Tag Archives: paris

Syria: The Complexities Of Bombing

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We are in the middle of a heated debate in the UK as to whether we should or should not use our armed forces to bomb Syria.  Whether we do or wether we do not will be decided by a vote of our MPs on Wednesday.

Let’s be clear.  If Paris had been London – the discourse would be very different and it is important that we take this opportunity to be thankful that we make such decisions with a cool head and not as a reaction to horrific events.  That said – we need to realise the real dangers we face as British citizens – like the horrors that we saw on a beach in Tunisia – or that of in France.  The Russian flight that was blown up over Egypt’s Sinai desert could well of been a British flight.  Wether we like it or not – we are targets – wether or not we bomb in Syria.

There are those who are totally opposed to bombing.  I understand their concerns.  However, the truth is that bombing HAS worked.  It decimated their high command; helped halt their advance and in many cases pushed them back;  spreads fear and dread throughout the ranks of Daesh who worry that every time they step outside or jump into a vehicle – they could be killed or maimed.  That in turn helps disrupt their mobility and ability to hold gatherings outside of their strong hold and if they need to communicate over long distances – they take a chance with their lives or use technology which can be intercepted and used against them.

 

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Bombing Has Limitations

That said, bombing has limitations.  We know already that there is a complex network of tunnels and command centres placed underneath the houses and hospitals of innocent Syrian people.  The extremists use these dug outs knowing that if and when they get bombed – they survive but the innocent men, women and children above ground die; their deaths then captured and edited into slick horror videos distributed to easily suggestible men and women around the world who do not comprehend the context of how they actually died.

The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is not just whether we should bomb Syria.  Whether we do or do not will not make much of a difference. This fact we know. We also know Daesh will be defeated in Syria and Iraq.  Maybe not next week, next month or next year. But they will.  And we know this because – they are a death cult. They are only interested in death.  And before they die they want to ensure they subjugate, kill, terrorise  and torture anyone under their control. This is not something desired by the masses – no matter how deep rooted they are to a religion.  Daesh has limited appeal.

 

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Even the use of the word “defeat” is a simplification.  Like defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan!

So, when we say “defeat” what we actually mean is turn them from a group which controls large swathes of a country and its population – into a small group of bandits and guerrillas who still hold the same ideology but terrorise on a much smaller scale and are dealt with at a local level before eventually being replaced with some other ideology and becoming a footnote in history.

The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is: What do you think Syria will look like in 1, 3 & 5 years time and what do you base this on?  (as apposed to what do you want it to look like). What is our end game?   When Daesh is defeated – what could fill the vacuum?  Who are they? What are their aims? How far are you prepared to go militarily – understanding that bombing has its limits?  Weapons? Training? Our soldiers?

The West is adamantly opposed to Russian backed President Bashar al-Assad – yet backs the free Syrian army – which is adamantly apposed by Russia and President Bashar al-Assad.  In order to root out Daesh we may need to work with Russia and Assad – how do we feel about this?  Will  we need to adjust our policy to Assad – what about the thousands and millions killed or made refugees by his Government – what are our “lines to take” when answering their questions?  Can we feasibly have two opposing policies operating at one time?  With Assad – but against? With Russia, but against?

 

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Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about the Paris attacks in the House of Commons (PA) – flanked by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

And when Daesh are finally sent scurrying off into the desert – who will replace them?  Do we know? Do we think we know? Have we post-Daesh plans?  What do we do if Assad tries to reclaim control of the country? If we commit to side fully with the free Syrian army and this group of 70,000 militants ready to rout out Daesh from places such as Raqqa – what happens if they are then bombed by Assad or Russia?  What if we find ourselves backing an army which finds itself fighting against Assad and Russia.  Where are the lines drawn? When do we STOP?

So, whether we bomb or do not bomb Syria will probably turn out to be of less importance than wether we are or are not prepared for the end of Daesh control in the region and whether we finally find the stomach to square up to President Putin – when he tries to exert control in the region.

Let us not forget the lessons from history.

 

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife leaving the town hall in Sarajevo moments before they were assassinated – which in part, led to the start of WW1.

 

 

 

 

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Breakfast Show – Paris Attack

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On the evening of Friday 13th November 2015 a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis, killing 130 people.

Jason McCrossan’s 106.9 SFM Saturday Breakfast show was broadcast the following day and reflected the shock felt in the UK and around the world.

How Would UK React to Paris Attack?

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David Videcette is an Ex-Scotland Yard detective, who worked on the anti-terrorism branch of the Met police during the 7 July London bombings in 2005.

He spoke to Jason McCrossan and explains what the UK police and Security Services learned from the 2005 bombings and also says how the cuts to policing could have a detrimental affect on our ability to stop a terrorist attack like that seen in France.

