(This post first appeared on Knee Jerk Reactions)
Now I realise that the situation in Syria is terribly complex and I’m probably missing a lot of very important details but if I understand things correctly the situation is something like this.
Someone attacked someone else with some sort of chemical weapon
Some people claimed it was the Syrian government
The Syrian government said it wasn’t them
Then some other people said it was the rebels
Meanwhile some UN inspectors have gone in to find out what exactly was used in the hopes they can figure out who did it.
Rather than wait for them to report back Mr Obama said this alleged 14th use of chemical weapons was different to the other 13 so he wanted to bomb the Syrian Government
This was to preserve a “norm” of not using chemical weapons in war which America doesn’t adhere to
This is of course a civil war so those treaties aren’t relevant, as they don’t cover using chemical weapons against your own population (Like America also does)
However America didn’t want to throw a few bombs at Syria alone, so asked for help.
Obama then got upset when the British Parliament said no thanks old chap – which provoked much howling as to how it will damage the special relationship (Which is clearly healthy given how the US has backed up British interests over the Falkland Islands)
That was ok though as the French said they’d help turning them from cheese eating surrender monkeys into America’s strongest ally.
Meanwhile, we’ve still not heard from the UN inspectors but it emerges that the US may have been warned that the rebels had got hold of chemical weapons
Oh and the rebels are partly formed of terrorist sorts who we’re fighting elsewhere so aren’t really the sorts America would want taking over Syria
Meanwhile both China and Russia have said they won’t let America go round dropping bombs on people just for the hell of it.
A flippant comment from America that they wouldn’t drop bombs if Mr Assad turned over all of his weapons was then swiftly retracted (“Just joking, didn’t mean it”) when Mr Assad said “all right then, I never used them anyway”
At this point Russia said “That’s a terribly good idea so how about it Mr Obama”
Mr Obama then decided he wasn’t in such a hurry to drop bombs after all and would have to ask congress anyway (You recall how he got upset when Parliament was asked about it, yeah consistency isn’t his strong point)
In the back ground to this, there are some Syrians asking “why doesn’t America take action do they hate us because we’re Muslim” (as just reported on the BBC), whilst other say is America gets involved it’s proof that America hates Muslim
If the hand-over-your-weapons route works (and keep in mind neither America nor Russia have manged to get rid of the chemical weapons they’ve previously said they would – because it’s frightfully tricky) – then the result will probably be UN/American troops on the ground in Syria protecting Syrian Government military bases and weapons dumps from being attacked by anyone to keep the inspectors and weapons secure.
This will allow the Syrian Government troops to spend less time protecting those basis and more time suppressing the rebels using conventional means.
Meanwhile a whole bunch of people that want nothing to do with any of it are getting bombed by all sides, and randomly killed by which ever sect/religion they don’t belong to.
I think that’s about the size of things, though as I say it’s all far to complex for me. It does though rather remind me of the start of a pub fight, with Obama playing the part of the drunk asking his mates to hold him back or he’ll do damage:
“you ‘ear what he aid? We can’t let him get away with that, hold me back lads or I’ll ‘ave ‘im!”
I suspect I’m not understanding the nuances of diplomacy though.