It appears that foreign powers, including those with the most appalling human rights records, can demand that passports of their citizens can be confiscated by foreign powers. The question is why is the British government going along with this? Amazingly enough despite all the heated condemnatory language, the British government has done just that on behalf of the Assad regime.
Wailing moans of loss will continue to reverberate in the Syrian air as long as the elephants involved continue to promote their egos. It is unclear how to stop these, but one thing must be made clear; if concrete steps are not taken, eventually we will pay the price. Finally, the time has come to lend whatever assistance we can to alleviate the suffering of Syrians. Remember, they are humans, just like us.
We're reaching the end of 2015 with no end in sight over Syria. The carnage and agony continue. So do the detentions, the torture, the deaths in custody, the "disappearances" and state gangsterism. The Syrian government's barrel bombings also continue and the ever-widening internationalisation of the conflict appears to mean that any eventual resolution is harder still to envisage. But what, if anything, have we learnt about the Syria crisis during 2015? Here are a few thoughts...
Within the next week Members of Parliament will be voting on whether to launch air strikes against ISIS in Syria. With many Labour and Conservative MPs in support of extending air strikes into Syria, it is likely that the first bombing raids will take place towards the end of next week. But it has not been determined what the government wishes to achieve by bombing Syria.
There has been precious little to praise about the regime of Vladimir Putin in recent years. His actions in stoking civil war in Ukraine and annexing the Crimea region is criminal under international law, his crackdown on political opposition and dissenting voices has seen numerous state-sponsored and the oppression that can be experienced in Russia by ethnic and religious minorities, and the LGBT community, is shocking and criminally under-reported here in the west.
Bashar al-Assad is responsible for some of the most heinous war crimes of recent times, including the use of chemical weapons, the mass imprisonment and torture of political opponents, and the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas causing massive casualties. Yet the unpalatable reality must surely be that, despite his grim record, he remains indispensable in the search for an end to the conflict.
There is a great Arabic proverb: 'farkh al-bat awwam'. In English, 'the son of a duck, floats', or, 'like father, like son'. In Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's case, Mr al-Assad doesn't so much float as sink like a stone... Fifteen years ago today, Bashar 'inherited' the rule of Syria from his father, who, to be clear, wasn't much of a floater himself. Fifteen years on, Bashar has practically destroyed the country.
After the rejection by the British Parliament of intervention against Assad, he has been given free rein to destroy Syria and its people, creating devastation, chaos and a power vacuum. Into that gap stepped Islamic State, Iran and the Shia militias which have committed brutal and widespread crimes of their own.