Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The road to bombing Damascus

If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!
So sings Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, as he contemplates the consequences of action and inaction. Foreign policy fallout similarly fluctuates between condemnation and damnation, that is to say you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. Intervening in Syria may agitate a complex web of interconnectedness with unknown and unknowable consequences. Not intervening in Syria may do precisely the same.

The problem we have is that President Obama warned President Assad that there would be 'serious consequences' if he crossed a red line in his civil war; that red line being the use of chemical weapons. It appears that such weapons have been deployed, so, having threatened a serious consequence, the US would look rather foolish, not to say impotent, if it chose now not to act. Indeed, it sends a message to tyrants and dictators all over the world that Obama's bark is worse than his bite. Indeed, he doesn't bite at all; his gums just suck.

And yet it has not been established beyond doubt that Assad was responsible. We know the 'rebels' possess and have already deployed sarin nerve gas to devastating effect. It is not clear at all that Assad's regime has done so. And before we blow him to kingdom come we really ought to make sure that the intelligence report hasn't been cribbed from Saif Gaddafi's PhD thesis at the LSE.

If those who oppose Assad are prepared to used chemical weapons against innocent civilians - women and children - they are at least as morally repugnant as Assad's regime, if it be found culpable. William Hague keeps talking about 'moral outrage' as the basis for 'proportionate' military retaliation. The fact that 100,000 Syrians have already died is presumably less of a moral outrage than the hundreds who died a few days ago as a consequence of nerve gas. Morality and outrage are slippery things. In an age of emoting relativism, they are not the most reliable justification for declaring war.

So, in the words of Jean Valjean, if we speak to Assad with cruise missiles, we risk condemning hundreds of innocents to death (for missiles are just as indiscriminate as nerve gas, and the Christians are bound to be systematically 'cleansed' in retribution). We also risk the possibility of Assad turning his formidable Russian-stoked firepower on Israel, in the hope of widening the conflict and uniting the Ummah against the pariah Jewish State.

Yet, if we stay silent, hundreds and possibly thousands more Syrian women and children are damned.

'By faith Abel, though dead, still speaks,' wrote the author to the Hebrews (11:4), alluding to Genesis where we are told that Abel's blood 'cries out from the ground' (4:10). The reason he still speaks is that God did not heed the cry: He did not exact from Cain the full satisfaction that nature demanded - He sent him to live in exile. alienated from his culture and shielded from judgment. Every judgment passed in Cain's new civilisation leaves Abel crying out: its justice will never be true justice, but a form of satisfaction intertwined with bouts of of guilt and regret.

Offended society cries out for satisfaction, and is damned with guilt when it acts. The mark of Cain is symbolic of our perpetual disquiet about a so-called civilisation which depends upon uncivilised violence as a means of satisfying the cry for justice. We cannot let Abel remain unvindicated.

Syria is a killing field. But it is not our civilisation: it belongs to the children of Ishmael and the followers of Mohammed. It is not clear why other Muslim nations are prepared to 'stand by' and 'do nothing' while their brothers and sisters are being slaughtered by their brothers and sisters. Why is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation not leading a response to this? Where are the declarations of condemnation? Why are they waiting for a display of 'Western' power and might?

For the 'West' to command moral assent, it must embody a formal commitment to righting wrongs. Barack Obama and David Cameron appear persuaded of the fact that Assad has committed a grievous crime, and so must be punished. They have the intelligence report: we do not. And so the economic powers will bomb the ancient City of Damascus - irrespective of whatever contrary voices are raised in Parliament - in order to defend honour, justice and freedom. Innocents will die horrific deaths, but 'collateral damage' is to be expected; it is justifiable.

Abel cries out from the ground, and must be avenged.

Not in His Grace's name.


Blogger smallthom said...

A nice touch there, that bit about Abel, as his tomb is on the mountainside overlooking Damascus. Inside is a cave where the visitor can see the earth's mouth crying out in anguish. Poor Syria.

28 August 2013 at 10:17  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

' 1970 the foreign ministers met and established a General Secretariat for the Organization of the Islamic Conference as the collective voice of the Muslim world that represents its interests and defends its causes.'... Wiki.

The IOC should be implicated with abrogating its own responsibility for action and culpability in allowing the situation to escalate. They singularly should be involved in resolving the Syrian war.

The West should be screaming this from the rooftops and pointing the finger of total responsibility at this resource rich and influential Islamic body.

28 August 2013 at 10:26  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Not in my name either.

This is all about Obama saving face after backing himself into a corner over "red lines"

Sunni & Shia are at each others throats. Satan is divided against himself. Leave well alone and how can his kingdom stand? Intervene and they will unite against a common enemy.

28 August 2013 at 10:28  
Blogger Martin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 August 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger Martin said...

The "By faith Abel ... being dead still speaks" is NOT about Cain or about Abel's blood crying out for justice! It is about Abel's faith in Christ which speaks to us of his waiting "for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God".

The idea that any nation has the right to be the "World's Policeman" is false, power does not equate to moral superiority. That is aside from the clear fact that the US has supported, with weapons, those who it later condemns.

The idea that 'something must be done' is responsible for wars & deaths. It is the knee jerk reaction of the unthinking. Indeed it is a foolish idea. I'm afraid my view of William Hague has been irretrievable harmed by his comments.

And then we have the doubt over who is responsible. Even if those in power presented all the evidence to us, would we trust them? Our leaders have been shown to be not only dishonest but simply wrong far too many times. No more dodgy dossiers thank you very much!

28 August 2013 at 10:37  
Blogger graham wood said...

"Barack Obama and David Cameron appear persuaded of the fact that Assad has committed a grievous crime, and so must be punished. They have the intelligence report: we do not"

The law of unintended consequences will operate yet again if the West interferes.
The events leading up to the Iraq war had precisely the same occurrence of supposed "intelligence reports" on the presence of WMD.
We know such reports were wrong.
And so it may be that the "rebels" were responsible, not Assad.

Two of your comments are significant.
1. Syria is a killing field, but it is not our civilisation.
Precisely. The situation is so complex with multiple combatants waging proxy wars that also involve centuries long conflict between Sunny and Shia Moslem sects, and regional interests which are also vying for hegemony.
How can the West possibly understand what is really going on?

