Monday, 26 August 2013
The Devil's Symphony
The latest escalation is a purported chemical weapons attack seemingly resulting in the death of innocent civilians and one carried out by President Assad. Readers may note my use of the words "purported" and "seemingly". I use these words quite deliberately because truth and facts appear to have been amongst the first casualties of this conflict. Confusion reigns where the truth is concerned. We aren't really clear who the real bad guy is as those who go beyond the mainstream media to add a richer understanding of what is going on will have heard of barbarism by both sides. They will also have heard that there may be more to these rebels, than simply angry Syrians revolting. There's every indication they are fighters from a patchwork of conflicts, many of whom have also fought against our troops and our allies troops.
Although the main allegation is that the chemical attack was by Assad's forces, there are counter claims that the rebels have done it in order to draw further involvement from the west. Such a claim is not beyond the realm of possibility as we have heard stories of their own savage acts on the people of Syria. Once again a straight answer on who is doing what eludes. It's simply a mess that is almost beyond human understanding, but what is clear is that men women and children who wanted nothing more than a life free from harm are pawns in a nihilistic game.
Regardless of who did it, it has effectively created a situation for the western governments who have been generally siding with the rebels. Identifying the use of chemical weapons has taken us across the red line, a phrase they used in their rhetoric. In fact the western involvement angle appears to have amped up recently, with reports suggesting preparation activity in terms of American troop deployment and command structures within the area. We 've also had the French making noises and also our own politicians with William Hague reputedly not ruling out the use of British forces. Once again therefore we seem to see our leaders looking to commit us to further conflict having done so on a continuous basis since 2001.
This however is nothing like those previous conflicts. This is Syria. I do not claim to be a military analyst, much less a middle eastern one, but there's a very clear notion in all reports that fighting this nation will not be a walkover. There is clearly something that gives nations who fall out with Syria pause for thought and a preference to purse diplomatic channels.
Maybe one of those reasons is Russia. Russia, a nation we have been told with a military capability suffering a terminal case of the rust supply a lot of hardware to Syria and are rumoured to have provided the S300 missile system, described by many as a game changer. This provision is in response to the west's involvement. It has also been suggested that Russian involvement could possibly be efforts to protect the west's reliance on Russian supplied energy to Europe
So here we find ourselves potentially looking to enter a conflict fighting alongside those who have committed acts against us and facing opposition from those we have recently come to regard as allies in certain situations. Our leaders may have a plan, or at least think they do. However, as Mike Tyson once said - everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. In this instance there are way too many variables for the execution of a simple plan, especially when being handled by modern political leaders. We have seen time and time again, their stumbling and mishandling of even the simplest of issues because of their shallowness and obsession with short term headlines and approval ratings, which in turn translates into paucity of thinking. Events have a habit of overtaking these people and they are ill cut out to respond appropriately. The worrying fact is many of these events could be predicted by anyone with half a brain.
So what we have is not a local issue. Although it's in Syria, the situation sees the west looking to meddle and the Russians not liking our meddling one bit and responding in kind. This, is in the context of a middle east that is coming increasingly unstable. It's an area of high tension with everyone turning on each other. This whole thing has the possibility of descending into the Abyss. There are lots interplays here with power players in the area who could decide to utilise any conflict to advance their own agenda and plans. It wouldn't take much. It's a tinderbox and our history shows us previous major world conflicts often start with just such a combination of seemingly unrelated events in numbers that world leaders just can't keep a lid on.
Then there is the rest of the world. The financial markets will be watching this. These markets aren't renowned for having a sober view of things. Market shift on silly rumours with only short term impacts. They're prone to pointless overreaction so something like this could really give them the jitters. Take that into consideration in the context of a world financial crisis. Prices could go all over the place, especially the price of oil, something we are highly reliant on. With prices all over the place, that will be felt at the pumps and possibly in our domestic energy prices. Our domestic energy security is already compromised and unstable thanks to our politician's obsession with the "green" agenda which could add further destabilisation. Each time we keep coming back to the absence of capable leaders and their mishandling of serious events in serious times.
Suddenly a crisis in a far away country starts to land at our doorstep. Look at our ability as a people to handle a crisis on our doorstep. To do so one really only has to go back to when there was the mere suggestion of a strike by fuel tanker drivers. It wasn't even a real plan, just a notion that floated its way into the public consciousness. Yet it sparked a panic at the pumps because too many of us wanted the everyday convenience we have come to expect to continue without interruption. We almost caused our own crisis because we had taken leave of our senses. We lack resilience and cool calm heads in a situation. We want what we want, when we want it and it does not take much for that to spill into violence. You have to ask yourself how cut out we are for a serious crisis? How cut out are we for serious times? Look back at the Tottenham riots and how they spread. The breakdown in both of these situations showed the almost hair trigger society is living on. Imagine that in a real crisis and one as we head into winter. That's just one more thing for our leaders to need to keep make an effort to keep a lid on. That unrest could happen not only in this country but certainly across Europe and across the globe. We have already seen such foundations laid in nations like Greece and Spain.
We run the risk of violence everywhere. Friend against friend. Neighbour against neighbour.
This is a dark scenario and one I hope and pray we avoid, but we have to recognise it is possible in equal measure. I just hope our politicians have because if not, once again events will overtake their plan and we're back to Mike Tyson observation about how plans collapse when someone gets punched in the mouth.
This has the potential to be the Devil's Symphony