Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Possible consequences of bombing ISIL in Syria

Before taking any serious decision, any serious politician needs to look at the possible consequences, particularly of the unforeseen and unintended variety.

Here are six possible consequences of Parliament deciding to rush in to the war in Syria:

  1. Civilians will die. Daesh in Raqqa form about 1% of the total population, and they have dispersed themselves evenly throughout the population. In ordering  the killing Daesh fighters, Cameron will inevitably be ordering the killing of non-combatant children, women and men. The only difference between Cameron and a terrorist is that Cameron does not make civilians his primary targets, whereas at terrorist does.
  2. Refugees will increase. Refugees from Syria are fleeing Assad's bombs. They will also flee our bombs.
  3. Daesh will try to carry out revenge attacks in the UK. Paris was their reprisal for French bombing of Daesh in Syria. So Cameron's claim that he is acting to protect the UK is the opposite of the truth.
  4. The global numbers of terrorists will almost certainly increase. When a  Daesh fighter gets killed, their brother or cousin or friend is likely to step into his shoes. When a non-combatant gets killed by Western bombs, their family and friends are more likely to be radicalised.

    Here is a collection of terror attacks since 2001

    The "War on Terror" has not worked. We have more terrorists in the world than before the war started, just as experts warned at the outset

    The emotional reaction to terrorism is simple: Kill Them. But there are not a finite number of terrorists in the world, an arithmetical sum that is lessened every time one gets killed. It is a dynamic situation, like fighting a Hydra.

    In the event of our gaining a "victory" , if the bombing missions do actually succeed in crushing the so-called Islamic State, the survivors will disperse to other lands and set up cells there.
  5. Chaotic end-game. If Daesh is defeated, we find ourselves in a ruined country, a player in what has been described as a 5-sided war. Assad is backed by Russia, but opposed by the West; Turkey is ready to fight Kurds, Iran is backing Assad, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States will be unhappy that Daesh has been defeated and Iran's man has won. Al-Qaeda is present, along with several other militias. Militias are notoriously reluctant to stop fighting and return to peace.

    "Win the war and lose the peace" is a cliche, but it is also a common outcome.

    There was no endgame planning in Iraq, and Syria makes Iraq look ridiculously simple.
  6. Escalation all the way to WW3. The situation could quite possibly escalate into a regional war, comprising Shia vs Sunni, Iran vs Saudi Arabia, and quite possibly drawing Israel into the maelstrom. Having Russia and the USA on opposite sides of the same conflict in the same theatre is very dangerous. Nobody knows where this could take us, nor who will be the next President of the US. It is possible that Donald Trump could be in charge. In this seething cauldron of confusion, all it takes is for another error in the nuclear attack early warning systems, and it is possible that the situation could go nuclear.

    A global nuclear war is a low probability but high impact outcome. On its own, the WW3 possibility is enough to cause MPs to stop and think. Taken together, these six points should be enough to cause Parliament to vote No to Cameron's war.

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