and worst hopes of the political class. Nor were people disunited except for the few days running up to the Referendum. Even then it was not a nasty division on the whole. Her separate message to our armed services was just so.

    Mr Farron the Libdem Leader is oddly in France. Odd for a British politician who goes there delivering a message of any kind from a foreign country to the British at home here in Britain. Strangely he believes by going around a foreign hostel in one of the most economically advanced countries in the world will encourage the UK to “open its doors”. No it shows us to slam the doors shut completely! It really is time he stops preying on the naivity and innocence of our own young people and children. Even some literally unwordly-wise adults too, here. His grandstanding and virtue-signalling is perhaps the most nasty, galling and inappropriate message any politician at his level could deliver. Absolutely disgusting at any time . But at Christmas??? It is beyond the pale.

    Jeremy Corbyn’s Christmas message in that any of the political leaders dare attempt to share the “stage” with HM The Queen, was entirely good except he stated it was from himself ( which is good ) but on “behalf of the Labour Party”, which, is where the message was self-rubbished and self-made insincere and cynical.

  20. E.S Tablishment
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “Interventions in the Middle East”
    ” Interventions “. Where are we coming from? I guess we would say “Interventions” wouldn’t we.
    Would we call them such if Syria and other countries were to busy themselves with our internal affairs? Would we say of sending guns, ammunition into our country as well as announcing a desire to change our government by armed force an “Intervention”? No, we would call it War. An act of aggression. Invasion.

    Could we have imagined our Head of State in World War II politely giving unutterably polite filmed televised interviews to the German, Hungarian, Romanian, Austrian, Italian state broadcasters?
    We saw President Assad on TV the other day, speaking quietly in English, and calmly informing a Western mainstream media interviewer he thought our behaviour not quite cricket.
    The irony…wow! It should make some western politicians crawl into some irony-bunker half a mile below the surface of the earth and stay there for ever. Those interviews with Assad will be essential viewing for historians to the end of time.

  21. Eh?
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    So some prisoners in our jails riot. We hear leading politicians in our Parliament moaning of how we should have bombed a country that has done us no harm. Nor threatened to do us harm.
    The UK is not as advanced as many of us desire.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      If I see a mugger beating up someone in the street and I think I am capable of ‘intervening’ to save the victim and the mugger has not threatened me nor attacked me, most would say I should do so and if successful will be deemed a ‘hero’. If I do not attempt to help the victim I should be deemed in a bad light.

      This is the reason surely that the UK thinks it is a moral duty to ‘intervene’. It hopes to be helpful. There cannot be a rule do do nothing if the UK is not connected with the situation.

  22. From little acorns..
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Over half a century ago in Junior School we were taught of Clive of India. Then ,we looked at old ragg-ed , dog-eared, yellow pages with ink blots. There with bits of scribbled words by ultra brave pupils. In my school, such scribblings however minor were punished by extreme violence as a norm.
    We took Clive, from the illustrations and words by our teachers, as just a mere company clerk like our brothers may someday become if they passed for Grammar School. It was amazing, we were taught, how any of us could conquer and run whole countries. How good it was. How the most humble of us could become heroes….once we had finished being beaten in school by less than humble teachers who knew no better. They got worse when kids. As did the parents of kids in my school.

    So it comes as no surprise to myself so well educated, that grown-ups in Parliament should wish to bomb and maim all over the globe…without provocation…without their attacking us. Those getting our bombs and bullets must have scribbled in a history book.

  23. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The idea that we have a military capable making a difference is delusional. Governments have reduced our forces to a level where nothing but minimal action could be maintained for any length of time. A navy almost without ships unable even to defend itself and a demoralised army. A few fighter aircraft and not enough transports. And no medium range missile defences.

    And yet we have current leaders who are intent on stirring up trouble against Russia just to add to the mix. Our enemy is islam and its followers and picking a fight with Russia is the height of irresponsibilty. Would that we had a leader like Putin.

    The dangerous fools who lord it over us refuse to acknowledge it nor act to clear them from our midst. In their stubborn resistance, they betray us and put lives at risk. There is a word for that.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      And nor do most people want to interfere. We ‘little Englanders’. What a mess those with global pretensions have made.

