Syria – I am giving below the text of letters from me to the Foreign Office Ministers, and to the US Embassy in London

Lord Hylton

To Baroness Warsi: (28.08.13)

You are personally in a better positioin than most Ministers to foresee the possible unintended consequences of missile or other air-strikes.  These could be very serious throughout the whole Arab and Muslim world.  From being something of a pariah, Assad could be transformed into a noble victim.

It is worth recalling that the missiles launched at Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq under President Clinton, following the bombings of the US embassies, achieved remarkably little.  There are strong arguments in favour of continued containment of Syria, reinforced perhaps by diplomatic contact on the ground inside Syria, with the various opposition groups (possibly excluding Al Qaeda).  You may have heard the short interview with former US Ambassador,  Ryan Crocker, on this point.

Robert Fisk, in an article in the Independent of 27th August, argued that air-attacks will play into the hands of Al Qaeda in Syria and strengthen the allies of the Assad regime.

As an alternative to air-strikes, I sent an email on 23rd August to William Hague, suggesting that every effort should be made to detach Assad’s allies from continuing to help him.  Very powerful inducements could be offered to Iran and to Hezbollah, to persuade them to abandon Assad.  You can imagine these.

To the American Embassy: ((29.08.13)

A majority of British adults probably oppose air-strikes, and few people anywhere suggest a ground attack.  I share their concerns.

It is necessary to look at the past record.  There have been Western bombardments of Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Mali, as wells drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.  Cruise missiles launched under President Clinton achieved remarkably little. Nevertheless, the cumulative impact on the Arab and wider Muslim world must be huge.  Russia’s brutal treatment of Chechnya and Georgia begins to look modest by comparison.

Please urge your Government to beware of further unintended consequences.  I can appreciate that the President may wish to avoid appearing weak, but I doubt that there is such a thing as a clean surgical strike.  Assad may well emerge strengthened rather than weakened and Al Qaeda may well rejoice if force is used.

I suggest that containment of an evil regime is the most promising strategy, coupled with diplomatic efforts to detach Syria’s allies, primarily Iran and Hezbollah.

10 comments for “Syria – I am giving below the text of letters from me to the Foreign Office Ministers, and to the US Embassy in London

  1. MilesJSD
    02/09/2013 at 10:22 pm

    Confusion, conflation, complicity, consternation and cowardice have come to rule the world ?

    “Evil regimes ” ?
    We need to see such a scale of “Evil” published by The United Nations,
    or we should have such a Scale ready and first-draft-published for comment;

    and such a Scale of Evil needs to deal with every Human-Body on this Earth (regimes)(constitutions)(establishments)(societies)(religions)(law-structures)(economies)(compulsory education-systems)(media)(books)(popular-beliefs)(‘individuals’)…
    No successfully-Christian country is in evidence here;
    for viz “Let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone” every “faith” is phariseelike-hypocriticly

    we must also suspect that no other Persuasion in the World has such “Right”.
    Furthermore, it is an inescapable fact that every power-party to even “contained” Warfaring on today’s insidiously-increasingly extinction-destined Living and Erstwhilely-Human Earth, is Pyrrhic-Victory entrenched in Essential-Service & Private-Rights to continue drawing Multiple-Livings from The Common Purse and to be Militarily-Protected and Distanced from the Legalised- as well as the illegalised- Murder and Mass-Murder of these conflicts that result from firstly the protected-luxury-lifestyles of the Power-Politicians and Lawyers and secondly from their Unfitness-for-Governance-Purposes.
    as well as Charity
    must begin at Home ?

  2. Bumble Bee
    03/09/2013 at 9:23 am

    I’ve not thought of Assad as being evil yet, but Lord Hylton now appears to do so. I was never persuaded of Saddam Hussein’s evil nature, merely a puppet of Westen Oil and other interests, any more than any other leader/politician!

    Some people are prepared to take responsibility; others are not.

