THE BLOG

Syria: Samantha Cameron Is Right, UK Defence Chiefs Are Wrong

15/07/2013 15:34 BST | Updated 14/09/2013 10:12 BST

The Daily Telegraph reported Monday 15 July 2013 "that senior military figures have warned the Prime Minister that with the momentum on the side of President Assad's regime, sending small arms and missiles is unlikely to make a difference.

There are also growing concerns that arms sent to Syria could end up in the hands of extremists rather than moderate rebels, potentially presenting a long-term threat to British security.

More significant military intervention, such as introducing a no-fly zone over Syria, could mire Britain in a conflict for months because of the strength of the regime's air defences.

The move represents a significant climb-down by Mr Cameron. He and his Foreign Secretary, William Hague, have been keen to act. In May he demanded an end to the EU arms embargo to give him more options.

His wife, Samantha, was reportedly pushing for him to take a more robust response after being moved by the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Syria".

I don't believe David Cameron is blind to what is happening in one of the most strategic part of the World? The West's lack of clear decisive strategy has emboldened Iran, Russia and al Qaeda to operate freely in Syria.

Let's be absolutely clear, The Syrian people, the opposition and the Free Syrian Army are not demanding military intervention. All Syrians with a few exceptions have rejected an Iraqi or Libyan style intervention. They don't want troops on the ground. They want no-fly, no-kill zones in the North near the Turkish borders and in the South near the Jordanian borders. This will provide protection for the Syrian refugees and may encourage more defections from the regular Syrian army to the FSA. The second thing they demand which can be easily provided by NATO is anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. Whilst Russia and Iran are supplying armaments to the Syrian army, it makes lot of sense for the West and the so-called Friends of Syria to help the opposition. The murderous Syrian regime is getting economic and substantial military help from Russia, Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. The Free Syrian Army is getting limited assistance from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The longer the West remains inactive, the more Islamic extremists will join the war. Inaction by the West over the last two years had encouraged the regime to kill more than 100,000 Syrians and force the displacement of over 2 million Syrians. By turning a blind eye, the Western Powers mainly the US and the UK have in effect given the green light to Al-Qaeda and other Jihadists to enter Syria. The Syrian regime has welcomed the influx of extremists to justify its war against the population.

Bashar al Assad can carry on killing his own people aided by Iran, Hezbollah and Russia and no one will stop him as long as he follows the rules. The rules say "use conventional weapons only and there shall be no consequences".

I am not aware of any evidence that killing a person by a knife, a bullet or a tank shell hurts less than if gas is used. If the result is death, what kind of weapon is used is academic and therefore Bashar al Assad has got the message.

In August last year US President Barack Obama had made it clear that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would represent "a red line" - though he subsequently backed away from this as a firm commitment to take military action. Recently Obama said that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime is a "game-changer". According to press reports the red-line has been crossed several times.

I would end by posing a number of questions:

Does David Cameron seriously believe that it is in the UK and US interests for Iran and Hezbollah, aided and abetted by Russia to determine the future of Syria?

Do the army chiefs want Iran and Hezbollah to control Syria as they do in Lebanon and Iraq?

Does London want Tehran to call the shots in the wider Middle East?

Is it not a strategic UK interest to defeat this unholy alliance of Iran, Hezbollah and Russia?

Does it surprise Cameron that Iraq is backing this alliance with money, materials and men?

The UK and its US allies must arm the rebels and ditch Geneva 2 process which will not succeed.

Samantha Cameron got it right and she must be listened to.