2."Assad has committed a grievous crime, and so must be punished."

If this is Obama or Cameron's view then it is flat wrong.
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord".
It is, quite literally, none of their business.

28 August 2013 at 10:49  
Blogger Naomi King said...

I spent last night with Jewish and Arab believers from the Land who accept Yeshua as their Master and Messiah, their children and families are currently back in Israel. They have an analysis similar to mine that

1 Obama thinks like a sunni muslim

2 That the situation in Syria is complex

3 That we are called to urgent prayer

4 The crisis is an Al Qaida take over

5 The intention is to attack Israel from Syria

Israel is on a war readiness footing.

These dear people asked for prayer for

1 A spirit of quietness

2 Wisdom and God's revelation in the hearts and minds of governments

3 Particularly for the Israeli government and Netanyahu

4 The readiness of the Israeli army

5 Joy that the Sovereign Lord is on the Throne

6 That the Israeli people turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for their protection.

28 August 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

It is not clear why other Muslim nations are prepared to ‘stand by’ and ‘do nothing’

Saudi Arabia is doing plenty, but covertly. The Saudis are supplying weaponry to the rebels and, in his recent meeting with President Putin, Prince Bandar bin Sultan talked of the Chechen mercenaries fighting in Syria being ‘controlled’ by the Saudis: ‘We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.’

Saudi Arabia’s interest in toppling Assad will be motivated by his heresy and his alliance with Iran.

28 August 2013 at 10:59  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Obama has created this situation, there is no moral high ground in any of this. He has intentionally put himself in a position of creating a crisis which will justifying a retaliation against the so called western powers, including Israel.

This is because he is a muslim not a westerner. He holds the same desire to see Israel and the Hebrew people "REMOVED" and a Sunni Caliphate established to dominate the Middle East and all its wealth as his friends Al Qaida do.

This of course would bring in the reign of the false God Ali from Jerusalem.

28 August 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I can understand Obama getting involved, given the warning to Assad about crossing the line. (Even if it is not clear that the line has, in fact, been crossed: or, if it has, not necessarily by Assad). But why Britain?

It all seems horribly reminiscent of Iraq. Cameron as the heir of Blair.

28 August 2013 at 11:17  
Blogger David Hussell said...

And not in my name either. This is not the time to draw the sword.

Some good posts above. I was particularly moved by the one from Naomi King, regarding her guests. The "Obama thinks like a sunni muslim", is if true, startling. I have heard the allegation before, but am in no position to judge.

She tells us that prayers are sought and therefore they will be freely made.

Israel is well armed and organized and will when facing an existential situation, pull together. But it is their trust in God that is always crucial.

28 August 2013 at 11:22  
Blogger Peter D said...

A simple, yet theologically profound piece. There is much to ponder in what you have written.

28 August 2013 at 11:31  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
The US and UK must realise that they are no longer the peace keepers of the World. If thy try, there will be consequences.
Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared.
The Arabs are fighting each other. If we step in, they will turn on us as has been said earlier. Death, in the scheme of things to the Muslim fanatic is of no consequence.
Just why are their own people not stepping in?

28 August 2013 at 11:33  
Blogger graham wood said...

Mr Integrity:
"The US and UK must realise that they are no longer the peace keepers of the World. If thy try, there will be consequences."

Good point.
I would go a step further by saying that neither country is really in a position to be a "peace keeper".

Purely on the economic and military level, the UK is certainly not able. And can we really envisage the prospect of 'peace' in any sense in the months and years to come in the Middle East?
Our intrusion can only muddy the waters still further.

Obama and Cameron want to be much more than peacekeepers - they are assuming positions of judge, jury, AND executioners in a situation they barely begin to understand.

28 August 2013 at 11:56  
Blogger meema said...


Profound commentary. For the record, most intelligent Americans disagree with the concept that we must police the world. Sadly, just like all other countries, the opinions of the populace have little or no impact on those who have gained power over them.

Naomi King,

Your friends are wise and one point in particular stood out:

4 The crisis is an Al Qaida take over.

This is the hidden agenda and many in the US see through the theatrics the current administration use to obfuscate their true intentions.

Again, there is no frustration greater than seeing the truth and being powerless to stop what is clearly unstoppable. We pray to be delivered from evil because it appears to be too late to pray for peace.

28 August 2013 at 12:04  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Syria is messy enough that the use of chemical weapons could easily be the product of a semi-rogue element of either force. It makes little sense, unless he is genuinely loosing his grip on sanity (a possibility that shouldn't be eschewed), for Assad to use them, but a vicious underling might make the decision for him. Likewise, a zealous rebel could do the same even though the leadership might truthfully have expressed their repugnance for such weaponry.

The main point: the question ought to be, what is our intervention for?

Our intervention has to be such that we have strong confidence that it will end the bloodshed. Anything else will simply add to it.

28 August 2013 at 12:07  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Meema, it is heartening that the US people see through the set up that Obama has created to help his Al Qaida friends and the Sunni Saudi Royal Family expand their control of the Middle East. This is a REAL battle in the heavenlies. We MUST pray for wisdom and God's revelation for all concerned and particularly Israel and the control of Jerusalem which is the key to the whole warfare. The spirit of Islam is very ugly the spirit of Christ is very beautiful and our LORD loves ALL people and wants ALL to come to salvation through him "who loved us and gave himself for us".

28 August 2013 at 12:17  
Blogger Naomi King said...

This is what I have just sent to my MP

"Dear Mr Glen

I feel moved to express my deep disquiet at the intended British involvement in a military attack on Syria being discussed tomorrow. I would urge you to vote against any such action by The British Government even if the US intend to go ahead. Assad has said that any strike on Syria will be responded to by an immediate strike by him on Israel. This will unleash the united Muslim hatred of Israel by all her hostile neighbours and an Al Qaida mobilisation across the Syria border, Sinai, Gaza and from the West Bank. Also possibly from Jordan and Iran.

In addition to this we are likely to see Russian and Chinese intervention in support of Assad, who I believe is innocent of these gas attacks in any event. Why would he do it, he is winning his civil war ? The spirit of lies has overtaken the whole situation, which has the feeling of 1914 about it. I believe we need urgent prayer at this time of crisis that a spirit of quietness will prevail.