    This generation of the Assad family does not LOOK as though it has strength of purpose, but who is to say strength of purpose is a good thing in a hereditary presidency?!!! His father always did give the impression of strength of purpose, whilst not being a likeable man, from afar.

  3. maude elwes
    03/09/2013 at 10:41 am

    And Mssrs Blair, Bush, Obama are innocents of course. Assad the lone devil of the planet.

    Shall we have a look at these particular monsters at work. And feast on those behind him as he speaks with their support.

    How this man is still walking free and allowed to continue pull in millions on this countries back proves he is the kind of Judas that was backed by our Parliament.

    And here is our American special relationship up front and in your face.

    The outcome:

    And Obama the Nobel peace prize winner from an Irish point of view.

    And drones, those chemical warfare rockets that are a good way to annihilate.

  4. Bumble Bee
    04/09/2013 at 8:30 am

    In his early days a handsome and glamorous colonel, trained in UK, Hussein seemed just the mane for peace and stability in the former
    British colony.

    With the loss of a hereditary president, what kind of power vacuum would there be in Syria.
    He would probably like to hand over to a brother or cousin, but that might well be deemed undemocratic, according to UN rights law.

    I can see the point of Obama making threats to require a little bit of peace in that sector of the class room/lecture hall. I don’t watch Tv so I am uninfluenced by gory pictures, doctored by the media, and repeated ad infinitum to have their effect.

    A woman remarked to me yesterday that everything you see on TV is weird (re sex and gender). It is, but if she had included
    wars it would have been no less a criticism,
    weird and macabre. Nothing is as it seems to be, if you put your viewing specs on.

    I see none of it. I should like to visit Aleppo which is said to be a beautiful city, and if it has been done in like Dubrovnik was in the course of one week, they will soon get it together again, for pleasureable life and living.

  5. Bumble Bee
    04/09/2013 at 8:58 am

    “Soon after Shishakly’s domination ended in 1954, a union with Egypt under Gamal Abdul Nasser was implemented in 1958. The union, however, collapsed only two years later when a junta of young Damascene officers carried out a separatist coup.”

    Also the population of Aleppo has increased since 1990 from about 1m to about 2m. how would we deal with such an increase in the UK, having seen an increase from 50 to 60m in a slightly longer period?

    I don’t know how our Prime minister intended to change the middle East, with a vote, when the key players in Syria have always been the French, according to this wiki link, which is an excellent record!

    The city is pulled in both directions not by
    earthquake but by the differing interests of
    the people of Istanbul and Cairo.
    when it is clear that good political resolutions are to be had in Cairo, then it may also be much clearer in Syria.

    Life and trade goes on, regardless of the power mongers, the cell like architectural and living structures of Aleppo being proof of it. The population in 1901 only 110,000.

  6. Bumble Bee
    05/09/2013 at 8:39 am

    The two critical facts about Syria are

    1)Their increasing indebtedness to Russia and China
    2) The determination by US/UK to put them on a list for being a non-democratic dictatorship since the 1970s.

    That it is also non compliant with the UN resolutions for two party democracies, which was not relevant before 1990 on account of soviet totalitarianism, and not even a requirement of international Human rights law.

    The Assad family clinging to power without any democratic election at all. Would ya believe it?

    Who is to say that a newish monarchy (hereditary presidency) is any less good than an old one, worldwide?
    On that basis we should be campaigning for the removal of the Queen from the head of state of Australia.

    The truth is that non elective democracy in Syria runs rather deeper than that.

  7. Bumble Bee
    09/09/2013 at 7:28 pm

    The book ‘Syria’ by David Lesch is instructive
    for its ability to remind me what I had forgotten happened in the Arab world ten minutes ago.

    The recent panacea for all ills of education, and ,if you like education and education, is apparently not a panacea for the Arab world at all. It causes social unrest of huge proportions in all the northern Arab states. They expect to get jobs
    with it and don’t.

