Could Syria ignite World War 3?
That's the terrifying question as the hatred between two Muslim ideologies sucks in the world's superpowers.This brought back to mind an incident which occurred some 50 years ago when I was at an Australian Government reception in London (don't ask!) and chatting to an Australian Army Officer who was on a course at Sandhurst.
At the time China was flexing its muscles and there were border clashes with Russia. The cold war was at its height and the Berlin wall had been erected. A belief among those in the military who were studying languages was that the optimists learnt Russian whilst the pessimists learnt Chinese.
I remember this young officer saying to me that he thought both groups were wrong and the language to learn should be Arabic. His view was "It may not come in our time, but when it does, it will be a re-run of the crusades in the Middle East".
I wonder what happened to him with his views which were definitely out of tune with the general thinking at the time. Let us hope it doesn't come to WW3, but with America now deciding to supply arms to the rebels in Syria, and Russia supplying them to Assad, it seems that an uprising of the type seen in other Arab states has been taken over by the extremists of the two differing religious sects, which in turn could engulf neighbouring states. This could end up as a major conflict between the great powers by proxy and with NATO defending Turkey's southern border.
Britain needs to do all it can to try to find a peaceful solution and certainly should avoid getting involved in the supply of arms, whatever Obama decides to do. Assistance should be given as humanitarian aid for refugees, particularly in Jordan which is a relatively poor country and does not have the resources to cope.
Having written the above, I was appalled to hear on the early evening television news that David Cameron is supporting Obama's actions. I can see us being dragged into something which could be far worse than Afghanistan.