Yours sincerely
Naomi King"

28 August 2013 at 12:25  
Blogger meema said...


Those who understand the Scripture regarding our war against dark principalities also understand that we are at the desperation point of needing refuge in the Light of Christ where we do not find peace but rather peace finds us.

Is isn't that they will not listen, they cannot because their eyes are blinded and their ears are shut.

28 August 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Shalom !

28 August 2013 at 12:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

AIB: The main point: the question ought to be, what is our intervention for?

The intervention is supposed to be a punishment for using WMDs, period. If the responsibility for their use is murky and can't be determined with reasonable certainty, both sides would need to be roughed up and discouraged from repeat performances. No apologies, no get-well cards or chocolates to follow.

But that's too simple and so, that will not happen. Obama will need to make dramatic gestures involving several speeches, will side with the "freedom fighters," the Islamist rebels, and when his half-baked operation achieves nothing but laughter and contempt from Assad and Putin, amity among all will be pursued by pressuring Israel to surrender chunks of itself for the sake of World Peace and Innocent Children Everywhere.

28 August 2013 at 13:05  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

A good post. It looks almost certain that there is going to be some form of military action now, barring a miracle. To my mind this is only going to make matters worse. As said in the other thread about this below, if Assad is now a rouge for not listing to the 'red lines' re chemical weapons and is therefore no longer a rational actor, what is he going to do when it comes to retaliation? For example get Gaza to launch rockets into Israel? And that will of course make things even better. And if the regime is toppled, will the west be happy that Al-queada will be in the new government of Syria?

Which western leader is using the western brain cell here as for the moment they all seem switched off?

28 August 2013 at 13:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector issued a statement to the house today...

“We must not give up on any country that has oil reserves. No matter how low down in the production stakes that country is”

He was warmly applauded and the British Army, what’s left of it, is to embark this week to secure the future of the wretched oil, and possibly in a blatant example of what would be mission creep, the wretched people. The general sentiment around is this - If the oil is suffering, we must do every tying possible to relieve the oils distress. It is the humanitarian thing to do. We cannot stand by and do nothing if there are sufficient barrels of oil deep in the ground.

There then followed a most distinguished former Archbishop of Canterbury who read to the house the parable of the oil reserves, with this weeks guests, Cain and Abel. He sent everybody ecstatic.

Cautious warnings though from an Admiralty spokesman. There is only so much an aircraft carrier with no planes can do out there, he laughed…

28 August 2013 at 13:58  
Blogger Naomi King said...

And a prayer for the Syrian People and the Israeli people -

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

28 August 2013 at 14:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The problem of course is that to actually 'fix' Syria, you would have to seize control of the lives of ordinary people. That can't be done from a cockpit, and it certainly can't be done do from a fire control station on a warship. It requires a man (or rather thousands of men) with a rifle. And since you aren't going to win the hearts and minds of these people, it would require those rifles to be employed. Ruthlessly. For a long period of time. So who wants that mission? Anyone? That is the problem. Syria cannot be fixed for a price anyone is willing to pay.

Now we could at this point say "This is the reality of life." We could own our incapacity to establish the kingdom of Heaven on Earth. But we want rather to demonstrate our commitment to justice - absent any blood and sacrifice of course. So we reach for a military stick to demonstrate our commitment in principle while at the same time employing a military means that will avoid any commitment in fact. It's rank hypocrisy.

So what will the bombing achieve in terms of altered outcome? Nothing much. A few targets will be destroyed. Some Syrian military capability will be removed. But it won't be a sustained campaign. The Syrian War will proceed as before. The bloodshed in Syria will continue. And Western leadership will have demonstrated its commitment to justice and a world of peace.

If you want to have a salutary effect on Syria with bombing then you have to think outside the box. Forget conventional target types. Locate instead the houses of Baath Party officials and start putting 2000 lb bombs through their roofs. Dead party official. More important. Dead wife and kids and Live-in concubine. They will get the message very fast. And so would other nations. Now are you willing to do something like that? No?

Then stay home and contemplate the Tragedy of Man.


28 August 2013 at 14:05  
Blogger LEN said...

I have the feeling that there are several things going on Internationally which can be likened to 'someone' playing a game of cosmic Chess.

Pawns are moved backward and forward tempting moves that can precipitate further moves.

The main 'players' all have their own agendas and some 'allies' are of the most unlikely sort?.

Communism and Islam what have they in common?.
Who is using who?.

Perhaps these questions should be asked before taking any action?.

28 August 2013 at 14:06  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...


If it is punishment, then surely it is incumbent upon the punishers to establish two things:

Firstly the authority with which they exact punishment.

Secondly, that the punishment falls on those culpable.

In the first instance, there is, and always will be, an immense murk. Just who has authority to punish other states?

In the second, a missile barrage will almost certainly kill and maim those who have no part in these crimes. I seem to recall there beign a Jewish principle that there is much to be done to prevent the unjust spilling of innocent blood. To be fair - it may be that this does not apply in a situation of warfare (cherem, I think?). But then, it's war, and not the meting out punishment, and the criterion on which the merits of the war should be judged fall within my original statement.

28 August 2013 at 14:17  
Blogger meema said...

The following reflects how the silent majority feels, at least the majority of the still thinking Americans, which, admittedly, is a number that can be easily referred to as a remnant.

From Sultan Knish blog:

“Our society sleepwalks towards these inevitabilities of power without ever asking who it was that decided on their inevitability. Transformed from a society of virtue into vice, we wonder why we are slipping into tyranny and corruption of every sort. Restraint is a virtue. With only the vice of power, the addiction of will, there is nothing between us and those who would destroy us but the nakedness of their power. And the moment that they can deprive us of our rights and destroy us, they will.

Tomorrow, Obama may fight Syria. But the rest of the time, he's fighting us.”

28 August 2013 at 14:17  
Blogger The Justice of the Peace said...

An authoritarian military take over in Egypt dispossesses the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood who in their short time in power were setting about the dismantling of what democratic organisations existed in that country. A Sunni alliance in Syria seeks to overcome a crypto Shia dictatorship. Sunni murderers are killing Christians in Africa including Coptics in Egypt. Shia and Sunni would each dispatch Israel if they could. Western ostensibly Christian nations are considering once more stepping into this morass of conflict. These same nations are often the first to castigate the Israelis for acting on the basis of self preservation. Is this all too simplistic a reading of the situation? Russia and China sit on the sidelines. Who is to say they are not reading the situation correctly to their own advantage. Those who take the moral high ground have further to fall.

