Wednesday 28 August 2013

More bombs will not bring peace to Syria

After a short 4 days camping at Greenbelt without any news available, it was a huge shock to come home and see the headlines that the UK, US and French governments are planning to bring peace to Syria by bombing it.

I should not have been shocked, this have been the way our governments have repeatedly operated in the Middle East when they have had the opportunity.

The problem with the use of overwhelming military force is that it does not always create the conditions for peace.

First in Afghanistan, the US led 'peacekeepers' overthrew the Taliban. As horrific as the Taliban were - that military solution has not led to peace. Afghanistan is still the poorest country on earth, but it is now the most dangerous place on earth and the biggest producer of the world's heroin.

Then in Iraq. We all wanted to see an end to Saddam Hussein's rule, and 'Shock and Awe' certainly did that. Then after the shock, the real fighting began, a bloody battle for power that claimed the lives of over 1 million folk and has left a devastating mark on the country and region. 10 years on, and the daily bombing is now hardly seen as worth reporting by our news outlets.

In Libya, again, US, UK and French bombers did their thing, and Gaddafi was brought down. Then followed the vicious internal battles seldom covered by the media, let alone the continued fighting brought to neighbouring countries.

My point is, that as much as we want to see Assad held accountable for the killing of his own people and the possible use of chemical weapons, bombing by Tomahawk missiles is not the answer. US led invention may eventually lead to the end of a regime, but it does not resolve Syria's more entrenched problems. It can even lead to a complete breakdown of the country with the result of decades of violence to come.

I believe that outside nations and the UN could have a better role in pushing for peace in other ways. Negotiations and peace talks may appear like weak responses to news of chemical attacks, but a process of national reconciliation is the only way forward to avoid decades of suffering.

The only people who are happy at the news of international airstrikes are the companies heading to the biggest arms fair in the world - DSEi in London this Sept. War, and the threat of war is big business. The arms companies are happy to see the ratcheting up of the prospect of bombing. They are normally manage to sell weapons to both sides, so they never lose out.

The Syrian people deserve freedom and a peaceful future, but I fear that all we are offering them is many more years of suffering.


  1. About 16 years ago (I think!) I was sat by a Syrian man on a plane to India. He talked most of the way about the dictatorship. He joked that there were two TV Channels: A State Sponsored Channel which just had Assad propaganda and a commercial Channel which featured a man with a gun pointing at the camera and a sign saying, "Change Channel Now".

    Assad has been torturing and imprisoning thousands of citizens for many years. The Russians were not the only ones to arm him. at the Arms Fair UK PlC will be selling arms to Saudi Arabia, as usual.

    We armed Saddam, we armed Bashar, We armed Gaddafi, we arm the Al Sauds, We even armed and trained the Taleban.

    If all you have is a hammer every problem is a nail.

  2. I agree, but personally I'm still left with the question: what is an appropriate Christian response to the Syria situation?