Sunday 21 January 2018

Standing idly by in Middle East means taking sides

Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

LAST week, an amoral alliance of right-wing Tories and Labour Trots convinced the House of Commons to put Assad's atrocity aside. Some even privately quoted an adage attributed to Lord Palmerston: "Nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests."

Let's be clear: I am against cosmetic actions. I am against the bluster-bombing of soft Syrian targets while proclaiming we are not taking sides. I believe the West should have taken sides against Assad from the start, that Obama should have stood by his 2011 call for regime change and armed anti-fundamentalist factions among the Syrian rebels.

I believe the West must take sides because Islamic fundamentalists want to foment widespread war. I believe they are no more Muslim than the Crusaders were Christians. I believe Islamism is less a religion than what Edmund Burke called an "armed doctrine". Like Nazi fascism, it could return East and West to the dark ages.

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