  24. ian
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    When are the people going to get real MPs in their areas instead of nec con lab liberal terror supporters.

  25. alte fritz
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Very useful comments yesterday no the Today programme by Peter Ford, former ambassador to Syria. For example, double standards in relation to Mosul and Yemen.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Re:double standards.

      President Mugabe’s treatment of white farmers…it’s a confusing piece of calculus for the politically correct elite mind as the perception is one of the formely oppressed now turned oppressor. So they don’t know who to support so the world is largely indifferent to the suffering….

      If Mugabe was a white oppressor David Cameron, Gordon, Polly T, the whole of the green party would be all over him in a fit of moral outrage….

  26. ian
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Alan, you should of seen by now that US only go in on the UK parliaments say so.

  27. ian
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The prangwizard, they only flag up russia so they have someone to point the finger of blame at instead of the house of commons and themselves, russia is just a scapegoat for them just as the people of this country are, it the peoples fault for not doing as they are told, as MPs say all the time.

  28. norman
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Peter Ford, former ambassador to Syria, said our policy was wrong from the outset (I agree): but apparently then went on to say we should have intervened militarily to topple Assad. Is it just me, or is the world going mad? What possible right would we have had to do so, and what harm would have come from it? And how would the Russians have reacted? If the pretext is the suffering of the people, then we have as much right to intervene in certain African states and no doubt many others, worldwide. If there were a bloody civil war in Britain, how would we like the Russians or the Americans to drop-in uninvited – or, dreadful thought – the EU? Who would decide which side they supported? One would have thought Mr Ford knew what he was talking about. Perhaps I have misunderstood him, or he was misreported. Or is it that one simply can’t find a good (civil) servant nowadays! “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”. Very sad.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      “how would we like the Russians or the Americans to drop-in uninvited ”

      I ‘m sure the supported side would be delighted.

  29. Ken Moore
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    What is a ‘moderate rebel’.?.
    It seems Mr Redwood’s colleague’s have the gift of placing groups into convenient pigeon holes for the purposes of what I would describe as ‘grandstanding’ and ‘virtue signalling’.
    Is there a ‘moderate rebel’ leader that we can contact who can confirm the ‘rebels’ concerned are indeed ‘moderate’ and not say ‘extreme’. Perhaps there are even ‘rebels’ wavering between the ‘moderate’ and ‘extreme’ camp. Do acts of extreme violence put the ‘rebel’ in the ‘extreme’ camp..or not.

    It’s a lucky the politicians have the answers to all these questions as many were only too happy to send guns to these rebels..no questions asked..including the PM himself. A man who is confused by the rules of basketball judging by his twitter feed…

    Perhaps parliament imagines ‘moderates’ all subscribe to the BBC world service or play cricket ?.

  30. mickc
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Those who wish to intervene should have the guts to go and fight themselves. I will personally pay for the boots and rifles they need.

    In the meantime, I see no UK interests whatsoever which require our intervntion in the Middle East.

  31. Lifelogic
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Exactly and put perfectly. The BBC types should shut up, just feeling that ” something must be done” is no where near enough. These people learn nothing from history, not even from recent history.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      The BBC sets agendas rather than reports news.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        And always daft, lefty, half baked, magic money tree, greencrap, climate alarmist, pro EU, anti business agendas too

  32. PaulDirac
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    There are situations which do not yield to a simplistic (bomb them) solution, Osborne and the rest are now playing a despicable gambit – trying to gain moral advantage from an unknowable result to a proposition (UK military action is Syria).

    The sad truth is that Blair and his followers USED (in the worst possible meaning) our armed forces for a mission which had nothing to do with our safety.
    The armed forces are not robots, they are our sons and daughters serving OUR country, their lives are precious and can be risked only for a clear and present danger to this land, not sacrificed for some bombastic megalomaniac’s world power dream.

    The vote against intervention was absolutely right.

  33. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    There’s nothing we can do.

    There may be something we can do.

    We can do something but it’s not for us to take the lead.

    We should have done something but it’s too late now.

