Syria: more uncertainty and indecision

Following my post last week, and follow-up comments on Twitter, we learned last night that President Obama is prepared to take limited military action against Syria, but that he will put it to a vote in Congress first. Congress doesn’t return from the summer recess until 9 September, making the earliest time for a strike later that week, or potentially later than that.

All this must be highly amusing to the Assad regime. They have at least two weeks to prepare for any attack, and there’s the G8 meeting next week, which will be attended by both Obama and Putin, which will provide the latter with a further opportunity for more pro-Assad propaganda. Far better in my opinion to have carried out the first strike this week, which I think many were expecting. But instead the wait continues, and so does the suffering of the Syrian people.

Finally, a couple of comments about the UK’s response to the situation. Firstly, the only person who came out of Thursday’s disgraceful events with any dignity, in my opinion was Paddy Ashdown. I was impressed by his statements which I shared entirely. Secondly, I am somewhat mystified by the comments of MPs that they were reflecting the will of their constituents in voting the way they did. Based on what evidence? As far as I know, there was one poll carried out by a particular newspaper. There is no way that this was representative of the country as a whole, and I am fed up with journalists and politicians claiming that somehow the vote represented some kind of ‘consensus view’, without evidence that this is truly the case! And I won’t go into Ed Miliband’s claim to be acting ‘in the national interest’.

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