This morning’s Times reports (£) of the arrest of a former US serviceman, Eric Harroun, suspected of assisting Jabat al-Nusra, a jihadist insurgent group in Syria. He has been charged with conspiring to use destructive devices outside the United States. That the alleged offences were made against the Assad regime is immaterial.
The West looks at Syria through very dark glass. Basic cultural preconceptions about conflict demand a struggle of Good versus Bad. War is rarely so simple; but Syria is even more complicated: various shades of bad fight each other and whatever good may exist.
If you haven’t read Mary Wakefield’s piece about the murder of Christians by some anti-Assad groups, then I urge to do so – particularly as it is Holy Week. International Christian Concern has catalogued the atrocities committed against Christians so far, which will provide more context to this often unreported dimension of Syria’s suffering.
I drove out of London last night and, while listening to the radio for a couple of hours, heard a total of five appeals to help Syrian and Lebanese refugees of all creeds and none. These appeals, coupled with the images of news reports such as those generated during Samantha Cameron’s recent visit to refugee camps, rekindle what remains of the liberal interventionist cause; but the fire refuses to spread because of the blanket of uncertainty about the various rebels’ intentions, to say nothing of the interests of regional and global players.
Con Home’s monthly survey asks the question ‘Syria: No fly zone? Humanitarian aid only? Just keep out? What should the Government do?’ I can’t answer any of those questions. Can you?
More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.