Bullingdon bomber has his majority. Now what for Syria?
Cameron won a great victory, and Corbyn suffered a humiliating defeat in the Syria vote. But the big question remains: in this vastly complicated situation, what are we going to achieve?
‘The shouting and the tumult dies; the captains and the kings depart….’ and the Bullingdon Bomber has his majority. This is the present situation.
The West is fighting Assad who is fighting ISIL who is fighting us, and Turkey is fighting the Kurds who are fighting ISIL, from whom Erdogan is alleged to be buying oil, with Russia supporting Assad and our efforts against ISIL, and fighting against Chechnyans who are supporting ISIL.
It seems like only yesterday that Dave was hot for bombing Assad; now he is going to bomb ISIL which is bombing Assad.
If the aim is to bomb ISIL back to the Stone Age, it’s too late. It is already there. Now that that’s clear, there is a key question. What vital British interests are involved?
The difficulty faced by we the people is that we have been down this road before. Under Saddam, Iraq was stable, if brutal. George Dubya decided to bring down the only non-Islamic regime in the region. Step forward shock and awe! And what became of it at last? Complete disintegration of the state, mass slaughter, Sunni and Shia resuming their 1,000-year old war, and the escalation of terrorism.
Then to Afghanistan to remove Al Qaeda. This took three weeks and they then decamped to Yemen and other dusty hellholes. The ‘Allies’ stayed fourteen years fighting the Taliban who had never done us in Britain any harm. Now we have ISIL fighting the Taliban.
And so to Libya, another brutal regime but stable. So we assisted Gaddafi’s departure, leaving another failed state and haven for ISIL who have an estimated 3,000 jihadis in Gaddafi’s home town only about 80 miles from Europe as the Scud flies.
The big question in many British minds will be about who or what comes after Assad if the West maintains its stance that he must go.
This in turn raises the issue of post-war political and diplomatic strategy after ISIL is history, and the complexities of geopolitics that seem not to have been addressed at all.
The first move ought to be the creation of a grand alliance between the UK, France, the US and, most particularly, Russia.
It is also worth noting that of the 1,000+ deaths from ISIL terrorism abroad almost all victims have been Muslims, and yet there is little sign of any move for determined co-operation between Muslim nations to wipe out what must be by far the greatest threat to their own stability.
Another first move should be to take the Assad question off the agenda; his future (if any) is an increasing irrelevance to the main purpose of crushing ISIL totally. It must not merely be defeated; it must be exterminated ruthlessly for fear that it may rise from the dead at some time in the future.
No doubt the libertarian/civil rights nexus will make their usual loud noises regardless of the likelihood that this will give aid and comfort to the enemy. At this time, English public opinion appears to be marginally supportive of bombing Syria, with Scotland strongly against.
In Russia, public opinion is what Putin says it is.
Agreeing geopolitical solutions will be a long process, but they must be radical, and stipulate that future constitutions must be secular. This is a once-and-for-all opportunity for the major powers to unravel the artificial boundaries created by the Sykes-Picot deal after WW1.
Colonial administrators were adept at drawing straight lines on maps, as in the post-Ottoman carve-up. Inevitably, this disregarded sectarian, tribal, and ethnic distinctions. The geopolitical challenge is to rectify this.
It is beyond peradventure that this is a failed state that has totally disintegrated. There must be a new creation which will separate as far as is geographically possible, Shia, Sunni, Christian/Maronites and Druze.
This might also involve adjustment of Lebanon’s borders. A further move might be to remove Kurdish areas from both Syria and Iraq to create a new Kurdish State, however much squealing from Erdogan (at least the Islamo-Fascist won’t have to worry about publicity at home, having locked up nearly all Turkish hacks).
And it is blindingly obvious that Iraq is a basket case; it will never be a functional state without root-and–branch changes that accommodate both Sunni and Shia, and this means a federal structure.
The end-game is not pacification of Syria by bombing, or making war, but securing a lasting peace. The other option is endless turmoil.
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
We are wholly dependent on the kindness of our readers for our continued work. We thank you in advance for any support you can offer.