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Time for Change in Syria

by Brendan O’Brien

Where Syria is concerned reports from Amnesty and Human Rights Watch cannot be taken at face value. We have been getting a stream of propaganda from our government, media and NGO’s since the war started. Some of it is manifestly false, e.g. the claim by Boris Johnson that ninety five percent of the deaths in Syria have been caused by Assad. However, regardless of the truth or otherwise of the charges laid against Assad the overwhelming need is to bring peace.

There is greater hope for peace in Syria now than at any time since the war began and our government has officially supported the Russian led peace process at the UN. However what is our government doing in practice? Are we still giving non lethal aid to moderate rebels? I have been asking my MP that question for weeks with no answer. Have we pressed America and Saudi Arabia to stop giving arms to rebels? There have been no reports that they have stopped doing so in spite of a well supported ceasefire. Boris Johnson said that we have to accept Assad taking part in elections, recently he seems to have backtracked on that statement. From early on in this war Barack Obama should have engaged in talks with Putin over Syria. The Daily Mail and others said David Cameron should have used his influence to bring this about. Is Theresa May making any effort to get Trump and Putin working together for the sake of peace in Syria? Is our government doing the best it can to make this fragile peace process a success or is it quietly working to undermine it, e.g. by pushing for Assad to be hauled before the International Criminal Court? (Of course justice should be served, if there is justice for Syria many others, including those who de facto supported Islamic State should be in the dock. There are times when justice has to give way to the need for peace, as was recognised in this country and many others in recent years).

The UK government has massive influence over what happens in Syria and has played a destructive role backing America all the way. It is time for change.

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