28 August 2013 at 14:30  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

HG: “Why is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation not leading a response to this? Where are the declarations of condemnation? Why are they waiting for a display of 'Western' power and might?”

Because half of them have colluded with the Yanks and are on some sort of deal around oil supply and pipelines which the Russians are worried about in case they get cut off.

The intelligence report can be wrong or erroneous. The spies have cooked the books again to save Obama's skin instead of Obama making an intelligent statement about being mistaken. Humans do make many mistakes especially in such a confusing situation as that in Syria. Obama should offer to help Assad find the ones who did it and punish them. As the world becomes smaller and we become a global enterprise, there is no room for very extremist behaviours. Rebels like Al Nusra that threaten, destroy and kill people have no place.

Oh! and how hypocritical can Camoroon get? We have according to the news 42,000 people dying in Britain due to negligences in the NHS and Camoron is more worried about 400 dying in Syria. Why doesn't he do something here instead of warmongering.

Then there are the consequences if we do invade of those crackpots that used the chemical weapons coming to Britain and deploying a few in retaliation. Cameron is putting us at risk too.

28 August 2013 at 15:07  
Blogger Ivan said...

Had Assad been a reckless actor, he would have drawn in the Israelis by now. There was sufficient provocation when they attacked the godowns or convoys connected with the SAM missiles some time ago. His allies, Hizballah and Iran would have warmly cheered. That he has not done so shows that he is a rational man and respects the red lines with Israel. He has already fought the rebels and foreigners to a standstill. There is no way in hell that the rebels can get the momentum going again without Western help, as the KLA thugs did when they hired Madison Avenue propagandists to inveigle Clinton over Serbia. He should be the last man now to use nerve weapons as that is a sort of 'Samson' option for the Syrians. If at all it is a government operation, it is just as likely to be a rouge one as AIB suggests. But this will not suit Cameron or the war-mongers led by McCain, aching to see the fireworks again. Cameron and Shrillary were the Goebbels behind the 'democratization' drive. It is difficult to see Obama harming someone with Gaddafi's hair-do.

28 August 2013 at 15:32  
Blogger Naomi King said...

This is how wicked this situation, and the alliance between the Saudi'a and the US, has become ... from the Business section of the Telegraph today by the highly respected Ambrose Evans-Pritvhard

"Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria.
Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.

The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with US, British, and French warship poised for missile strikes in Syria. Iran has threatened to retaliate.

The strategic jitters pushed Brent crude prices to a five-month high of $112 a barrel. “We are only one incident away from a serious oil spike. The market is a lot tighter than people think,” said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review.

Leaked transcripts of a closed-door meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan shed an extraordinary light on the hard-nosed Realpolitik of the two sides.

Prince Bandar, head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly confronted the Kremlin with a mix of inducements and threats in a bid to break the deadlock over Syria.

Prince Bandar said at the four-hour meeting with Mr Putin recently. “Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets,” They met at Mr Putin’s dacha outside Moscow three weeks ago.

“We understand", the Saudi Prince said, "Russia’s great interest in the oil and gas in the Mediterranean from Israel to Cyprus. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that. We can cooperate in this area,” he said, indicating that he spoke with the full backing of the US.

The talks appear to offer an alliance between the OPEC cartel and Russia, which together produce over 40m barrels a day of oil, 45pc of global output. Such a move would alter the strategic landscape.

28 August 2013 at 16:29  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Contued from above ...

The details of the talks were first leaked to the Russian press. A more detailed version has since appeared in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, which has Hezbollah links and is hostile to the Saudis.

As-Safir news said Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” he said.

Prince Bandar went on to say that Chechens operating in Syria were a pressure tool that could be switched on and off. “These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role in Syria’s political future.”

President Putin has long been pushing for a global gas cartel, issuing the `Moscow Declaration’ last to month “defend suppliers and resist unfair pressure”. This would entail beefing up the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), a talking shop.

Mr Skrebowski said it is unclear what the Saudis can really offer the Russians on gas, beyond using leverage over Qatar and others to cut output of liquefied natural gas (LGN). “The Qataris are not going to obey Saudi orders,” he said.

Saudi Arabia could help boost oil prices by restricting its own supply. This would be a shot in the arm for Russia, which is near recession and relies on an oil price near $100 to fund the budget.
But it would be a dangerous strategy for the Saudis if it pushed prices to levels that endangered the world’s fragile economic recovery.

Crude oil stocks in the US have already fallen sharply this year. Goldman Sachs said the “surplus cushion” in global stocks built up since 2008 has been completely eliminated.

Mr Skrebowski said trouble is brewing in a string of key supply states. “Libya is reverting to war lordism. Nigerian is drifting into a muslim bandit state with steady loss of output. And Iraq is going back to the sort of Sunni-Shia civil war we saw in 2006-2007,” he said.

The Putin-Bandar meeting was stormy, replete with warnings of a “dramatic turn” in Syria. Mr Putin was unmoved by the Saudi offer, though western pressure has escalated since then. “Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters,” he said, referring to footage showing a Jihadist rebel eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier.

Prince Bandar in turn warned that there can be “no escape from the military option” if Russia declines the olive branch. Events are unfolding exactly as he foretold."

28 August 2013 at 16:29  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Interesting that Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia should have such close connection with the US Government to know that there will be "no escape from the military option".

Also very interesting that Saudi Arabia "controls the rebels in Syria".

Here is the link to the full article

28 August 2013 at 16:41  
Blogger Peter D said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 August 2013 at 18:54  
Blogger Peter D said...


@ 13:58

I think you have the measure of it.

28 August 2013 at 18:57  
Blogger Naomi King said...

18:00 GMT: UK Foreign Minister William Hague has called the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to “exchange views on the situation in Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman told Itar-Tass.

Hague has informed Lavrov of the draft UK resolution connection with the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria, the spokesman said.

Lavrov then told his UK counterpart that the UN Security Council should not consider a resolution on Syria before the UN inspector team reports on the alleged chemical weapons use.