  34. Original Richard
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, you are correct.

    Everyone should read the thoughts of the UK ambassador to Syria between 2003 and 2006, Mr. Peter Ford :

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/23/british-policy-syria-former-ambassador-peter-ford

  35. ian
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Public opinion stop parliament MPs from voting for going to war with syria in 2013 because of the iraq inquiry, but they still try it on.

  36. Original Richard
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    We should be working with the Russians to eradicate Islamic extremism.

  37. Edward.
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Lord,

    Britain would be a much happier place if the people would cast off those rose tinted spectacles provided by the Brussels politburo, ably backed by the SJW’s of its Westminster claque and their media propagandists in ITV, SKY, BBC, CH4 and in the fourth estate not least the Times, Guardian, Independent et al.

    Led up the garden path, on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and very nearly in Syria and to what end?

    Change Syria, yes they certainly did that, Cameron, Hollande, Obama.

    I heard that there is now a Christmas tree in central Aleppo, just think if Isis had been the victorious occupiers – what gifts they would have bestowed on the vanquished and contrast, where Bashar al Assad bused out his enemies.

    Think on it and digest, and happy Christmas to all Syrian Christians! and to you all.

  38. acorn
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The west has never understood the role of the Tribe in Middle East political administration. Nor the Tribal allegiances that must be accommodated in western imposed state boundaries.

    The locals will tell you that there would be no ISIL, if there had been no U.S. invasion of Iraq. Nor would there have been a refugee problem in Europe. The MENA states are traditionally run by Strongmen, that use their own tribes as their power base. Western neocons stupidly destroyed the hierarchy and left total chaos.

    And now we have Trump. God help us.

  39. getahead
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Assad was never the tyrant that the BBC made him out to be.

  40. Serene
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Clearly we should all support free-speech. It should be for everyone not just MPs. They go around advocating killing and disabling in their phraseology men, women and children. Anyone else would be arrested for what liberals and lefties call hate-speech, propagating acts of terrorism, racial hatred and Islamophobia . The fact they only racially attack one branch of Islam and not the other then the following year swap allegiances seamlessly to the other branch of Islam is neither here nor there. The truth is they are trouble-makers. Up to no good and should all be sent to work in a salt mine or nuclear power station which ever is closest to their warrens.

  41. hashtag browns
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been looking out of curiosity on Twitter using Middle-Easternish hashtags
    #Damascus,#Syria #Aleppo and the like. Ok, so some of what I see will contain a large helping of lies, misinformation and bent views as in The Guardian, BBC and Sky News and CNN but from the other angle.
    What is striking is that footages and photos on social media do not seem to feature at all in our mainstream media…even showing something a bit like them but with warts and all.
    We are being lied to all the time.
    When UK journalists of the TV come back from their hols abroad in the New Year they should be disallowed entry into the UK until they are exorcised by a qualified practitioner

    • APL
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      “So much for “Nation shall speak peace unto nation”.”

      December 28th, still in moderation.

  42. norman
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    @Original Richard – I have read the Guardian article, and it clears up some of the misunderstanding from yesterday’s BBC report, which seemed to suggest that Peter Ford advocated British troops on the ground in Syria. Listening to the actual interview,and reading the Guardian article, it is clear that Mr Ford DID NOT advocate British military intervention in Syria – he only stated it as a rhetorical option, which, if our judgement was that (as was his view) this was unrealistic. He then goes on to state we should have REFRAINED from encouraging the opposition to mount a doomed campaign, which only led to hundreds of thousands of civilians being maimed or killed, making the situation worse. An earlier (unpublished?) comment I made was therefore inappropriate. From what we know, it would appear he is right.

  43. Javelin
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    We are intervening in the Middle East to stop Saudi from being overrun from Yemen.

    As the Saudis fund terrorism and many media outlets it will be interesting to see that come to an end.

  44. Martin
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Given the size of the UK’s army (lost in Wembley) I am amazed at the talk of intervention anywhere. With the Navy’s ships losing their missiles as well it is not a clever picture.

    Indeed the government’s obsession with nuclear (against the Bear I presume) is one thing but we have pitiful resources against anything else.

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    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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