Response to Assad use of chemical weapons – If not now, when?

The British Parliament may have failed to send a strong message of disapproval but, this may well be the fault of David Cameron trying to rush things. Even more humiliating for David Cameron, it looks like the French will be backing Obama if he does act. This evening (UK time), however, the USA looks like it is seeking to justify punishing Syria. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, ominously reports that… “there is nothing UN Inspectors could tell us that we do not already know…” Click here to see the US Government assessment of 21 August 2013 attack. I understand why British MPs (narrowly) voted against military action to be taken against Syria, and I remain of the view that it would be best if Russia (and China) could be persuaded (by the evidence) not to veto a Resolution at the UN Security Council… However, I do think Assad needs to be told that he cannot continue down the path he has chosen. He may well think that he must win this war or die but, nevertheless, he must now be me made to negotiate.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
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6 Responses to Response to Assad use of chemical weapons – If not now, when?

    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for the comment and the link, Riley. I was fortunate(?) to be able to watch several hours of the UK Parliamentary debate. I am therefore well aware of the dangers of any “limited” military action. The problem here is – and is always has been – that the USA drew a line in the sand and Assad. Furthermore, no-one should forget that, because of Cameron’s attempts to reach consensus, the UK would not be able to be involved in any military action this weekend even if Parliament had supported him.


  1. duncan says:

    I note your use of the phrase “punishing Syria”. I am not quite clear as to what you understand under this term but I put the question to you:how many civilians must die before the country can be considered to have been condignly punished? What ever is happening in Syria and who is responsible for what – of which we have very little “evidence” – it is no concern of ours, or yours for that matter.


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Duncan. As well as referring you to my response to Riley (above), I wonder what you would say to the people of Syria, members of the Arab League, and medical volunteers – those who have been dealing with the ‘collateral damage’ (1 million displaced, 100k dead, and thousands injured) of what has now become a regional-conflict-by-proxy anyway – who have been calling for Western military intervention to “punish” Assad for his pursuit of such grotesque domestic policy? There is no question that, whatever now happens, responsibility for it lies with Assad.


    • ccgwebmaster says:

      It should be our concern that people are being murdered and tortured in another part of the world (regardless of the type of weapons being used!), just as it should be our concern that we are destroying our future and the future of all future generations to come (via climate change). However, justice cannot be provided by a self serving self interested group such as the USA and it’s puppy dogs. It must be done – if at all – by an inclusive international process, which would be the UN – even if the UN does seem seriously flawed and Altmaning in meaningful influence (especially over larger nations). I don’t think for one minute that anyone in the US or UK governments who favours intervention gives a shit about the suffering of the Syrian people. This is about a bigger game being played out behind the scenes – where the Syrian people are just another potential pawn for them to move. The western media generally seems to fail to report that the Russians have a naval base in Syria. Given the tiny coastal access (especially in warm waters) that Russia has – and that it hosts nuclear ships and submarines – this is a very big deal to Russia. I think that the US is playing it’s own version of the “Great Game” ( and trying to undermine the influence of both Russia and Iran in the region (remember Syria is allied to Iran). A dreadful outcome for the Syrian people, to end up between two much more powerful sides in a proxy war. Given AQAP ( appear to be involved in the anti Assad faction it seems ridiculous in the extreme that the western powers should be providing material support to the anti Assad faction! Aren’t they meant to be the enemy? Aren’t they meant to why all our freedoms and privacy have been taken away? Aren’t they why we’re all living in a police state? Well, OK, I know they aren’t – but that’s the bullshit we’ve been spoonfed for a decade and change now.


      • Rick Altman says:

        Thanks for providing all of that very important context, CCGW. I know I am walking a tightrope here but I cannot really add to what I said to Riley and Duncan (above). However, I will try… I think your conspiracy theory is not valid: I agree that Western nations clearly do not care very much about the people of Syria (or we would have intervened earlier). However, I do not agree that anyone is ‘playing games’ here. No-one wants to start World War Three. The UK has now talked itself out of being involved but the USA must now act or it will lose all credibility. This will not be good but, doing nothing could be worse (because that would embolden all the World’s other power-crazed dictators). Despite all of the above, I agree that the best option would still be for the USA to be patient – do as Putin has suggested (not that I trust him to change his mind) – and present all the intelligence to the UN. Then, if Russia and China still veto a UN Resolution, the USA (et al) will be entirely justified in striking Syria. If they do so now, it will be because they think they have to (not because they should).


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