Jonathan Fryer

A Perfect Storm?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 11th December, 2015

Syria war damageRarely has the run-up to Christmas been overcast by such big black clouds: France is still reeling from the appalling bomb attacks last month and communities of different ethnicities and faiths are apparently becoming more suspicious of each other on both sides of the Atlantic. Violence in Israel-Palestine has been on the rise and the situation in Syria (and to a lesser extent Iraq) is dire, with ISIS/Daesh taking a pounding yet continuing to recruit foreign jihadis along with local extremist fighters. Meanwhile, Russia is increasing its military involvement in Syria, the US is selling yet more high-tech weaponry to Saudi Arabia and more and more NATO member countries, along with Iran and Hezbollah are wading into the conflict zone. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, it seems to me. Saudi Arabia’s success in bringing some Syrian opposition groups together for talks in Riyadh may be a positive development but there will be no solution to Syria’s dystopian situation until everyone involved is brought not just a conference table (in Vienna or wherever) but also to reason. Most belligerent parties have their eyes so closely focussed on their own particular priority that they fail to stand back and realise that a perfect storm may be brewing in the Middle East that could first engulf the region and soon afterwards the world.

war to end all warsLast year we commemorated the start of the First World War and it was hoped that governments and leaders had realised the necessity of “never again”. It is worth remembering that the First World War also began after a series of seemingly unrelated events, massive armament and then a collective rush to conflict. Let us hope that is not how a Third World War is going to start. The main reason I opposed British airstrikes in Syria when the matter was discussed in Parliament recently was because it is just pouring more oil on the flames without any coherent strategy for tensions to be defused and an explosion to be avoided.

This year it will not “all be over by Christmas”, but if the worst comes to the worst, it might have begun.

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