Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Friday, 14 June 2013

Syria - The start of WW3 ?

The Mail today publishes an analysis of the situation in Syria under the heading

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.

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating memory.

    I completely agree with you in terms of not getting involved other than providing aid to refugees in Jordan.

    The nation state idea was imposed on countries like Syria with borders drawn up by the West. Some Arab countries like Syria and Lebanon's real natural state is to either be part of Muslim Caliphate with a tough leader, like the Ottoman Empire or chaos. The nation state can not be imposed from above because it eventually collapses, even if it takes many years to do so.

    A year or so before the war in Syria started, someone told me that the only a tiny proportion of the country's population were allowed to have the internet. I don't know if it is true but if it was, that sounds awful.