15 June 2013

Iran and Syria

Hassan Rouhani's election, on the first ballot, as the new President of Iran, is a small sign of hope in the firecracker environment of the Middle East. He appears to be welcome to proper negotiations with the West and reforming the system - one only hopes the clerics actually allow him to improve that country.

Syria is a situation where none of the options available are particularly palatable. Certainly the status quo, with over 93,000 dead, likely use of chemical weapons and refugees in the hundreds of thousands, cannot be allowed to continue. They are our fellow human beings and we have a duty to help end suffering whether it may be.

Arming the rebels runs the risk of weapons getting into the hands of al-Qaeda supporting groups, whereas a limited no-fly zone must entail the destruction of Syrian bases; this is not Libya's antiqued air defence system by any means. F-22s and B-2s will have a big part to play in this; the West may lose aircraft.

If we are going to go into Syria - and we need to decide if that is the best solution to stop this war - we need a proper plan with clear objectives.

Assad's use of WMDs voids him of any support in my view, but I am not sure if we should back the rebels. All I know is I want this to stop and the land where St Paul met The Risen Christ to be peaceful again.

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