The dash to beat Daesh
by John Darvall
Its been quite a week. The talk of war and then a notional declaration of war, but the reality is somewhat different. The fact that the UK, along with other international partners, has been bombing ‘so called’ Islamic State/ISAL/IS/Daesh in Northern Iraq for over a year and is now doing the same in Northern Syria should come as no surprise to us or them. It is exactly what they wanted and we have given it to them. David Cameron has delivered a victory to Daesh.
From the foundation of Islam, the Crusades, the rise of Wahhabism in the 18th Century, the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, Sykes-Picot in 1916, the rise of House of Saud and foundation of the Islamic State of Saudi Arabia in the 1932 all combined with our various 20th and 21st Century attempts to ‘deal with the Middle East’ the west has never got it right. Now we are facing all those failures and potentially creating more. We have more often than not backed the wrong camel.
Daesh want war. They crave it. They need it. It is what they are all about. Without war they are nothing, where as we are if we choose not to fight. Europe has seen relative peace in the last 70 years, with the notable exception of the Balkans and Bosnia. There we got it wrong before we got it right. Know thine enemy and this is where we are failing again. Pacifism is no the answer either. It might be wonderful and Christian to turn the other cheek but sometimes you must use all four cheeks, face thine enemy and fight.
So what do Daesh want? Simply, they want to harm us, kill us, destroy us and they want to impose their own twisted version of Islam on the world. This version of Islam was born in what is now Saudi Arabia in the mid 1700’s as a fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam. It is used by the House of Saud to run their country and, by default, run the world’s oil. The problem is that Saudi Arabia don’t run world oil any more and the low oil prices OPEC that Saudi Arabia are trying to use to destroy the USA’s fracking industry (America is all be self-sufficient in energy now thanks to fracking) by making Arabian oil cheaper than U.S produced oil is not working for them. A war suits Saudi Arabia now. If they are really worried about Daesh why aren’t Saudi Arabia using all those lovely planes, bombs and missiles we’ve sold them on Daesh? That is the biggest unanswered question. But lets be clear; Saudi Arabia is an Islamic State and there is nothing ‘so called’ about it. Amnesty International estimated last month that the Saudis had executed 151 people so far this year.
The West getting involved in the Middle East is never going to work any more than Jeremy Corbyn’s political settlement mantra. Daesh are not going to sit around a table and talk to any political conclusion but if Corbyn wants to try let him go there. It maybe prudent not to waste the money on a return fare.
The solution, if there can be such a thing with over a thousand years of none, must come politically and military from those Arab, Islamic countries along with our very distant support. It is for Saudi Arabia and Iran (and they are far from friends) to lead the charge to take on Daesh. If we continue on the path started this week it will be our war with a very long future and an uncertain outcome. To solve the Middle East it must be of their doing.
A reasonable assessment spoiled by an unneccessary sideswipe at Jeremy Corbyn in the second to last paragraph. Anything is better than war, and hopes of some kind of political settlement can be hammered out will not kill anyone.
As a professional radio journalist you should know that the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement – brokered by Tony Blair, oddly enough – brought to an end decades of violence, which had spilled over to the mainland from Northern Ireland. It saved mainy lives by halting the bombing campaign, which led to led to the disarmament of terrorists from both sides. There are marked similarities between the conflict in the Middle East and Northern Ireland with two sects of one religion at each other’s throats.
It should be a good time to point out that violent religious conflict is not confined to shores beyond the British Isles, so that a younger generation understand that this is not a Muslim disease. But the BBC blows it over and over again.
Your BBC slip is showing, Mr Darvall, so I fully expect this comment to be moderated into the ether.
Thank you for your comments.
The historic reality is that any Western intervention will not work, be they bombs or politics. Our way is not their way, or, through our ignorant western eyes, a better way. Daesh is religious, tribal and born from our hand. Bombing is what they want. Its their clarion call to others and our western politics won’t work.
NI wasn’t just Blair either. It was Corbyn (yes he was talking to the IRA when many weren’t), Whitelaw, Major, Mowlam, Blair, Adams, McGuiness et al who were actually willing to talk. Daesh don’t want to talk, they probably don’t even have a table to talk around and it is utterly naive to think they do. And I agree completely that this is not an Islamic disease but this does need an Islamic lead solution.
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I agree with the Mr Hemming that the dig at Jeremy Corbyn was unnecessary. Nor is it totally fantastical to imagine that if/when the military intervention in the Levant ends, having failed to bring about the destruction of ISIS or its allies, that certain elements of ISIS will be invited to sit at the negotiating table, and carve a niche out of what’s left of Syria.
This may seem unpalatable now, and rightly so too, but it’s worth noting that NATO’s bombing of Serb positions in 1995 only really succeeded in persuading Karadzic to take the peace negotiations seriously, and I fear, has only put that internecine conflict on ice. Despite all the hype over bringing Karadzic and Mladic to trial, there are members of the Serb and Croat forces, undoubtedly guilty of committing the most horrific of crimes, still walking free today, playing a part in the governance of that fractured country.
And it was Mrs Thatcher- no pacifistic surrender-monkey she- who pointed out that the Khmer Rouge would have to play a part in the Cambodian peace process. This may sound like an aberrant thing to say now, but she was right- and they did. Though the butchers of Tuol Sleng may now be imprisoned, elements of the KR are still active in Cambodian politics- including the incumbent Prime Minister. Need I discuss the Her Majesty’s recent dinner with the men responsible for the murder of her cousin?
I’m not sure why it should be different in Syria? In the absence of any real opposition in-country, other than Assad and the highly-localised Peshmerga, and with the support of Erdogan and certain sections of the Saudi elite, I see no reason why ISIS, or at least the other Salafist militias won’t come out on top in this conflict. And if that day comes, I fear we will have no choice other than to accept their existence as a polity in the middle east. I don’t like it, but with our present approach I see no other recourse.
The Soviet Union proclaimed that it would spread Communism across Europe. The VRS and HVO tried to wipe a race of people off the map of the Balkans. The IRA murdered children on the streets of Britian to achieve their dream of a united Ireland. In the end, we managed to accommodate them all. With this in mind, it’s unfair to attack Corbyn for not wanting to beat around the bush in Syria with tough words and high-explosive.
Other than that, I agree with the conclusions you draw.