Madam – It was a relief to read Michael McDowell's analysis of the Syrian conflict last week (Sunday's Independent, September 15, 2013). His analysis of the situation is precise and to the point. The Western Government and the US are complicit in a well orchestrated attack on the Shia communities from Pakistan to Iraq and Syria. Shia pilgrims to the holy sites of Kerbala, Najaf and Kufa are regularly slaughtered in huge numbers, attracting no more than a cursory item in the Western press. The 4,000 killed in the past few months in Iraq, most of them Shia, is a shocking indictment of the Sunni militants – where is the outrage, where is our Western humanitarian response? This conflict is a reminder to the supporters of the Assad regime of what may lie in wait for them once the Saudi-backed caliphate is in place.
The West has a convenient lapse of memory when one considers the widespread use of nerve and mustard gas by Saddam Hussein against the Iranian Army during the Nineties. Not a word about this in American or Western press. Has the source of these chemical weapons even been definitively established?
If sectarian terrorism is to be curtailed Saudi Arabia and Qatar must stop financing and arming the Syrian opposition. Much of this finance could be directed to easing the deplorable conditions being experienced in the refugee camps by the millions of displaced Syrians. Dialogue with the government of Iran is an essential prerequisite to a lasting peace in any settlement of the Syrian catastrophe.