News ID: 17902
Publish Date: 04 October 2015 - 09:45
LHVnews: what Syria really, really wants, after four years of war, an estimated 250,000 deaths and 12million people forced to flee from their homes, is more dropping bombs.
Well, lucky Syria - because within the last few days, both France and Russia have joined in, which means that by my count, there are now warplanes from no fewer than nine nations engaged in the skies over Syria.

And who knows? Soon the UK may be there as well, although, with no disrespect to the RAF, I cannot imagine what British bombs might achieve that isn't already being tried (other than killing more people, of course). The whole thing is utterly ludicrous.

 I suppose we should be duly grateful that the Americans and Russians are at least trying to work out a way to avoid their various warplanes getting in each other's way. They should, of course, be talking about much more, and this is where - don't laugh - the EU might have a useful role.

In the tortuous negotiations with Iran leading to the landmark nuclear agreement last July, the six other governments at the talks (US, Russia, China, UK, France, Germany) used the EU's then foreign policy chief, Cathy Ashton, as their lead coordinator and negotiator. Iran is President Assad's key regional backer - so why not use the same formula again?

Cathy Ashton's successor in Brussels, the former Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini has already made a start. Last weekend she met the Iranian foreign minister in New York, and there's talk of trying to get UN-sponsored peace talks off the ground again, coupled with the formation of an international contact group including Iran.

Washington is reported to prefer a format that would exclude the Europeans, on the grounds that we are not "directly involved". Perhaps someone should remind them of the refugees who have been heading into Europe in such huge numbers over recent months - and anyway, both Russia and Iran quite like the idea of having Europeans at the table, huffingtonpost reported.

It comes down to this: should the UK use what little international influence it still has to encourage the resumption of international peace talks - and could David Cameron and Philip Hammond bring themselves to champion the cause of the EU as an essential part of the mix?

Or would they rather ask the House of Commons to approve RAF bombing raids in Syria, even though they must know full well that a few more bombs - even if they carry "Made in Britain" markings - are unlikely to make a blind bit of difference?

We may be suspicious of President Putin's motives in Syria - clearly he's aiming to prop up his client Mr Assad, but just as important, I suspect, is his burning desire to persuade the Western powers to drop their policy of trying to isolate him because of his adventures in Ukraine (which, incidentally, has gone very quiet of late. Funny, that...).

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Tags: Syria ، bombs ، UK ، Russians
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