“While I abhor the Assad regime and its hostility towards Israel (I am Jewish), I have a long- standing interest in Syria and the Middle East… Over a period of about five years, I met Assad several times, always one on one…So a Jewish MP wants us to get involved even more than we are already in another Middle East war. Anyone out there surprised by this?
When I asked him what was his most important objective, he replied in two words: ‘Regime survival’… As events have now shown, he is willing to destroy Syria completely and kill its people in vast numbers to protect his family. In effect, Syria is a mafia state…
I also asked him why he supported the Lebanese-based Shia terrorist group Hezbollah. As we saw last week, Hezbollah’s military support for Assad played a key part in his forces winning back al-Qusayr, one of the Syrian towns captured from Syria’s rebel Free Syrian Army.
In a reply of astonishing and brutal candour, he made no attempt to deny his support for Hezbollah and admitted he had used them as a proxy to attack Israeli forces. He said: ‘I am weak both economically and militarily. I cannot take on Israel directly. They are much stronger than me. It makes more sense to use Hezbollah to put pressure on Israel’...
When the Arab Spring reached Syria, it did not surprise me that Assad’s regime would respond in the ruthless way that it did. What has surprised me is how quickly a sectarian war has evolved and the progress the opposition has made.
A once-beautiful country is quickly disintegrating into a fragmented Somalia on the Mediterranean. I understand the concerns of those, including fellow Conservative MPs, who say we should not arm the Syrian rebels and help them bring down Assad and that we must not be dragged into another Iraq or Afghanistan.
But I believe they are wrong. This is not Iraq: in Iraq there were no chemical weapons. In Syria, we know for sure Assad has used them. We sent thousands of British troops to Iraq. No one is suggesting sending a single British soldier to Syria.
Nor is this Afghanistan: the silent majority of Syrians are secular not Islamist. This is more like Bosnia or Libya, in which a brutal dictator is murdering his own people in order to stay in power. To date we have seen almost 100,000 killed, 1.1million refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries and more than 7million displaced internally.
On the one side we have the Assad regime, which has 300,000 well-armed soldiers, the violent Shabiha secret police, 16,000 pieces of heavy artillery, tanks and an air force that is unchallenged in the skies. They are supported by Iranian and Russian money and arms, and 7,000 Hezbollah fighters. On the other side we have a highly fragmented Syrian rebel force, 35,000 fighters equipped with small arms under the banner of the FSA.
While the West, scarred by Iraq and Afghanistan, prevaricates, 20?million Syrians face genocide. If we do nothing, instead of 100,000 dead we could see 300,000 dead a year from now. Russia is threatening to send S-300 surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-ship missiles, which not only threaten Israel but also the West’s Mediterranean fleet.
The Syrian rebels urgently need their own surface-to-air missiles and tank-busters to have any chance of winning. Britain can and should supply them with them. We could train them how to use them in Jordan or Turkey.
I hope and pray a peaceful resolution can be found to this bloody dispute. But if it cannot, we must lift the arms embargo to send a powerful message to Assad that this will no longer be a one-sided war.”
"... brutal dictator!" "... murdering his own people!" "... willing to destroy Syria completely!" "... kill its people in vast numbers!" "20million Syrians face genocide!" "300,000 dead a year from now!" "Syria is a Mafia state!"
I wonder why Brooks doesn’t tell us that the ‘highly fragmented Syrian rebel force’ of 35,000 fighters is about 80 percent non-Syrian. I wonder why he doesn't mention that a good many of the foreign contingent are Al Qaeda and Jihadi types and most Syrians would rather Assad remain in power (even those who aren't that keen on him) than have a gruesome bunch of non-indigenous fundamentalists lording it over them?
As for Assad’s ‘astonishing and brutal candour’, well, ask yourselves this, why would the leader of 22,530,746 people (Wikipedia) want to confess all, 'several times,' to a lowly backbench parliamentarian?
And why would he provide him with this extraordinary little gem? ‘I am weak both economically and militarily. I cannot take on Israel directly. They are much stronger than me. It makes more sense to use Hezbollah to put pressure on Israel.’ Did common sense not suggest that a Jewish politician might be likely to spill the beans at some point?
It really doesn’t make any sense at all.
Remember this, ladies and gentlemen: politicians are not always the most straightforward of men. They tend to spin things in order to get folks to believe what they want them to believe.
When Brooks tells us that ‘the West’s Mediterranean fleet; might be threatened by ‘S-300 surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-ship missiles’ in a year or so, you should perhaps, recall what Tony Blair told his fellow MPs on 24 September 2002:
“His weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down; it is up and running now…
The intelligence picture… is one accumulated over the last four years. It is extensive, detailed and authoritative. It concludes that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes… and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.”All of which was a lie. A lie intended to get us to go to war with Iraq. And up to a million people died as a result.
Put not your faith in politicians, folks.