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.
If Europe wishes to find a solution for the problems of the Middle East, it needs to correct a number of misconceptions about Syria. Most importantly, it needs to realise that the key threat is not ISIS but the Assad regime, both of which are engaged with a fight to the death with Europe's only possible ally: the rebels.
Contrary to the desires and interests of regional governments, arming and helping the Kurds to fight ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in Kobane may be the trigger for the birth of a new nation - Kurdistan. No country in the region wants that but this will be one of the unintended consequences of the break up of Syria and the emergence of ISIL.
Just over seven months ago, activist, human rights champion and former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg was arrested, arrested on the basis that during a trip to Syria he had facilitated terrorism (or so they said). Now two seasons later and just as his trial was set to begin he's been released with all charges levelled against him dropped.
As Israeli missiles lay waste to Gaza, Hamas rockets fly and innocents die in civilian planes downed in eastern Ukraine, Syria has slipped even furthe...