“In Iraq, we went to war on the basis of lies originally uttered by fakers and conmen. Now it’s war by YouTube. This doesn’t mean that the terrible images of the gassed and dying Syrian civilians are false. It does mean that any evidence to the contrary is going to have to be suppressed. For example, no-one is going to be interested in persistent reports in Beirut that three Hezbollah members – fighting alongside government troops in Damascus – were apparently struck down by the same gas on the same day, supposedly in tunnels. They are now said to be undergoing treatment in a Beirut hospital. So if Syrian government forces used gas, how come Hezbollah men might have been stricken too? Blowback?”
“The Obamas and the Camerons…want – or wanted – to send weapons to the FSA, the secular, “heroic” resistance fighting for “democracy” against the…regime…in Damascus…the FSA are the guys we should be arming, now that the al-Qa’ida outfits have started killing the FSA leadership. If the good guys in the FSA are now fighting the bad guys of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, we should help them.
But history suggests that the good guys might turn into the bad guys and that the bad guys might win. What if the Islamists wipe out the FSA? Then our weapons really will fall into the “wrong hands” rather faster than they would have done anyway – since guns are money in civil wars and al-Nusra and the rest have the cash to buy anything we give the FSA.”
What impression did you get from the Syrian government soldiers?
I found them a…pretty determined army…Many of the soldiers I spoke to had been wounded. So they are tough, ruthless men on the government side…the government forces in Syria are clearly taking territory from the rebels.
What role is Iran playing in this conflict?
We know that the Iranian government has given advice, but these are very, very small token forces, compared to the propaganda, which is that thousands and thousands of Iranians are arriving en masse. I did not see any Iranian soldiers on any front line.