Friday 26 September 2014

Parliament to vote for war against Eurasia

It does not seem very popular today to be against the UK getting involved in Iraq and Syria, but then again, MP's and the media like to have short memories.

There is no strategy whatsoever for the intervention. The RAF are going to bomb a few trucks and kill some terrorists. That is the good bit, the more of them that are dead the better given their unhinged barbarity they wish to inflict on everyone else in the world.

But with no troops on the ground, no rapprochement with Assad, no chance of Kurdish or Iraqi forces really being capable of offensive duties, what will this achieve? I have not even mentioned the Free Syrian Army, for good reason too, it is worthless and struggles to hold any territory inside of Syria.

Plus we have Libya - this sad country does not make the news now, the world having moved on. But Libya has not moved on, it has moved backwards, by about 100 years. Split by rival militias with either General warlords or lunatic religious terrorists. Libya was once a prosperous country, a small population and plentiful resources of oil and gas. A nice Mediterranean climate to boot.

What did Western intervention achieve in Libya in the long-term. Gaddafi is gone and replaced by a worse situation, much like Iraq. Extremism has a new fertile territory.

There was no plan in Libya and there is no plan for Syria. Iraq perhaps could be returned to its whole but this is unlikely as the schism in the Muslim world between Shia and Sunni is akin the the reformation in Europe. This will not be settled over a few years but many decades.

When the UK voted to not go into Syria last year, people now say this made it worse and allowed IS to flourish. This is a simplistic approach to what happened. IS grew from funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia who now at last seem to be realising the need to kill the monster they have created. IS grew because Shia Iraqi government lost support in Northern Iraq. The governance of Iraq needs attention, which it is now getting.

The problem of IS is not a creature of the West. The crazy terrorists use Western hostages and threaten the West for purposes of extortion and to gain more enlistees. We would do better to ignore them and encourage the regional powers to annihilate them. Bombing randomly from afar will do little or nothing to improve the situation and only goes to further enhance copycat terrorism around the world in the Phillipines etc.

Instead a vote is for a permanent war against radical Middle East factions, one that is stateless and probably impossible to win through military means. We have tried for nearly 20 years and still the war goes on. It is hauntingly similar to Orwell's Eurasia war of 1984.


Electro-Kevin said...

Frederick Forsyth is interesting here.

Big brother said...

We have never been at war with Eurasia.
We have always been at war with Oceania

BE said...

I read somewhere that Gaddafi deliberately set things up in Libya so that decapitating him would not really win anything. He made sure that there were plenty of competing interests, reducing the incentive for any one faction to ditch him.

As I was saying to my token lefty friend the other day, we in the "West" have to decide whether we want to keep our noses out, or go in properly. Air strikes and Bush-style invasions do not work. We need to either say "sorry chaps but you can't seem to run yourselves" and set up a UN or US/EU old-fashioned "mandate" or butt out, and use our precious resources to enforce our own borders and bolster police and security.

I can't imagine any of these options are especially appealing.

I just thank my lucky stars that I am not Ed Miliband, as I do most days.

Jan said...

Does anybody know if the people who volunteer to fight with ISIS are paid to do it? Even without being paid I can imagine it might seem a much more exciting option to travel abroad and take part in something you believe in rather than a life here with a lowly (in status and pay) Mcjob or the depression of the dole especially if you've got degree and been promised it was a passport to a good life. It must be a bit like all those young men going to Spain in the 30s to fight in their civil war.

I'm not sure how we counteract the niaivity and idealism of misguided youth but bombing will maybe make the problem worse.

BE said...

But we don't need the next generation of Orwells, we already have Owen Jones.

Nick Drew said...

A well-argued piece, CU

(even though I do't agree with you)

CityUnslicker said...

Jan - $10,000 a month, cash, courtesty of Qataris and Saudi's - who themselves are riven between factions who support IS and those that are on board with the Coalition.

Electro-Kevin said...

Jan - 72 virgins and the opportunity to decapitate as many infidels as they like.


Air strikes won't work entirely and it doesn't matter that they won't work. I would like us to show solidarity with the Americans whilst putting the minimum amount of our skin in the game.

We do, after all, live under their military umbrella and owe them, whether we like it or not.

There are 'our' people committing attrocities in Iraq. There are our people being decapitated by IS.

Our country did participate fully in the destabilisation of the ME. We have some obligation to try to put things right - though we have a terrible record for ballsing things up.

Timbo614 said...

My take is more serious, I think we should declare that the acts of IS(IS) are acts of war and therefore we are actually at war with them and their "allies".

We can then stop pussyfooting around with every arriving/leaving person that decides to fight with our enemies, or anyone promoting that people do that or anyone promoting the values of our enemies over ours.
They should be imprisoned as prisoners-of-war and detained until we decide the war is over (or it actually is).

We deploy armed troops to our ports and to patrol borders.

But we do not actually go there to bomb/fight them we just sit in our island fortress and defend it from this particular part of the world and its 'soldiers', as we have done in the past.

That would actually be taking the problem seriously. For IS(IS) and it's allies it is already a war...

Electro-Kevin said...

Set up a home guard, Timbo. (As you can see, I've enlisted already.)

BE said...

Who are "they" in this case though Timbo?

People don't depart on flights to ISISland! Or are you proposing a formal war against Syria and Iraq?

My MP tweeted that she was popping out of the debate to a Macmillan coffee morning. Not quite sure what to make of that.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Hmmm. Tornado flying at circa £30,000/hr dropping storm shadow missiles at £1million/bang. Very expensive gesture politics if you ask me.

