Assad is a devil but his opponents are all demons too
From Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen:
If this nice sunny weather holds up for a few more days, it will be just perfect for Armageddon. Is that crackpot Obama really about to fire Cruise missiles at Syria? Is this past-master of slippery prolixity – by the side of whom Neil Kinnock himself was a pathetic amateur - at last going to stop talking and actually do something? This is the bloke, you remember, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize barely two minutes after coming down from his Inauguration podium. Syria is a ball game several leagues higher than Libya, Iraq or even Afghanistan. And Damascus is not far from Megiddo and the Bekaa valley, the prophesied scene of the Last Battle.
Many commentators say that, for its own reasons, the USA has been itching for a small war for years. They tried to have one with North Korea earlier this year, until they were told to back off by the Chinese. Obama seems about to plunge them – and us all – into a very big one. But why should any international statesman embark on such irresponsibility? “The use of chemical weapons is a red line,” he replies. Well, chemical weapons are very nasty indeed, but so are all weapons. When did you last come across a friendly hand grenade or a genial cluster bomb? But already 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war, so surely any red lines were crossed months ago? Assad is armed to the teeth with sophisticated missiles supplied by Russia and he has the declared support of that country which has strategic interests in Syria, including the use of a warm water port by its navy.
Everyone agrees that Assad is a nasty piece of work and guilty of terrible crimes against his own people. But take a look at the people opposing him. These number thousands of barbaric terrorists, jihadists, Salafists, members of psychopathic Sunni sects, would-be martyrs for Islam, more than half in love with uneaseful death. And if Blair was Bush’s poodle, Cameron and Hague are Obama’s lapdogs. When Vladimir Putin visited London recently for talks with David Cameron, he asked a pertinent question: “These people murder their opponents, cut them open, remove their livers and eat them. Are these the sorts of men you seek to supply with arms, Mr Prime Minister?”
The consequences of an attack on Syria are incalculable, and there is no rational foundation for such a reckless exploit. Assad is a devil but his opponents are all demons too. Leave them to it then, for if Satan be divided against Satan, how shall his kingdom stand? We need to examine the realpolitik background to this perilous scenario. All over the Middle East, North Africa, Somalia, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan there is a militant Islamic insurgency. In Syria this is at its most intense and dangerous because it is the proxy likely to provoke a colossal war between those regional rivals Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran. The Saudis are already sending military aid and fighters to depose Assad, while the Iranians are supporting him through the machinations of that barbarously and wonderfully named organisation, Hizbollah, the party of God.
Add to this nice little prospect Russia and the USA, world powers armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, and apocalypse cannot be left off the agenda. It’s been a lovely, long hot summer – just like 1914.
Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen is an author and former rector of St Michael's, Cornhill in the City of London.