28 August 2013 at 19:16  
Blogger Nick said...

The Deupty Russian PM, Sergei Lavrov, described the Western attitude to Syria as "a monkey with a grenade".

I don't agree

I think the comparison is being unfair on the monkey. Monkeys are social creatures that will act to protect their communities when they are genuinely threatened. They don't go looking for fights that are nothing to do with them, especially if it means fighting on behalf of another monkey that hates the first one and wants to destroy it too.

So, who has the greater moral authority, the monkey or Western politicians? I have to say it is the monkey

Cameron wants to fight on behalf of a group of rebels that murders civilians because it doesn't agree with their religion. It is infiltrated by Al Qaeda. If the opposition get power, they will set up an oppressive, violent, anti-Western regime. How in the name of zoology is that protecting Western interests?

28 August 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger bluedog said...

An excellent post, Your Grace.

The Muslims are very certain of their own superiority as followers of the prophet Mahommed, to whom the final revelation of God was made. In view of this privileged position, Dar al Islam should have no difficulty in executing an exemplary solution to the turmoil in Syria. We kuffars should stand by, ready to watch, learn and applaud.

Am I dreaming? Time and again, where there is bloodshed, misery, poverty and discord it is in the Muslim world or on its peripheries. One can truly say that if there were no Muslims, the world would be a happier place. So what will be the result in Syria, irrespective of the Obamastrike? The answer is refugees, millions of refugees, desperately seeking to save their skins, their snotty-nosed children and a few bundles of possessions. And where will they head, these refugees? To the West, that beacon of stability, wealth and power. And once settled in the West, what will the displaced Ummah demand?

Sharia, for it is written.

How can they be so stupid? How can we be so stupid as to indulge them?

Sometimes one despairs.

28 August 2013 at 21:38  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

There is no reason why we need to send in the gunboats here. The 'intelligence' over Iraq was flawed. How can we believe that on Syria. On the BBC there was a report that 50 Iraqi people died in a bomb blast yesterday. 1,057 PEOPLE died in that country in July alone. But where is Cameron calling for a re-invasion in Iraq? The hypocrisy is breathtaking . Besides which it is not our problem to be the world's policemen anymore. If we had over Empire then perhaps, but we do not.

28 August 2013 at 22:00  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

It is national bowtie day today. I trust everyone has their dickie fitted?

28 August 2013 at 22:01  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Naomi King,

Thanks for that.

I just don't see how anything good can come out of any military action here. What happens if a missile hits civilians? That would make a mockery of the whole thing. We are being 'bounced' into military action. That is not right.

And what happens if Assad is actually a maniac like people say he is? Well which country is the easy target, the one his Grace mentions in the article?

28 August 2013 at 22:27  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Radio interview with Sister Agnes Mariam who lives in Syria and is a member of a peace network who talks to leaders from around the world speaks for the innocent citizens in Syria and questions where all the child victims came from in the chemical weapons attack as there were no citizens resident anymore in the area of Damascus that was targeted, and that there were no flying weapons with chemical warheads nor any smell?
She seems to think it's the terrorist mercenaries Al-Nusra egged on by the west carried out the attack. She also tells us they have raped 500 women, cutting some up and thinks we are entering a new barbaric phase.

28 August 2013 at 22:28  
Blogger David B said...

Not in my name either.

Further, after the WMD not in Iraq neither British nor American intelligence reports have any credibility.


28 August 2013 at 22:39  
Blogger Naomi King said...

26th August 2013
Mairead Maguire, NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE, today appealed to the Rt. Hon. William Hague, British Foreign Minister, and M. Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister, to stop calling for military action against Syria which, she said, will only lead the Middle East into even more violence and bloodshed for its people.

Mairead Maguire said:
"Arming rebels and authorizing military action by USA/NATO forces will not solve the problem facing Syria, but indeed could lead to the death of thousands of Syrians, the breaking-up of Syria, and it falling under the control of violent fundamentalist jihadist forces. It will mean the further fleeing of Syrians into surrounding countries which will themselves become destabilised. The entire Middle East will become unstable and violence will spiral out of control.

Contrary to some foreign governments current policies of arming the rebels and pushing for military intervention, the people of Syria are calling out for peace and reconciliation and a political solution to the crisis, which continues to be enflamed by outside forces with thousands of foreign fighters funded and supported by outside countries for their own political ends.

Having visited Syria in May, 2013, after leading a 16 person delegation I returned convinced that the civil community, with groups such as Mussalaha, who are working on the ground building peace and reconciliation, can solve their own problems if their plea for outsiders to remain out of the conflict is honoured by the international community.

During our visit we met with all sections of the community, most of whom are sick of violence and death and want peace and reconciliation and a political solution. We met with the Syrian Prime Minister and 7 other government ministers, and we were assured that the Government did not use sarin gas on its own people, and they invited the UN to send in inspectors to see what was happening.

Currently there is an International Commission of Inquiry on Chemical Weapons in Damascus staying at Four Seasons Hotel, which is less than ten minutes from the areas where the chemical weapons were allegedly used. The western media, particularly vocal being the British and French Foreign Ministers, are accusing President Assad of using chemical weapons on his own people but have no proof of this accusation, rather some things point to rebels as the ones who used such weapons.

The question must be asked, what would it benefit Assad to use sarin gas in the vicinity of visiting international UN inspectors and in his own environment and neighbourhood where it would affect his soldiers, etc., personally, I do not believe the latest accusations against the Assad government using sarin gas, and in order that the world can hear the truth, I would appeal to the International Commission of Inquiry to go into the areas in question immediately and report as quickly as possible. In the meantime I appeal to the Foreign Ministers of Britain and France to encourage, as the Syrian people wish, dialogue and negotiation as a way forward.

We all remember the fear, panic and lies spun by the British and American governments, and others that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and it was not true. Let us learn the lesson of, Afghanistan, and Libya where so many millions have been killed in invasions and war, and many continue to die in violence. Violence is not the answer.

Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate, to the Rt. Hon. William Hague, British Foreign Minister, and M. Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister.
26th August 2013"

28 August 2013 at 23:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...


Avi...If it is punishment, then surely it is incumbent upon the punishers to establish two things: Firstly the authority with which they exact punishment. Surely, AIB. Alas, Syria is not a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and it's a rogue state, so kicking them out of that club is not an option. To complicate matters, it's in the middle of a civil war which has drawn in every rascal in the neighbourhood. Well, you know, someone in Syria developed or bought, stored and actually used chems. Syria, whether its government, rogue factions or whoever, now poses's a good American term...a clear and present danger to the US and its allies and a threat to the world's (more or less) orderly conduct of international affairs and commerce.

Secondly, that the punishment falls on those culpable. The moral rationale for the punishment is deterrence and the ultimately culpable party in this case is the state. If the state cannot control its citizens and territories, or perhaps even factions within its own state apparatus, it forfeits the right to the benefits of sovereignty. In this case, where it's unclear who did what, all combatants on all sides, along with their assets, interest and hopes and dreams are legitimate targets. It's quite possible that Assad is not stupid enough to use chems, as some here suggest, but he screwed himself by not signing the CWC, by proving his viciousness and disregard for life, all of which make his the logical target.

In the first instance, there is, and always will be, an immense murk. Just who has authority to punish other states? Authority rests with those with the wisdom, will and capacity.

Look, AIB, we can't pretend the world is a court of law and tie ourselves up in knots when facing murkiness. Murkiness is a tactic and a strategy and should not be rewarded. Both sides of the internal conflict need to know, or learn through bitter experience, that any use of WMDs will result in equal measures of unpredictable miseries. The reason to go apeshit at any use of WMDs is because left unpunished, every two-bit dictator and bare-arsed "freedom-fighter" will get into this game. And we, the wealthy, productive democracies which keep the world running will hurt economically and socially, which might not seem like such a big deal, but we'll surely take most of the world down. Not into recessions, but down, shattered on the rocky ground. Millions upon millions dying from violent flare-ups, anarchy, diseases and famines. That is the "collateral damage" we need to seriously worry about. The will and the ability to capably defend one's interest and if threatened or harmed, to retaliate effectively is the key to what keeps us warm, well fed and rested enough to deal with tomorrow. All else is bonuses and pleasantries. It's always been like that.

29 August 2013 at 00:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


It's all well and good to say that all combatants are legitimate targets but how do you realize that objective? Bombing is a pro forma response. It will only serve to emphasize the lack of consequences. To do what you suggest, you would need to occupy Syria. Who is going to do that?

The brutal reality is that the use of chemical weapons in Syria does not present a clear and present danger to the US. It simply does not matter in the great scheme of international politics. Yes, it will lower the threshold for use by others. But if someone is deceived enough to think that means the threshold has been lowered for use against the US, he will quickly be disabuse of the notion. The risk of a lower threshold is not worth the cost of the intervention. Especially since we aren't cruel and ruthless enough to actually do what would need to be done. The campaign would need to be punitive. Ruthlessly punitive. We don't train our soldiers to act that way.

This is a fundamental problem in the world. The answer to AIBs question is that no one has the authority to punish the nations. Instead the powerful exert their power. Unless some powerful nation has an interest in shaping the outcome to its own advantage and has both the will and the ability to act on that interest, there will be no punishment. At least not by mortal hands. And it's not truly punishment anyways. It is technically the imposition of one nation's interest on another nation.

So where does that leave us? Sitting uncomfortably next to the incapacity of man to realize justice. The harsh truth is that sovereign states will do terrible things and nothing will be done about it because the victims aren't worth the expense of blood required for their vindication.


29 August 2013 at 02:07  
Blogger Jim M. said...

@ Naomi King

You seem surprised to learn that Prince Bandar is well-connected and well-informed about US intentions.

You will doubtless also be surprised to learn that from 1983 to 2005 Prince Bandar served as the Saudi Ambassador to the US, which may go some way to explaining why he is better informed than the average joe!

29 August 2013 at 02:23  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...


I recognise your pragmatism in the sphere of war - but not the distribution of justice. That was simply my point: if we proceed on those term, we are prosecuting war.

But if we prosecute war, then why are we carrying out a punitive strike? What possible strategic value can it have? Furthermore, in the absence of that strategic value, can we justify the inevitable civilian casulties that result?

Everyone knows that this isn't the beginning of a ground invasion by the UK, USA and France. We won't be capturing Assad and delivering him to the ICJ, we won't be driving our tanks down Damascus Highstreet.

Equally, there is good reason to suspect that we would not prosecute all potential breaches of the use of WMD with the same vigour. For one thing, there was evidence in May this year that the rebels had used sarin gas. Have we ramped it up at the UN, or threatened to bomb the headquarters of the rebels? No. We didn't even press to pursue investigations.

The breach isn't exclusively that WMDs have been used - it's that they've (probably?) been used by the people backed by the Russians. Our lack of national interest in Syria may well be precisely the reason why (no doubt genuine) liberal conscience has allied with the intelligence community: if we fail to intervene, an intact Assad regime with massively increased reliance on Moscow would annihilate any future Western interests in the country.

That's what powerful nations do. I'm under no illusions there - but let's not dress it up. It's naked power, deployed when it suits us, not the scales of blind justice.

29 August 2013 at 03:09  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Karl, two assumptions you make; first, that a chemical attack is nearly harmless to US interests; second, that retribution or justice are involved; and third, that the response has to be apocalyptically ruthless.

All I'm talking about is deterrence. Strikes on military and other armed personnel and property. These typically wreak havoc on a ewgime's establishment and elites and rebuilding is always costly, distracting the miscreants into protecting their butts from underlings, traitors and greedy neighbouring hoodlums, rather than plotting glorious victories. Self-interested policing for a safer, commerce-friendly world. The sun should never set on a McDonalds.

Not talking about retribution, justice for innocents or even the advent of the American democratic-messianic era. All this sort of bombastic stuff gets you people into trouble time and time again.

29 August 2013 at 03:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

AIB, you make good points, especially about the inconsistency of our interest and responses. But so what, we didn't care then, we care now; their bad luck that they took us for push-overs. That is a part of the deterrence strategy; unpredictability. And yes, that is a strategy of deterrence. Like Carl, you are envisioning dramatic engagements and dramatic results.

29 August 2013 at 03:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


'Karl?' What was that for?

Yes, a chemical weapons attack in Syria is essentially harmless to US interests. You would be hard pressed to demonstrate any clear adverse impact. Which is why you leaped from a chemical attack in Syria to anarchy disease and famine.