Timbo614 said...

@BE: "They" are the (as yet unrecognised) "Caliphate" and whatever land/parts of countries they claim as theirs.

I don't actually think we have to "declare war" on a particular country. But suggest we put the country on a "war footing" I think is the expression.

"My MP tweeted that she was popping out of the debate to a Macmillan coffee morning. Not quite sure what to make of that."

She is definitely NOT taking this threat seriously, that's exactly the behaviour from MPs that I am talking about. They don't get it yet!

Electro-Kevin said...

Eurasia - I always thought they were a shit band too, but I think going to war with them is a bit strong.

Sinik said...

"no chance of Kurdish or Iraqi forces really being capable of offensive duties"

Really? Germany is currently training 16,000 Kurd, who are rapidly being armed to the teeth. I suspect that this will cause other problems futher down the road, but in the shorterm it seems to me that a properly trained force in a life-and-death fight for its own territory with the ability to call in Western air-strikes at will stands a good chance. The opposition consists of 31,000 irregulars, many of whom have no training or experience of battle whatsoever.

Nick Drew said...

I am inclined to Mr Sinik's view (no cynic, he)

the Kurds, along with several other regional forces, have good and disciplined fighting traditions

[ the performance of Iraqi regulars has been a disgrace: theirs is a martial nation, and their fathers, heavily outnumbered, fought Iran to a standstill in the early 1980's, with strong tactical and strategic leadership - another post for another time - whatever we think of Saddam he had some excellent generals ]

and as I've argued here before, airpower deprives ISIL of the ability to concentrate and advance: there is nowhere to hide except skulking in towns, trust me on this one

in the desert, wars of conquest rely ultimately on concentration and maneouvre: you can wax lyrical about Stirling and T.E.Lawrence, but their pin-prick tactics ultimately had to give way to the great concentrated thrusts of Montgomery and Allenby respectively

unlike the jungle (urban or botanical) there is no concept of sustained guerrilla ops in the desert if your aim is territorial

the great shame here is that the Turks, for their own sovereign reasons, don't seem to have a dog in this fight: they would cut through 'ISIL territory' like a fly-swat through the air

andrew said...

maybe it is the modern times, but it seems that life has become both
- very expensive (in terms of what it costs the west to kill terrorists)
- very cheap (in terms of what it costs the terrorists to kill westerners)

CityUnslicker said...

Sinik, ND

The Kurds, oh dear.

The Kurds have been shfated by the Iraqi's for decades. They want their own country. This doe snot consist of the bits IS are in posession thereof. They will take the training and then defend their mountainous region to the hilt. Adopt the Syrian Kurds and then think about whether to pick on Iran or Turkey.

They are utterly corrupt, the Talabani family and the Bazani families that run the show are typical middle eatern familial potentates. A lesser version of Assad.

Another large strategic own goal by the West.

Anonymous said...

What's scary is that Galloway sounds more sensible than 90% of the Commons:

a) the people we want to bomb now are the people we armed and trained, and wanted to fight alongside only a year ago

b) we have six jets out there, Saudi Arabia have several hundred - why aren't they doing it if they care so much?

c) because Saudi money is funding the Syrian opposition - including ISIS and

d) if we really cared about democracy in the Middle East, why aren't we trying to overthrow the House Of Saud rather than Assad?

I pray we keep out of Syria - my fears being that the end-game there is still to remove Assad as part of encircling Iran. Bastard though he be, it's Assad or anarchy and mass ethno-religious cleansing/slaughter in Syria. If we cared for the people there, we'd be offering him two squadrons.

PS - if Germany are really arming and training 16,000 Kurds, Turkey will be watching closely. It's a Grand Festival Of Unintended Consequences!

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say - it doesn't matter a hoot to the big ME picture whether we send six Tornados next week or the week after - but it matters a lot to Cameron to get UKIP off the headlines.

Dirty game, politics - though a lot cleaner here than in most countries. I'd still keep flying to a minimum were I Farage, and always have an escort while driving. Look at what happened to that Austrian chap (Haider?) when he took a long drive alone.

Laban said...

Andrew - are you familiar with Kipling's poem on the topic you raised?

Steven_L said...

It's no good letting them all unite and form some kind of Islamic superpower, or 'caliphate'.

Never-ending war it is then.

andrew said...


I was not, thanks.
Nothing changes.

BE said...

Loling at the idea of Assad being a leader of stability. Was definitely true when I was lucky enough to visit Syria. A few years past that now, I suggest.

As for paranoid UKIPers, get some perspective. The parliamentary debate had to wait until after the Scots referendum for obvious reasons. Parliament had been recalled during Labour's or the Tories' conferences, do you suppose an adult debate would have been possible, making war a party political issue?

Perhaps the debate should have been delayed until after the MRLP's conference too, and the Greens' and Plaid Cymru.

One thing that UKIPers seem to share is this idea that they are going to form the next administration. It would be funny if it was not so sad. Try stepping away from the blog comments section.

Timbo614 said...

@BE: " It would be funny if it was not so sad"

Something is happening...

BE said...

Two or three MPs and a Labour majority. Half a hand clap for the twat party.

In the old days they would have had the balls to challenge for the leadership.

Anonymous said...

BE - from a military perspective, given the US involvement an extra six planes are neither here nor there. We're there to "broaden the alliance". There was no need to bring back Parliament on a Friday - but how convenient for all three parties - and Any Questions moved from Rotherham (would have been lively) to London so that the MPs on the panel could attend.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yes, but north Africa and middle east was not part of Eurasia or Eastasia, that was the bit which all three powers fought over.

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