David Cameron has achieved his goal and Britain is bombing Islāmic State (IS) in Syria. He won his vote in the House of Commons by claims of bogus battalions, balderdash and bullying.
The skies over Syria were filled with aircraft bombing before Britain joined. The conventional wisdom is that air power is backed up by ground troops. They usually spot the targets for bombing. Cameron has said that there is a 70,000 strong (FSA) on the ground. In reality it is a patchwork of at least 30 disaffected groups including Sunni and Kurds who are interested in toppling Syrian President Assad. They are not likely to turn against the Sunni based IS who is also working to remove Assad. As for Cameron’s claims that the FSA is politically moderate, some of the American-trained fighters have given their US-provided equipment to Al Qaeda.
Cameron was also overstating Britain’s high-precision, laser-guided Brimstone missiles. They are not unique to Britain, as Canada also has them. They may have been state of the art in 2011, military hardware has since moved on.
America has bombed IS in Iraq and Syria for more than a year with hundreds of aircraft. The aim as Cameron restated is to ‘degrade and destroy’ IS. Since the year long bombing of Syria, IS recruitment has increased 50% from 15,000 to 30,000. They have about 100,000 members on the ground. IS is not a regular army, they disappear quickly and rebuild oil wells fast. The expert view is that IS have left Raqqa which is Cameron’s key target and with the best will in the world you cannot bomb an ideology.
David Cameron in his speech spoke of ‘these Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters”. All powerful stuff. I wondered if he was referring to Britain’s friend Saudi Arabia where 113 people were beheaded in 21 months. There is a definite hypocrisy when Britain is dealing with the Middle East.
As the Prime Minister Cameron should be inviting debate and respecting the opinions of even those who disagree with him. Instead, he has been forceful in attacking those who disagree with his war on Syria and labelling them a ‘bunch of terrorist sympathisers.’ I am not surprised at the attack, bullying appears to be a tactic in the toolbox of the Conservative party. The poor are besmirched, trade unions bashed and young Conservatives bullied.
His comment, which demeans the office of the prime minister, was not an accident. It was a deliberate ploy to intimidate and belittle. An apology therefore would be as bogus as his claims to a 70,000 strong Free Syrian Army (FSA). His comment was ill-informed and ignorant.
David Cameron has no real argument. The bombing lacks legal justification and his FSA is a bogus battalion. Claims of weapon superiority, finding IS in Raqqa and degrading them is balderdash. Britain is engaged in a symbolic act of war and there is no prospect of winning it unless we follow the money. Somebody is buying the oil sold by IS and somebody is providing weapons. So far all roads lead to Saudi Arabia friend of Britain and Turkey, who wants to be part of NATO. Prepare for British troops to be deployed.
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