Yes, I assume the campaign would have to be punitive. Deterrence only works if it's credible. In this case you're establishing deterrence for the next circumstance. Deterrence has already failed in this case. So what are the pre-conditions for successful deterrence? You have to create fear by example. That cannot be done from a cockpit. It requires control. That means occupation.

Now if both sides are culpable (you set those terms) you would have to defeat both sides. You become the colonizers and by default the enemy of both sides. If you don't want your example of deterrence to become interminable asymmetric warfare followed by ignominious retreat due to collapse of political will (that being very bad for your desired outcome of deterrence) you are going to have to treat this occupation differently. I am not advocating this. I am simply laying out practical realities. There is no possibility of winning of hearts and minds here. To maintain control for the sake of deterrence you are going to have to act ruthlessly. If the war devolves into a protracted guerrilla campaign, you have failed. You must instead preempt that outcome among a population that hates you. How else do suppose it can be done?

This is why people like me want no part of such a mission. There is no good way to succeed and a plethora of ways to fail.


29 August 2013 at 04:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, "Karl" was an error. An automatic neural flashback to all the essays on Marx I hammered out on my manual Olivetti in college. There was also a pacifist fellow on the CBC forums I once word-fenced with years ago with the "Karl" tag...another potential memory trigger.

So, I say an ignored CW attack is a big deal and you say any response would have to involve full scale warfare with an occupation until the middle of this century. You are talking about what is likely to happen, given your country's history, not what should happen.

On that issue, you do realize that the way you people do this invasion bit, you have created an industry? A US invasion and occupation now guarantees a shower of billions of greenbacks onto any shithole of a country. It's worth losing some obsolete military junk, getting a few cracking bridges replaced and culling the deadwood from the officer corps and ministries.

29 August 2013 at 05:49  
Blogger LEN said...

As events in the World are seemingly spiraling out of control it should be remembered by Christians that God is in control.
As secular forces are trying to eliminate Christianity from all aspects of Society and to replace it with their own agendas to displace Christianity God is neither shocked or amazed.
The rise of Islam and the consequent persecution of Christians God has seen all this and knows the end from the beginning.
The greatest negative in History the Crucifixion of the Saviour of the World the Lord Jesus Christ was part of God`s Redemption plan for the World.Jesus overcame the very worst that the World could do to Him.And He did that by submitting to God`s plan.
The Forces of evil are gathering(much as they did to kill and crush Jesus Christ) but God has seen all this and nothing can stop God`s purposes being fulfilled.

There are warnings in scripture about Christians being deceived, about losing heart,and about 'overcoming'.

It is essential in these troubled times to be in 'the House built on the Rock' (Christ)
because as Christ Himself said
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."(John 16:33)

Those who are One Spirit with Him have 'overcome' and will overcome because they share the same Spirit.

29 August 2013 at 07:27  
Blogger LEN said...

The main danger of Western intervention in Syria is the end result might be the opposite of what 'the West' had hoped for.
Syria is a ''killing field',but there again there are many more 'killing fields' seemingly where Islam(of whichever offshoot)is determined to rise to a position where it can stamp its authority on all and sundry.
The co- operation between Islam and Communism is a bit of a mystery but I can only conclude that each side is 'using' the other to bring about their own agendas which seem to be the crushing of American and Israel (ie the Jews and the Christians) and when that is realised will turn on each other.
Christians should be praying for their leaders that their leaders actions will not cause a bad situation to become considerably worse.

29 August 2013 at 08:07  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Good remarks LEN. Damascus will be destroyed Isaiah 17 and we are awaiting the Psalm 83 war, maybe this is it.

29 August 2013 at 08:51  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Thank God, The US and the UK governments have backed off pending the outcome of the UN Inspectors Report. Halleluya.

29 August 2013 at 09:19  
Blogger david kavanagh said...


"A US invasion and occupation now guarantees a shower of billions of greenbacks onto any shithole of a country"

Ah! You haven't been reading the satire 'The Mouse that Roared' by Leonard Wibberley per chance?

29 August 2013 at 10:57  
Blogger david kavanagh said...


Deterrence hasn't worked, which is why there is this current crisis. The Big O' said from on high that chemical weapons would be the trigger for US intervention. Now that seems to have happened, why whom is not clear, but it has happened. To the US administration it is clearly Assad that is at fault. So to retain credibility some form of military action must now take place.

It looks like there is sufficient backbone among our MP's to delay this for a bit, as Britain is,frankly, sick to death of sending in our lads and ladies to combat and potentially die, at the behest of the ideals of 'liberal imperialism' or whenever the POTUS says so. Our commander in chief is HM the Queen and not Barrack Obama.

29 August 2013 at 11:20  
Blogger david kavanagh said...


(at about 3 in the morning).

Syria has always been a key Russian ally, dating back to the cold war era, so loss of influence is not a problem. I would also say that the only way to get rid of those chemical weapons would be to send 'tanks into Damascus'.

Launching missiles, if the targets were actually know, at chemical stockpiles isn't a very good idea if you don't want more civilian deaths. So the actual targets would be the 'conventional' weapons of the Syrian army. Ergo the intervention would, rightly or wrongly, would be about taking sides in a civil war. But if you look at Bosnia, no fly zones and safe havens will not stop the slaughter of people.

Without being crude here, if people want to, they will find other ways of killing others, if it is not chemical weapons, guns or bullets, there is always stones, knives, bricks and petrol bombs. So the slaughter would continue, as it is did in Bosnia..

Alternatively, if the Assad regime doesn't hang on, what exactly will replace it? Do you remember when Saddam fell and for a couple of weeks there was nothing but chaos in Iraq?

What happens in that situation is that potentially chemical weapons and anything else gets into the hands of existing terrorist groups (which syria and Iran control) or into the hands of the Al-Queda fractions of these rebels. Then, as they are uncontrollable, they doubtless would turn that on the sect of Assad and of course Israel.

So better for the status quo, than having to face those two sets of problems.

29 August 2013 at 11:30  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Thank God that the British MP's have had more good sense that their Leader on this one.

30 August 2013 at 12:04  
Blogger meema said...


Prayer does work. Please continue praying that those in power in US will also be overcome with good sense, even if they have no idea where it came from.

