Posts Tagged ‘al-Nusra’

A progressive case for intervention in Syria

20/06/2013, 10:38:05 AM

by Sam Fowles

Few enough things unite the left of British politics. Indeed, much of our internal debate makes the Gallagher brothers look positively fraternal. But you can’t get a cigarette paper between us on Syria: Keep out. In this we’re joined by the Lib Dems, Tory backbenchers and, of course, Boris. A motley coalition to be sure, but certainly a wide ranging one.

It’s with some trepidation then, that I’m going to say: they’re all wrong (and David Cameron is right – I’m currently bracing myself for the inevitable implications on the British summer as hell freezes over).

The left should back intervention in Syria, even if this only means arming the opposition, for both practical and moral reasons. Practically, it’s the best way to limit the influence of al-Qaeda and bring the sides to the negotiating table. Morally, the West, and more particularly the left, needs to decide what we stand for and, and then protect those who are oppressed for standing up for the same thing.

The practical case against intervention is founded on “what ifs”; “What if it escalates?” “What if al-Qaeda get hold of the weapons?” Good policy makers must always consider the repercussions. But they must also take into account the situation as it stands. The fact is that the conflict has already escalated, al-Qaeda are already gaining a foothold and this is because of our failure to intervene, not in spite of it.

The death toll in Syria is estimated at 93 000. It’s no longer a matter of keeping the lid on the powder keg, it’s about what we do now that lid has been quite dramatically blown off. Introducing more powerful weapons into the conflict initially may have caused escalation but that’s already happened. Russia and Iran have already given Assad’s forces powerful weapons and the conflict has escalated accordingly, mostly at the expense of innocent civilians or opposition fighters.


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