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Kanmi Iyanda

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Open Letter to David Cameron

Posted: 27/08/2013 11:32

Dear David,

I am writing to you in the wake of the ongoing dilemma called Syria and hoping you will heed to some of the advice you will find in the following paragraphs. I am cognisant of your heavy workload, so brevity will be my keyword.

Let me start by laying my cards on the table. I have never run anything in my life, talk less of running a government or being one of the most powerful individuals in the world. I am just a keen observer of world affairs and a keener follower of the history of the Middle East, who sits on the sidelines and watches our leaders fumble through crisis after crisis.

Clearly, you have an endless list of advisers who are far more qualified than myself and as such, would hopefully guide you with wisdom this issue demands, but if the totality of their advice is for the UK to get involved in Syria militarily, then I have to say they are wrong.

Syria, like most countries in the Middle East and North Africa, is a country most Westerners do not understand and consequently, when we interfere in their business, we often come out worse off than when we went in. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are three examples of political open sores we are yet to effectively heal, but somehow it appears the lesson is never learnt.

The issue isn't whether we are obliged to go into these countries, the issue is we have shown time after time, we do not possess the guile to draw up an exit strategy when the time to leave arrives. Like a bumbling 'good' Samaritan who wants to stand up to the schoolyard bully, we rush in and end up with more than egg on our faces and yet we attempt to conjure up a story for the electorate, of how we are mandated to keep the peace in cultures we clearly do not understand.

Let's take Libya as an example.

For all the hue and cry rained down on us by you and other world leaders, Libya today is as bad as Syria. There are lawless individuals still toting around with enough arms to destabilise a small country and the peace we have brought to that land is a tenuous as the relationship we had with Qaddafi. If Libya's payback for kicking out the much reviled statesman, was to murder the US ambassador, then it is only a matter of time before the powder keg they precariously sit on, takes the whole place apart. Once the media leaves Damascus behind, I will not be surprised if the next stop is Benghazi.

I am not predicting this woe because I am a naysayer, rather, I am just recounting the pattern we see continuously before us. As a leader in the so-called free world, I am sure you see these things too, but it seems there are other behind-the-scene factors which are dictating the path your government intends to go down.

The current atrocities in Syria are heinous and barbaric, but how can we tell the reality on ground? Who do we know has used what weapons in such an opaque war? How do we know it was the Syrian government who ordered the shooting at UN Inspectors? How do we know categorically the rebels haven't used chemical weapons? How is it our Foreign Secretary is already calling out the Assad government on these crimes, when the inspectors haven't concluded their investigations? How can we expect the Syrian government to see us as neutral? Could there be other reasons why we are so keen to get involved? Are the exertions of Shell in the Syrian landscape a pointer to facts minnows like myself are not privy to? Where is the proof that previous interventions in this volatile region has ever ended well and worthy of getting involved in?

I am aware there will be dissenting voices (albeit in the minority) like mine amongst your advisers and I am 100% sure the hawks are doing all they can to get you committing the UK troops to this war, but at least unlike your predecessor (once removed), you cannot say no one told you otherwise. This letter is in the public arena now and will stand as a stick to beat you with, post your misadventure in Assad's playground.

In conclusion, I wish you good luck in all you do. The responsibilities of being at the helm of affairs of such a powerful country must be overwhelming. I am aware people like me only know 20% of the story and as such, I will accede to your superior position, but I pray you do not get so blinded-sided that you start to believe this is your moment to crystallise your legacy. For this is not your moment. And always remember...in the end, all leaders fail, but history is kinder on the leaders who possess clarity and do not attempt to hoodwink their people.

Regards

Kanmi Iyanda

P.S - I hear Tony Blair has asked for you to intervene asap...well, if that doesn't dissuade you from what is clearly political harakiri, nothing will.

 

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