Why I Won’t Apologise for Supporting France

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I have seen a number of facebook posts over the past few days which challenged those of us who briefly changed our profile picture to reflect our support for the people of France.  They challenged us by asking the question – why do you show so much support for France – yet there was a terrorist outrage in Beirut and Baghdad – why do you choose who to grieve over?  Implied in this question is  – “Do you think a European life is worth more than one in the Middle East?”

The question is simple enough – but it shows a remarkable misunderstanding of the relationship Britain has with France – not over 10 years, not over 100 years – but over 1,000 of years.

The fact that it is implied that grief is something that can be chosen – I’ve decided to weep over the 120 or so dead in Paris – but made a choice not to weep over the 40 or so dead in Beirut says a lot about the person(s) who pose the question.  Grief cannot always been chosen but yes IT IS SELECTIVE.

I don’t weep over every name I come across in the obituary section of a newspaper.  I don’t weep more if they are British or less because they are asian.  Grief in itself is selective and it is about personal connections with the individual or group of people who died.

Let us be clear about the French.  Britain has great historical ties with our garlic loving neighbour which are deep rooted and not always favourable.

I understand that there are people whose genealogy within this country only goes back one, two or three generations – and therefore they may not fully understand our affiliation with the land that loves frogs legs and snails [a combination that’s vomit inducing to those of us brought up on mince and chips].   Those with a short British genealogy may feel a strong connection with the middle east because of their family connections – and that is fine and we respect that.  But the majority of England, Scotland and Wales  DO NOT have connections with Arab countries or the middle east. We are europeans.

12239346_1071698219531001_1740804879240104236_o.jpgFrance isn’t just another ‘nation’ to us in the UK.  Over the centuries Britain and France have  ruled, been ruled, argued, agreed, disagreed, joked at, joked with, fought, killed, tunnelled to, laughed at, laughed with, cried, sympathised, & clashed with each other like petulant children.

The people of France – unlike most other European countries –  aren’t just a close neighbour – they are like cousins – the swish relatives – the really annoying ones – who find us uncouth and like to imply how smart they are, whilst at the same time – eat way too much smelly cheese and tell us that their house is nicer, food is better and don’t like that we get drunk too much. But deep down you love them all the same & you love them because you know them and have a joined history & past.

So, I don’t apologise for not putting the flags of Beirut or Baghdad on my profile. They have my sympathy. Of course they do. As do the Russians who also lost its people to terrorism.  My heart goes out to the 28 British tourists who lost their lives whilst lying peacefully on a in Tunisia.  Where was the poster outside the Mosque in Birmingham then condemning terrorism against BRITISH people?  Maybe it was there…maybe I just missed it.

It doesn’t really matter.  When those close to you suffer – you also suffer.  And I refuse to apologise.

 

#JeSuisCharlie

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Charlie Hebdo

When you look at the faces above – it is difficult to think of the circumstances and drama – that they saw, sensed and felt in the final moments of their life.

Each person pictured was part of a debate into the story of our lives – one which religion has played a major part for our entire rememberable history.

That they were taken down by a couple of people with guns is not all that surprising.  Maybe it should be.  But that is not the world we live in.  That it was done with such black and dark precision and indifference to extinguishing human life is no longer a shock.

The life of those who loved and believed that it was important was taken away from them by those who didn’t.  Imagine- it is a life that belongs to you.  Or so you think?

When I look at the faces above – I see a courage that I could not and cannot match.  I have no religion – as far as I see – that is their time here done – for them – there is just darkness and rest.

Killed by those who cling on to an existence in another life that is more prosperous and important than the lives they currently lead. Like being poor and forced to stand outside Harrods – to be told that if you want the doors to part and you then be able to enjoy everything for free – you just need to kill someone/people and you will be accepted.

And that is the crunch – in the West we crave the pleasures of the life and materialism that is open to us – if we are good enough.  For others – that materialism involves their death and a promise of pleasure comes from ending their own life and taking others with them.  But as it includes their death – the ability of investigative journalism to question the accuracy of this – or what life on the other side is like – is not possible.  And so there is nothing to halt the flood – the gates are open.

Many people have decided to retweet the pictures that made  Charlie Hebdo  infamous and have criticised broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV for not showing them.

However, by showing pictures of Mohammed – only serves to offended a large number of people.  I don’t think that is the place of the BBC and actually respect their decision.  Everything is about choices and what separates us from extremists – is that we mumble, grumble and moan…but we do NOT kill.

Charlie Hebdo  must continue and if they want to print material that people find offensive – they MUST be allowed.  But at the same time – companies must be allowed to also CHOOSE not to print images that others will find offensive. If they want.

Guess what – it’s part of being human.  Nothing, but nothing should result in the scenes we saw in Paris on Wednesday morning.  However, I don’t believe it will be the last. And that makes me sad.  However, the fact that I am alive and able to write this – you know what – I’m very grateful and happy to be alive and all that life brings.

I just wish everyone love life as much.