Thursday, 29 August 2013

Why The West Should Overtly Leave Syria Alone

I was saddened to read that the only debate we now seem to be having on Syria is whether or not to bomb Assad’s regime, following the dreadful chemical attacks his regime has reported to have inflicted on his own people.

Right now we need to forget the rhetoric of war with its “lines in the sand” and “steps too far”. The West - UK and US specifically -  needs to think logically and coolly. Regrettably there are no votes in thinking it through, though there are some in being cool. It's holidays cut short, it's  Parliament recalled, it's decisions need to made with seemingly little or no time to think things through.

Some politicians seem keen to make the big bombing decision in the face of public opinion and in many cases (sadly) public indifference. In the UK 2:1 against bombing or believe Syria is of no concern to the West.

I argue that the thinking decision is to do nothing. Look at history: in the 1990s Algeria over 100,000 died in a bloody civil war as Islamist fought the Army for power , in Turkey its Islamic state was overthrown by in a peaceful coup by ‘Young Turks’ leading a secular army to create an equally secular state. Similar  - sometimes peaceful , sometimes violent - things appear to be happening in Egypt and Syria today in the overt struggle between Islamism and Secularism.

I would ask politicians to look at the legacy of Tony Blair and George Bush that  must make some of them think twice. 

If politicians believe they must become involved in Syria then I urge them to puruse a covert electronic war with Assad. The hidden, some say dirty,  war -  the one that goes unpublicised, behind closed doors – a few key strokes on a computer on one side of  world causing  problems the other side of the world.  Internet war , virus spreading and the like can be very effective  eg the Stuxnet virus used against Iran’s nuclear capability.

There are no plaudits or Nobel Peace prizes in a covert war to constrain Assad, no votes to be won. But I would argue this is the most effective solution using the  Internet, to make electronic strikes on Assad and his infrastructure.

If the US or UK do not have a hidden handle or kill switch on Assad's technology I would be surprised, after all they sold Syria a lot of it, so they know how it works, so surely, they know  how to stop it working.

I urge US and UK governments to bring together their covert internet technologists in order to contain Assad's regime – switch off their iPhones, their smartphones, their Kindles, their Blackberrys , switch off their power transformers,  restrain Assad's regime electronically.

Leave Syria alone. Let Syria work out its own destiny - secular or Islamic state - like Egypt is doing now as Algeria and Turkey did in the past, in doing so let history take its course.

Bombing Syria will not work. Bombing a country into a submission has never  worked, except for the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. The West would not do that - would it ?  

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