Syria: a powder keg with echoes of Sarajevo 1914
The UK may not wish to be party to military action in the Middle East, but very well placed sources tell me today that there is every sign that British forces could find themselves engaged.
There were moments in Washington earlier this week and indeed last week, when a unilateral US military attack on President Assad’s Syrian areas seemed a real and frightening possibility. Frightening because it was impossible to predict with any certainty what might flow from such a development.
Not since the Cuban missile crisis of May 1962 have Russians made so bold a move to try to diffuse global tensions as Russia did in offering to try to “put beyond use” Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
It was this move that punctured global tension, and resulted in the current US-Russian emergency summit in Geneva between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry.
Lavrov’s boss, President Putin, warned in the New York Times on Thursday that any country by-passing the UN Security Council’s authorisation risked the United Nations suffering the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed “because it lacked real leverage”.
Hold on! The leader of Russia warns of the collapse of the United Nations?
In my working lifetime, I cannot remember such a dire warning from so powerful a source. Nor can I remember such a powder keg of ingredients in any conflict, which threatens to drag so many into it.
In two weeks’ time, according to my very well placed contacts, the RAF is to be involved in “exercises” centred upon the United Arab Emirates. My informant says plans are in place for British pilots to fly perilously close to Iranian airspace - which exists above the Persian Gulf, which both Iran and the UAE border.
There has long been an agenda by some to involve ‘pressure’ upon Iran in the course of supposedly resolving the Syrian crisis.
The British government has been outspoken in its resistance to moving at all quickly toward repairing its relations with Iran, despite the opportunities arising from the election of President Rouhani.
Who in 1914 ever thought that the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, in far away Sarajevo, could prove the spark to igniting the worst war in world history – world war one? Does far away Damascus, in 2013, harbour an eerily similar potential?
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