UK Buys Into Syrian Civil War For $8million – Are We To Expect British Drones To Fly Over Syria Soon?
Henry Forth writes from London: The UK is to hand out $8 million to Syrian rebels and claims that this is not to help the opposition kill more Syrian soldiers and civilians. According to Foreign Secretary William Hague, this is ‘the right thing to do and will help save lives’.
This is either a naive Foreign Secretary talking or it is the British being economical with the truth. The deal is simple: the British hand-out is to be donated to the so-called ‘civilian elements’ of the opposition. According to Hague, the money will be picked up by ‘unarmed opposition groups, human rights activists and civilians’.
The Foreign Office people have been in contact with what they call ‘the political arm of the rebel military’, the Free Syrian Army, the FSA – not the shooters you understand, just the political guys.
The fact that the political front offices in London, Turkey, Paris and elsewhere have been fund-raising, deal-doing and urging the FSA gun-toters to even greater deeds among the rubble and carnage of the Syrian civil war appears to have slipped by the Foreign Office.
What does Hague say to that sort of thing? He says the Syrian people needed ‘urgent help’. Which Syrian people? Well actually, not all the Syrian people.
Hague means the FSA needs help just as when he talked about the Libyan people needing urgent help, he meant the anti-Gaddafi forces. And just as after US and Royal Air Force drone pilots sighted Gaddafi’s convoy and got a direct hit and then looked the other way when Gaddafi was hauled out of a drain and assassinated in October last year, so the British and the US are looking the other way as they hand out dollars by the bucket load.
The British, along with many in the UN – but not all – want regime change. A few million without any accountancy attached (fiscally or morally) is small beer even to a stumbling economy like the UK’s.
There’s more. Hague then, straight-faced, says Syrian people ‘cannot wait indefinitely’ for a peaceful solution to the conflict. Hague is not asked, and does not volunteer how he came to describe what’s going on as the way forward to a ‘peaceful solution’. Twenty thousand dead thus far, Mr Hague.
Of course, the British Foreign Secretary believes that the UN Security Council meeting in New York in a couple of weeks has a duty ‘to stop the bloodshed’. In its present mood, the Security Council couldn’t stop a cab on E 42nd St.
Setting aside a little cynicism, what is going to happen to this hand-out?
The money is to pay for medical kits including wound trauma packs and front-line medicines. There will also be an allocation for mobile phones, ground controlled radar sets and anti-jamming devices. There will be body-armour but not for fighters, of course. This stuff will be for protection. Mr Hague insists that Britain will not send arms. Jamming kit, wound trauma packs and body armour may hang on an ambiguous definition of arms, but if they also hang on the belts of front line fighters, the definitions are esoteric.
If this isn’t a neat package for any front-line commander, what is? He can get the fresh supply of small arms, ammunition and RPGLs (rocket propelled grenade launchers) elsewhere.
In whatever manner Mr Hague glosses over this latest announcement, there is one major step-change in British policy: Britain is now publicly getting involved at ground level in this civil war. What next? Military liaison officers, aka special forces? If we think this would never happen, then we have dangerously short memories. Just remind ourselves how the stages of Libyan war involvement went and comparisons will not be so far-fetched after all.
Next stage? Selective targeting by drone control from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. We’re not short-memory suckers, Mr Hague.