30 August 2013 at 12:12  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Absolutely Meema we saw the effect of prayer in the UK Parliament last night. Please advise, what specifically should we pray in regard to Obama's agenda on Syria and the Middle East ?

30 August 2013 at 12:36  
Blogger meema said...


I always suggest that people pray as they are led by the Holy Spirit. Those whom I know who are praying each are praying for some specific but my personal prayer is that evil intent be thwarted and that this would open otherwise clouded eyes.

To address what others have discussed regarding the purpose of prayer - in all ways it is to give us opportunity to come into His presence with humility, not with a wish list for our personal genie. ‘Thy will be done’ is an admission that we don’t really know what is best for us so we ask for what we think we want and then cap it off with, ‘but in whatever You will may You be glorified’. And so, like all good fathers, our Good Father sometimes gives us what we ask for, even if it is His permissive will, not His perfect will. But all things come together for good for those who love the Lord. To really truly grasp this, takes one to a higher level of acceptance and therefore a peace that transcends all understanding.

This is why my prayers, nowadays, are more focused on outcomes that glorify and reveal Him. I do not believe we can stop what is coming but we certainly can find strength and refuge in knowing He is in control.

30 August 2013 at 13:33  
Blogger genghis said...

The great debate is said to be commencing about Britain’s role in the world, and how wrong it was not to let Our Dave bomb Syria, even from a safe distance.

Allow me to place a few facts before the audience, and see if you can agree with me that this isn’t the end of the world; isn’t the start of decay in our innermost souls; isn’t a sign that we are done for.

We are a trading nation, and our Armed Forces have always been committed to the protection of British interests around the world. One of the very few times when we went to war outside of those somewhat narrow confines is when we acted on Treaty obligations, and committed ourselves to a war against Hitler’s Germany; and it wasn’t until the war was nearly over did we begin to realise how lucky the world was that we did decide to fight. When the Death Camps were uncovered, when the long lists of those gassed, shot, poisoned or otherwise literally exterminated in the first tabulated Genocidal acts were seen by an angry world, Nuremberg was inevitable.

We should look and listen critically to the words of Chancellor Osborne, when he stated that, because we are a trading nation, we had a duty to intervene in a ‘civil war’; We have no trade with Syria, mainly because we have instituted sanctions against that unhappy country. The ONLY country in the immediate neighbourhood which is worthwhile signing a contract with is Israel, a democratic Nation which owes its very existence to a Britain who, despite or perhaps because of an Arab-oriented and very anti-semitic Foreign Office, finagled the Balfour Declaration into the first Jewish State. The rest of the Arabic crescent of so-called Nation-states, a ghastly rubble of despotic monarchs and ill-hidden military or religion-sodden dictatorships, aren’t worth bothering about, or risking a single British life to defend. The so-called Arab Emirates, another clutch of sandy despots, have oil, sun, sand and so-called holiday resorts; but try getting pissed just away from the main drag, or having a quick fumble with your girlfriend whilst not being married, and you will soon find out what they think of British attitudes. We are still attempting to extricate ourselves from the blood-soaked sands of Afghanistan, another dump where we may have been right to enter, but we should have got out one hell of a sight sooner that we are.

Yes, we are a trading nation, but we live in age when disputes are solved within civilized surroundings, within organizations such as the United Nations, ineffective though that rag-bag of territorial clowns might sometimes be. Our Armed forces are there to protect our people, and those we have stated that are under our protection by means of blood-ties, such as the Falklands, or even tiny Gibraltar. We have no right to state what is acceptable within a bloody civil war, partly because we did not put up much of an argument when America was dosing Laos and North Vietnam with Agent Orange, or wave our hands in horror when the F-105’s slammed their napalm down on the Vietcong and the Vietnamese alike. We didn’t say much about Georgia, when Russia came swanning in to carve out a big slice; mainly because it was none of our bloody business.

The Syrian war is a sad and bloody business, but it is their business; not ours: and we should spend very little time worrying about a truly sensible Parliamentary decision to stay the hell out of a shit-storm, especially when it ain’t our shit!

30 August 2013 at 14:04  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Thanks for that. James 15 : 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

30 August 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Meema and Naomi

I was thinking about the subject of what to pray for in Syria the other day. The two things I couldn't get out of my head was what seemed to me to be the inevitability of suffering there - whether at the hands of Assad, the rebels, or as collateral in any Western response - and the fact that our Christian brothers and sisters are on the brink of extinction.

When I was praying, my Bible fell open to a particular passage. I don't normally pay attention to such things, mostly because my two regular-use Bibles have a propensity to open at particular points owing to their binding (oddly enough, both in the Gospel of Matthew). In this instance, though, it was Acts 9: the moment where Saul travels to Damascus with a fierce will to persecute the Church. There isn't a shred of anything but hatred in his heart, and persecution seems inevitable. Before he reaches Damascus, he is blinded by the Lord. By the time he leaves, he's a servant of Christ.

My prayer is that the inevitability of violence meets God's sovereign Love, that the Church in Syria is strengthened with faith and forebearance, and that the persecutor and the tyrant alike are brought down. It's also made me think about our response as a church congregation in the UK. Although there's not much we can materially do to affect the outcome in Syria, we can support organisations on the ground who do. That's not just monetary: contact and communication is just as vital. If the Church in Syria is now appointed to go into exile, it will be in desperate need of shelter.

When we pray, it should be in faith that with God all things are possible, in the hope of Jesus' triumph over death, and with a willingness to put all we have at His disposal. It may not be obvious how our things might serve God, but if we offer them to Him, He will use them as He sees fit. He's very good at logistics, and never fails to use the Ananiases that He has.

31 August 2013 at 13:05  
Blogger meema said...


I too sought clarity in Scripture. I wanted to be reminded about how significant prayer is to God. As humans we tend to perceive through the lens of self - in other words, in all ways we think of everything in terms of how it benefits us. But Rev. 5:8 tells us that our prayers are sweet odours at the throne of God. Our prayers are for His sake, to please Him. I cannot think of a more important endeavor than to seek to please Him. And I cannot think of a better way to please Him than to stand with you in your prayer. To pray for the prayerless and for those who have never been prayed for is a calling.

31 August 2013 at 13:45  

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