Monday, 17 June 2013

Syria and the new Afghanistan


 http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/58706000/jpg/_58706848_soldier_mod.jpg


It's it difficult to believe the myopic view of UK politicians. After a quite disastrous foray into Iraq which ended with the UK being chased out of Basra and shia militia's taking over and a soon to be followed similar example in Helmand and Afghanistan.

Years of on the ground work and an initial invasion have yielded no real strategic success. In Iraq there is at least a vestige of democracy and maybe once Kurdistan separates the Country can begin to focus and move forward. It is an improvement on Saddam but with a very high blood price.

In Afghanistan the Taliban look poised to re-take the Country in next few years. The blood and treasure expended will be for nothing.

Now we have Syria, with a terrible civil war stretching into its 3rd years with the Country bitterly divided. Most of the Arab world supports the rebels and with Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Russia on the other side. Qatar and other arab states have provided plenty of arms to the rebels.

Why on earth should the UK get involved? We have not real way to end the war and no appetite for a ground war. Even the air campaign in Libya which seemed so successful has left a bitter country to be ruled by various militia's of one kind or another.

We all bemoan defence cuts, but at a time when our defence spending is falling and our ability to effectively use hard power can be questioned with the Islamic region in the Middle East, why on earth are our ministers and leaders so keen to gets us involved. I have no answer, it is bewildering to me for people who should know better and have expended enough of our soldiers lives in recent times to learn all the answers they need for this question.

30 comments:

Barnacle Bill said...

Follow the money!
How many Ministers/MPs have links to defence companies etc ...? No matter if they're buried in a trust fund or offshore.
To them it's not blood money but making sure they have a suitable standard of living once the troughing is over.

Elby the Beserk said...

Beyond clueless, and a staggering in ability to learn the lessons of history. Essentially, we are taking sides in a violent sectarian war; there is only one possible result of arming the rebels - more people die.

Idiots, idiots, idiots.

Anonymous said...

There is a theory (foil hat issued please) that the great game is the opening up of the Central Asian oilfields. Hence Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline.

The Taliban were against this so had to be removed etc...(Hat on again)

The pipeline is supposed to go North-South but (hat on again) but there is the possibility of East-West was through Iraq and Syria. So Syria needs to be more friendly to the west and less friendly to competing Russian interests.

As I said its all foil hat stuff but maybe....

Perhaps Nick may be able to comment.

Nick Drew said...

oh, my only comment is that no-one in their right minds reckons a trans-continental pipeline through dodgy territory to be a secure form of energy

a more static and vulnerable target it is hard to imagine

you have either bought off the entire host nation (and that means all of them, not just 'most of them but not the Kurds') or you've got yourself a maintenance contract for life

Barnacle Bill said...

@ Nick Drew
Cue KBR turning up?

L fairfax said...

How can this
"Anonymous said...

There is a theory (foil hat issued please) that the great game is the opening up of the Central Asian oilfields. Hence Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline. "
Be true? We will soon have fracking which will solve all our needs.

I vote for ignorance, they really believe that the FSA are western liberals.

Graeme said...

@Anon 8.47 - 'tin foil hat' means nothing look at the facts. There is no doubt that power games are being played. Pretending otherwise and all are 'conspiracy theories' does a disservice to all our intellects, panders to groupthink and looks to close down debate. The pipeline appears to be the desire for influence made solid, no matter if it is a good idea, or even becomes fact.


L Fairfax - incompetance and stupidity maybe but I think our glorious leaders are far from ignorant. All the guff about gas from Obumma/Vague shows they are playing games.

The US/UK it appears are certainly not acting in any national interest, whose interest it is certainly not clear.

Jan said...

We should adopt the completely opposite strategy ie withdrawing from any conflict and where possible confiscating weapons if they should cross the borders of Syria. The best strategy would be to assist the neighbouring countries to support the refugees. Let all the various factions fight it out and leave them to it. War is not the answer; I would have thought we might have learnt this lesson by now.

Everything is the illuminati. from Jesus to Kim Kardashian said...

The pipeline theory IS tin foil hatter of the highest order. Even sane people here believe it. Maybe it was in a Bond film.

As ND says why would anyone set up a static, 1,000 mile long target, through hostile territory?

It would be necessary to hold and police and operate any country that wasn't an ally, and equip those that were with all the latest tech to ensure the pipeline wasn't broken.
And if it was..by say, 20 Taliban with RPG-7's , that cost a few hundred $ each, then the oil to the west stops.

Its a fantasy. And the facts only fit if the entire 9/11 is reverse engineered to make the USA the aggressor {which it wasn't - 9/11 was an attack on, not by the USA.}

or maybe the US and USSR, rather than being implacable enemies during the 1980's height of the cold war, were in fact Build-a-bearing up a new world order where the USSR would set up Afghanistan for a later takeover by the CIA.

Its about as credible as the attack on the USS Stark being carried out by neither Israel nor Iran , but flying saucers.

Grow up!

DtP said...

I too shall pop my 'tin foil hat' on - rather fetching I think, a mosaic of colours hewn from a Quality Street tin.

If John McCain & our own Neo-Cons want to engage then it's largely a matter of Iran. Syria has nothing to do with anything other than why waste a good crisis.

There's a massive movement (Liam Fox got largely killed over it) about the Dogs of War being let loose upon the Iranians for reasons of simple race, religion, territorial forment - that the end game has always been Iran, that nuclear weapons have become the currency, that sooner or later there's gonna be a US led intervention into Iran and it may as well be conducted through the proxy of the religious 'rebel' nutters than through any other means.