    I do hope that Assad is not painted the evil demon that some are attempting to portray.
    Is Egypt still without an elected President?
    Are Tunisia, Libya and Algeria actually at peace with themselves? Is this only a matter for Syria or is it one for the whole of the Arab world?

    If it is for the wholw Arab world then where is the Arab league making its opinion known?

    Chemical weapons are a level down from nuclear weapons. Authoritative BBC voices are heard telling people what to do in Syria, if they are confronted by the threat of such weapons (run like hell).

    Senator Carey’s remark today that whether

    “Syria has chemical weapons or not they are to give them all up” that if they had not got them they are to give ’em up and if they have they are to give ’em up too!!

    can only rank as the wise remark of a US senator; he did actually know what he was saying in so far as the stupidity of international political statements is concerned, which was why it was a wise remark.

    Bashar Assad was then heard to remark that
    it would be the end of everything. Poor man!
    What a poisoned chalice did his late father leave to him and the wider Assad family, becoming more corrupt by the day.

  8. maude elwes
    13/09/2013 at 5:44 pm

    Here is a video it would do well for our lOrds to watch.

  9. Honoris Causa
    16/09/2013 at 12:45 pm

    I am glad the RF and the US have come to terms about what amounts largely to the debt problems
    of a small fry country. I hope Syria can find some chemical weapons by May next year to hand in. Can anybody supply them?

  10. Honoris Causa
    01/10/2013 at 7:55 pm

    Reading as i am a short history of the events of the past four years, and before in Syria, i am rather glad i am not taking that particular route to the holy land on a pilgrimage of self improvement, at this moment, with the FSA,(Free Syrian Army) and the SNC(Syrian National council) both working from outside the country to destabilize whatever they can.

    It is essential to not that Syria is a client state, now, of Russia, as opposed to the Soviet Union and yet Syria was until about 18 months ago still committed to the kind of totalitarian democracy that The Soviet union enjoyed before democratization of the RF, (Russian Federation).
    In other words they only had one party and that was the Ba’athist party founded in Paris as a socialist party in the 1950s.

    B Assad should be given his due in announcing presidential elections for 2014, and multi party democracy as of 18 months ago. He could stand for a third term.

    their big problem is the lack of multi party democracy, when most other countries have discovered that particular requirement of the UN declarations and acted upon them. that is not to say that there have never been Senates and congresses over the years since the foundation of the Ba’athist party. there have, but they may well have been one party
    elections only.

    The AL(Arab league) is described as a dictators’ club considering all those states which have monarchies or one party rule. Considering all those Arab Sheikhs one woinder whether Assad is ambitious to be crowbed king if nothing lese; it would be risky since Faisal, before he became King of Iraq for a few months (his whole family was gunned down soon after), he was King of Syria.

    Russia is the arma emtns supplier to SYria, whereas doubtless UK/FR/US are also supplying plenty of weapons to the external Syrian organisations.

    The answers are not easy but for Assad to attempt to stick to his multi-party election plan for 2014, would be a measure of his integrity(!!!!!) and save him from as a sticky an end as some of his Arab colleagues have had over the last few years. I certainly wish him well in any venture for a peaceful transition to multiparty democracy and presidential campaign, with his own peaceful…. descent from such power as he now has.

    The Chemical weapons ploy is playing for time, but it may turn out to be very useful time indeed. Ther are times when dictators, even Maggie T(!)
    could only reflect the mood of the people, and such responsible people in the middle east, may only be able to do the same, whilst at risk of their lives, and their families ,and a sticky end, in so doing.

    We are nearer now to confrontation between the super powers than we have been for many a long year, so disabling recently imported chemical weapons is the first and most important thing to do….

    ” He has gotta hand them over whether he has got any or not!!”

    as one US senator very wisely remarked, in the usual throughly daft way
    available to US senators … with respect Sir!

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