I am no expert on the Middle East or war in general, but the Syrian civil / religious war terrifies me. Having spent time in Turkey, I do have a slight understanding of the ongoing dichotomous strife between Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, paralleling the Catholic and Protestant divisions of Christianity, that led to such horrific Christian on Christian atrocities in the Middle Ages and later; rifts which have still not healed properly in many places such as Northern Ireland and Western Scotland.
Syria seems to me to be the culmination of this terrible internecine Sunni / Shia Islamic conflict that is causing the deaths of tens of thousand of Muslims every year in Muslim on Muslim violence in Pakistan, India, Lebanon, China, Afghanistan and virtually every country in the Middle East and North Africa except Iran. One has to wonder what is fanning the flames of this religious strife that is wreaking such havoc in Syria and the Islamic world. Azerbaijan is virtually the only country left in the region where Sunni and Shia pray together in the same mosques.
Is it the Saudi based Wahhabi and Salafist Fundamentalist Sunni sects who hate Shiites more than any other race, religion or creed? Or is it the US and its allies who are undoubtedly backing this Saudi Arabian and other Sunni states initiative against the Alawite Shiite Government of President Assad, in their support for the Syrian Sunni rebels? This could all be in preparation for an all-out war with Iran, a Shiite country and one the USA dearly wants to punish for the 1979 revolution and subsequent hostage drama which highlighted America’s impotence at protecting it’s own Embassy staff.
The USA under Barack Obama has escalated the so called “War on Terror” to new heights with the Drone programme assassinating high-ranking Al-Qaeda leaders in many different countries. It is therefore a conundrum of enormous magnitude that the US and it’s allies, including Britain, would want to arm the Syrian rebels, they are a loose grouping of Islamic Fundamentalist Wahabi Sunnis who detest the Shiites as much as they do the Western powers. It makes no sense to arm a group that will eventually turn these weapons back on the very people who armed them; we have seen this before with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is therefore with horror, trepidation and scepticism that I see Tony Blair is calling for the arming of the Syrian rebels and demanding a Western powers based “No Fly Zone” over Syria to protect the rebels from the Syrian government’s air-force.
This man is supposed to be a peace envoy to the Middle East on behalf of the Quartet ( the UN, the US, the EU and Russia ), charged with advancing reconciliation in the region. Given the quagmires he caused in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia,(and our subsequent involvement in Libya) he is the last person who should be calling for this. He ought to be brokering a peace agreement or at the very least a meeting of those involved in the bloodshed. David Cameron, Barack Obama and Blair seem to be intent on becoming embroiled in yet another conflict in the Middle East that will cost billions, will not resolve the religious issues and will cost the lives of our servicemen and women-all of this in the same week that the USA have announced the start of talks with the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist Wahhabi Sunni group in Afghanistan and the very people the International forces including the UK have been fighting for the last 11 years!
It really is time the British people started asking why these conflicts are taking place, who is really behind them and why we must be involved in what will be another military debacle. As a consummate devourer of news, it is beyond me!