It's opportunistic, it's nieve but...but..if something's inevitable then when is a good time to realise that inevitability?

Ah, fun and games - the show that never ends!!

Horatio said...

Why would we want to be involved in a Syrian war? Because the Americans always want to share the opprobrium
Blair became obscenely rich after having committed the British army in Iraq, despite the army being inadequate and ill-armed resulting in defeat and bail out by the Americans.
Why do we get involved? Because we are owned by America. Our nuclear deterrent depends totally on the Americans . Our security services depend absolutely on the Americans, and without them we are impotent. In return I have no doubt we are obliged to support the USA in every madcap military adventure.

L fairfax said...

"Blair became obscenely rich after having committed the British army in Iraq, despite the army being inadequate and ill-armed resulting in defeat and bail out by the Americans."
Oh good Cameron can become obscenely rich as well!
Has he promised to share this with Hague or is Hague taking drugs?

Sand in my sandals said...

This little inter-Muzzy-sect disagreement has been rumbling on for the past 1400 years and this is just the latest instalment. Neither side can or will win in the end, but meanwhile we should just standby and let them wipe each other out. We can then talk to whoever is left come the end and perhaps help with rebuilding the country. It is currently none of our business and Cameron and Hague should keep right away from it. We have no vital interests to protect in Syria. Vladimir P has lots of experience of stroppy Muzzies from his Afghan and Chechnya days so he does know what he is talking about by warning folk off. I think all this talk of pipelines is either window dressing or totally irrelevant for the foreseeable future.

But I do wish somebody would knock some sense into Cameron's thick head. He is in dire need of a Damascene conversion.

Bill Quango MP said...

The thing is Dtp, if Iran is the endgame, why did the US invade Iraq?
A totally unnecessary step. And Afghanistan a doubly unnecessary one.

If the US state department had said to Saddam, "Hey, let us use your bases and roads and ports and we'll take out your mortal enemies for you. The ones that you spent a decade fighting .. And if you can let us have , say , 10,000 troops for front line infantry casualties, that'll be swell."
He might have said yes.

At the very least if the US had said "We're taking out Iran, so butt out . Here's $10bn. And you'd better take it or you'll be next."

Anyone think old beret head wouldn't have thought that a trade he couldn't refuse?

The only reason that even begins to look credible for why the US chose Iraq over Iran if Iran was the target seems to be George W really did just point blindly at a map of the gulf and say "Them's the bad guys..take 'em out Don." .

dearieme said...

Who was it said of the Iraq-Iran War, "Pity they can't both lose"? That's the spirit: keep out.

DtP said...

@BQ - fair points all but why not both? Both at the same time would have just opened the floodgates of modern day imperialism but 20 years apart, deals made, bribes paid. Iraq had more unrealised oil potential than Iran in terms of infrastructure to destroy so start with Iraq - eliminate the Baathists and consequently destabilise Syria. But that didn't happen - they screwed it. They forgot about religion - they thought it could just be monetised and would be a cake walk.

I dunno - it all just seems extremely convenient is all.

CityUnslicker said...

interesting comment about US UK, as said, to follow this path they are clearly not acting in national self interests.

It is intersting, although pure tin hat territory, to speculate as to why.

My guess is they are really worried about Hezbollah getting hold of WMD as they are mad enough to try to use it on Israel.

dearieme said...

"My guess is they are really worried about Hezbollah getting hold of WMD as they are mad enough to try to use it on Israel." Keep out of that too. Not our business.

andrew said...

My personal opinion on why the US went into iraq was
(a) GWB wanted to finish the job he thought his dad chickened out of
(b) if he went into Iran, that would be portrayed as an attack on the whole of Islam

On why we are thinking about doing something about Syria - well we have a defence budget - and we must spend it on something.
Parkinsons Law!

Dick the Prick said...

I don't think it's wrong to support Israel. That's the rhetoric - that's why we're all here. Israel has had nukes for 30 years - the Venunu lad got arse fucked for it, as is Manning but this Assange & Snowden duo are pussies - no skin in the game, just 'opinions'. Venunu should be banished to St Andrews or Oban and Manning to Maine to fish or something.

There's a Paki scientist flogged his British education to North Korea, popped under house arrest and fucks off to watch the cricket. He sold rogue states nuclear weapons! And Manning & Vanunu leaked gorgeous strategic information because they wanted to reassure people that government is different from family. Government is not executive and family is ruled by motive. I think Assange & Snowden are bit part players but for Iran to have it known that all 'blowing off the map' is none of their God damned business may be of reference. Why do Mozzies have a problem with Joos when they don't know Protestants? None of my business but Cranmer's got a thing going...I dunno.

Vanunu is a hero as is Manning. That's how society operates - each man can stop! Assange is starting to look like a proper cunt. Do a Galloway FFS.

Syria could be useful - ain't Darfur where numbers are just numbers. 300,000 dead in Syria - wake me up when it's a million or Pontefract! The prevailing culture seems to be 'meh'. Sentimental fucks, eh?

Electro-Kevin said...

Quite simply war abroad is far easier and satisfying to deal with than economic and social problems at home.

So said Mark Anthony.

Electro-Kevin said...

... not to mention the immense pressure brought to bear by internet footage these days.

Elby the Beserk said...

And talking of pipelines, was there not also talk a couple of years back of vast deposits of rare metals in the north of the country? Rivalling those held by China, ergo ripe for plundering by the West?

Or did I make that up.

Anonymous said...

Simple explanation, Mossad have info which would send Hague to jail and have told him they'll release it or else.

Graeme said...

Anon8.08

Oh you mean Hague and his various friendships that might not go down with the doughty Yorkshire folk??

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