Pros and cons of arms to Syria: Caabu director Chris Doyle's letter in the Evening Standard

Posted by Caabu on 17 Jun 2013

Published in the Evening Standard 17th June 2013.

David Cameron has an extremely tough job in selling intervention of any form in Syria.

Firstly, it comes on the back of two long and costly interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of the public do not believe Britain can afford another.

Secondly, who will we be arming? Most of the rebels are not Al Qaeda-in-waiting, but the political opposition we have chosen (not Syrians) are increasingly seen as irrelevant in Syria. There are valid concerns as to where weapons may land up - there are few examples in recent history where arming one side in a conflict has worked. 

Finally, while action to resolve this horrific crisis is desperately needed, there is no clear strategy at present. Arming the opposition looks like a desperate high-risk roll of the dice rather than part of a well-calculated blueprint. In Iraq and Afghanistan, military efforts were hampered by the complete absence of a clear workable political strategy and this seems to be the case in Syria.  Any such strategy has to go well beyond just calling for a ceasefire, which would be no more than a minor pause if not backed up by a political road map.