Thursday, 8 November 2012

David Cameron and the lucrative Syrian blood pie

After visiting the middle east the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his intention to overturn an EU ban on sending arms to Syria. He has stated that he wants British companies to arm the Islamic rebels in order to help them to overthrow the Syrian regime. According to the Guardian newspaper, Tory party officials stated that the Prime Minister now wants to put every possible measure to remove Assad "back on the table".

Cameron was in the region on a mission to hawk military hardware to middle eastern despots when he visited the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.  Cameron cited the "appalling stories" of suffering as his reason for trying to escalate the bloody civil war by selling British made weapons to one side of the conflict.

There are so many problems with this "we must arm the rebels to end the suffering" justification narrative it is literally mind boggling.

The unarmed prisoners of war in this picture were machine gunned to death.
 The UK Prime Minister David Cameron now wants to allow British arms companies
  to provide weapons to the Islamic fanatics that committed this war crime.
The first criticism is that funnelling arms into a conflict zone in order to put an end to human suffering is akin to pouring petrol onto a campfire because you don't want the wood to burn. You would really have to be an idiot to be taken in by the argument that arming one side of a conflict would reduce the level of human suffering more than efforts to enforce an arms embargo on both sides and to seek diplomatic solutions. It is repeatedly claimed that Iran and Russia are arming the Syrian side, however little mention is made in the western mainstream media of where the rebel forces are obtaining their weapons (or their soldiers for that matter). The fact is, that the rebels are being funded and armed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (all recipients of British arms). Any attempt to bypass weapons embargoes to provide British arms directly to the rebel forces would certainly give a strong and clear signal to Assad's allies that openly supporting one side of the conflict with weapons is now a completely legitimate strategy.

The next criticism is that the argument that the UK should be providing arms to the rebels shows a distinct lack of understanding of (or concern about) who the rebels actually are. The rebel forces do have many Syrian fighters, but there are plenty of foreign Islamic militants too, including Iraqi Al Qaida, and Islamic militias from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. It is truly remarkable to see the UK lurch from "The War on Terrorism" to arguing in favour of providing weapons to exactly the same international terrorist brigade, this time engaged in a bloody civil war that the Assad regime rightly describe as a terrorist insurrection led by foreign Islamic militants.

It shows a disgraceful level of British hypocrisy that our leaders would engage in a decade long occupation of Afghanistan in order to "stamp out terrorism", then fund and support terrorist groups in Libya and argue the case to do exactly the same for the Islamic terrorist groups in Syria. This is not to say that I support the fallen Qaddafi regime in Libya or the dictatorial Assad regime in Syria. It is a simple observation that when Islamic militants fight against British and American interests, they are "terrorists" that must be eradicated, but when they fight against Libyan or Syrian interests they are "heroes" that must be armed and supported. If Cameron can't understand how ugly this hypocrisy looks to the Islamic world, he must be suffering from some severe form of DoubleThink.

So Cameron's "argument" is that because he has heard first hand accounts of the suffering of anti-Assad refugees in Jordan, the right course of action is to arm the anti-Assad militants and, in theory, bring an end to the conflict. I've already explained why this strategy would probably just end up escalating and intensifying the conflict by giving the green light to pro-Assad outsiders to openly arm the Syrian regime too, however there is another important factor, and one that Cameron and the mainstream British media tend to overlook. There is plenty of suffering on the other side too. Take the postal workers that were thrown off the roof of a high rise building in Aleppo or the bleeding and clearly tortured prisoners that were machine gunned to death in front of a baying mob of Islamic fanatics there in July (WARNING direct link to graphic video). There was another brutal execution of clearly surrendered prisoners in Saraqeb, which happened just a few days before Cameron started demanding that British arms companies be allowed to provide weapons to the very groups responsible for these grotesque massacres. The UN have described these extra-judicial killings as war crimes, yet David Cameron is desperate to allow British arms companies to sell weapons to the people responsible. Are we sure that arming war criminals that have engaged in countless massacres of surrendered prisoners and civilians is actually going to "reduce the suffering"?

We should fund the Islamic militias in Syria
because funding the Islamic militias in Afghanistan
during the 1980s worked so bloody well didn't it?
Another factor to consider is the disastrous consequences of previous attempts by western forces to provide arms and support to Islamic fanatics. In the 1980s the CIA funded the Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan in order to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union. One of these Mujahideen fighters was a certain Osama Bin Laden, who was still being lavishly praised by the Western media in 1993 as a freedom fighter and a hero. This case alone is enough to make a strong argument that the direct provision of arms and support to Islamic fanatics can have extremely serious unintended long-term consequences. To see the UK and the USA engaged in supporting another proxy-war (via the western client states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey) because the interests of the Islamic militias once again align with the interests of the West should be utterly shocking to anyone that still believes the absurd "War on Terrorism" narrative. What level of cognitive bias does it take for someone to support the campaign against Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan and to also want to provide material support to an Islamic terrorist uprising in Syria?

Another argument against Cameron's "we must arm the rebels to end the suffering" narrative is that the story of Cameron becoming overwhelmed with sympathy for the plight of the Syrian people is just not believable. Given that his government is steadfastly refusing to stop the Atos DLA disability witch-hunt, at least until an inquiry has been held into the fact that 73 disabled people a week are dying after being declared "fit for work" shows that he is not even capable of empathy towards the most vulnerable of his own countrymen and their families. What would make anyone believe that he is capable of greater empathy towards a bunch of foreigners?

Cameron's lame justification narrative for his desire to arm the rebels is so full of gaping flaws (including the fact that it doesn't even make sense at the most fundamental level) it is astonishing. The narrative that "we must arm the rebels to end the suffering" is clearly just a hastily cobbled together smokescreen to obscure Cameron's real reasons for wanting to bypass the EU arms embargo.

When we consider what Cameron's real motivations are, it is important to remember exactly what he was in the region to do. He went to the middle east to help British arms companies broker contracts with pro-western despotic regimes such as the UAE, Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. That last name is very significant, as mentioned earlier, Saudi Arabia is one of the major sources of arms and funds to the Syrian uprising.

This brings us to Cameron's real reason for wanting to fund the rebels. He's seen what an enormous amount of money is flowing into Syria from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the blessing of the United States, and he wants to ensure that British arms dealers get a lucrative slice of this disgusting Syrian blood pie.

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