Thank you Angela Merkel isn’t something you imagine writing very often but the German Chancellor has thankfully been there, along with essentially everyone else, to stop the Anglo-French move to overturn the EU arms embargo on Syria and arm the rebels.

Quoted in the Guardian, Merkel said “One has to ask if it does not fan the flames of the conflict.” Thank you Angela Merkel.

Another story of Britain and France being too involved in old colonies they should be nowhere near is all this can turn out to be. Arming the rebels may seem a gallant move to help freedom fighters of the world but not only are you talking about fanning the flames of the conflict, as Mrs Merkel has mentioned, but you’re going to risk dragging the rest of the region into it too.

…the sectarian divide can largely come down to Saudi Arabia versus Iran…

Anyone with a little knowledge of the Middle East knows that the sectarian divide can largely come down to Saudi Arabia versus Iran and which side you choose to be, Britain’s arming of the rebels would be following the Saudi line and, again the slightest of interest in world politics would tell you, Saudi Arabia is not someone you want to be supporting either. A toss up between the Saudi royal family and the Assad regime is not an easy one, the assumed thinking is ‘at least Saudi invests in the West.’

The Assad regime is committing atrocities, its blatantly true, but let’s not naively assume that any weapons Britain or France gets to Syria will be used within the ‘rules of combat’ or some such lawful framework. We helped the Libyan rebels and their own atrocities may be out of the headlines but they’re still coming to light.

…we’re arming for democracy…

Let us not forget that the Free Syrian Army has not been shown to be a cohesive or adequate governing body. We can say we’re arming for democracy (and we know where that rhetoric get us) but we can’t be sure that’s what the end product will be. The only demand the in-fighting factions of the FSA have in common is for the downfall of Assad.

Just as arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan would have seemed the right thing to do against Soviet oppression, it gave us the Taliban. We don’t know whether the liberal minded amongst the rebels would gain the upper hand or whether the more sinister and extreme elements would leave Syria with something even more oppressive – or just as bad, it would leave Syria with smaller warring factions, all well armed enough to keep up the fight a lot longer.

So no, the EU arms embargo shouldn’t be lifted, all that can do is make a bad situation even worse. To add to that, it’s not like Britain needs another reason for the word imperialist to be thrown at it again.



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Grew up in the Middle East, currently studying Arabic and Linguistics in central London. Write a lot...

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