We need to keep out of Syria

Britain and America should have learned their lessons from history. No good can come of an intervention in Syria, argues UKIP's deputy leader

Paul Nuttall
On 20 June 2013 11:19

The situation in Syria has become really explosive, with Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama both pledging arms to the Free Syrian Army.

I believe that David Cameron's chosen course of action is deeply wrong on a number of fronts.

By beating the war drums in Syria, Cameron is following Blair's folly in Iraq. The decision to intervene in a war is the most serious a government can take. But since Blair's crazy armed escapades in Iraq, successive British ministers have gone to war without outlining a proper objective, a long term strategy or an exit mechanism. Britain's recent involvement in Libya is a case in point.

I am no fan of the existing Syrian regime as it is led by the Assad dynasty which is undemocratic and has a long list of human rights abuses. They are people you wouldn't want to cross.

However, if you ask the question: would women, Christians and ethnic minorities be better off under a secular Assad regime or under extreme Islamists who are currently seeking a foothold there? We already know the answer.

The nation of Syria has had a long tradition of Sunnis, Shia, Alawite, Christian, Armenians, and Jews, all living together in peace.

Assad has many faults but he has long defended the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities within the borders of his country.

It is a simple fact, that after the fall of Arab dictators like Gaddafi, Hussein, Mubarak etc, the situation for women and Christians in the Arab world has sharply deteriorated. These Arab strongmen lost power to Islamist extremists. The conflict in Syria, in a very broad brushstroke, is between those who want to see a tolerant Syria where everyone has a place and a divided Syria dominated by those with connections to or sympathy for Al Qaeda.

The CIA has stated that a number of groups fighting on behalf of the rebels are linked to Al Qaeda, and the Iraqi government has confirmed that Al Qaeda fighters have crossed the border from northern Iraq to take up arms on behalf of the rebels.

If Cameron's scheme comes to life, the British people would be arming Islamists and terrorists who could possibly attack British soldiers in the future. Have we learnt nothing from what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq? I think it is about time we did.

There is also increasing evidence that these "rebels" are committing war crimes. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused the rebels of conducting summary executions, sectarian violence and using child soldiers.

People should be appalled at some of the players that Cameron is getting into bed with.

In May this year, Abu Sakar, a commander of the rebel Farouq Brigade, was caught on TV, cutting out and biting into the heart of a dead Syrian soldier. The U.S. based Human Rights Watch said the clip was authentic and Sakar himself also admitted he did it to Western media.

It is wrong and ill-advised of Cameron to give British weapons to human-heart-eating radicals in Syria. Sitting in London, Cameron and William Hague do not really know what type of people they are supporting. Nor, once they have handed over British weapons, can they control their destination.

This is totally unacceptable both for us and for the people of Syria. Throwing heavy arms into Syria is like throws matches at a powder keg.

I fear by sticking our elbow into the Syrian conflict we will be entering a war by proxy: Britain, America and the French arming the rebels whilst the Russians and Iranians supplying the Assad regime. This is a very dangerous situation that is again dividing the world into two armed camps.

One hundred years ago the world became divided into two camps over the Balkans. The result was World War I. We must learn the lessons of history or be condemned to repeat its mistakes. This is one of many reasons why UKIP opposes British involvement in war on Syria.

The British people can see that arming terrorist rebels will lead to more deaths of innocent Syrians. And what if we topple the Syrian government?

We could end up with an Islamic fundamentalist state that will give its support to the Al Qaeda network. And they will be armed – with the weapons we have given them. This is unwise, and flatly, unacceptable.

Paul Nuttall was a lecturer in History. He is currently deputy leader of UKIP and MEP for England North West

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