It is understandable that when our stricken ally, France, calls for our help, that the Prime Minister wants to respond. It is also understandable that when the crimes of Daesh are carried out on the streets of Paris, Beirut and elsewhere that we want to lash out.
Although understandable we should not think that our joining in the bombing of Daesh in Syria will bring peace any nearer. We would be better concentrating on stopping the financing of Daesh, stopping or countering its poisonous message on the internet. Then there is Daesh’s oil sales with rumours that Turkey is a customer. If true we cannot take seriously Ankara’s desire to be a member of the EU.
Turkey isn’t the only big power with a complex agenda in the Syrian crisis. David Cameron has failed to give an answer to these complexities and therefore cannot claim to have a long term strategy. He refers to talks in Vienna but look at the agendas countries will bring to the table. Russia is currently committed to propping up Bashar al-Assad, the leader of Syria. There is talk that President Putin will look for a more acceptable alternative. There is little sign of it. Russia wants to send out a message to the world that it supports its friends. The retention of Assad, even in the short term is totally unacceptable to the “seventy thousand” armed opponents that David Cameron thinks are going to abandon fighting Assad to fight Daesh.
This is a major flaw in Cameron’s strategy. There is no prospect of any nation or group of nations putting enough effective boots on the ground to conduct a land war and conquer Daesh’s headquarters in Raqqa. The West doesn’t want to get burned again and most of the Arab armies are understandably terrified of Daesh brutality. Most Arab countries are not even conducting air strikes. Their rivalries and interests are too complex for them to become effectively involved it seems.
So what is going to happen? I called this blog “Into The Black Hole”, because that is where we are headed I fear. We will join France and the USA in bombing Daesh targets. The terrorists will get a propaganda boost from it. Sooner or later they will commit a major atrocity on British streets and what will we do then with our “no boots on the ground” policy?
There should be a solution to such terrible wars, the United Nations. Soon after it was first set up, the Korean War was ended by UN action. It has passed a resolution calling for military action against Daesh now but there is no UN army or the sort of leadership of a group of armies that prevailed in Korea. The UN is hobbled by lack of funding and often the self interested vetos of members of the Security Council.
Syria is a lethal cocktail of violence, frustration, big power self interest and regional rivalry. I wish I could see a way out of the black hole but I can’t at the moment.