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My enemy’s enemy: Philip Hammond on Isis and Assad

20 August 2014

9:15 AM

20 August 2014

9:15 AM

Philip Hammond made quite clear on the Today programme that this government is ‘utterly opposed’ to everything that Isis stands for: it’s difficult to say anything else when militants who clearly luxuriate in evil have beheaded a journalist who was covering their monstrous deeds. The Foreign Secretary was asked whether this country was prepared to ‘wage war’ on Isis. He dodged saying that the West was waging war, but explained that as Isis was doing this, we have to deal with them on that basis. Here’s his full quote:

‘Oh look, it’s far too late for that debate: we are very clear that we are utterly opposed to the evil ideology of this organisation and the barbaric, cruelty that they have displayed. We are opposed to them with every breath in our body and will continue to oppose them, so any kind of threat that they make that if they oppose them, they’ll come after us, frankly we’re long past that point. They are waging war on moderate Islamic opinion, they are waging war against the West and we have to deal with them on that basis.’

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But then dealing with Isis ‘on that basis’ turns out to be rather less of a clear cut thing, not just in terms of what Britain and other western countries are prepared to do, but also in terms of those who are also ‘dealing with Isis’. As John Humphrys pointed out, this includes the Assad regime: from one year to another we have flipped from mulling assisting those who are fighting Assad to fighting the most dangerous elements of those Syrian rebels. So does that mean that our enemy’s enemy, Bashar al-Assad, is now our friend?

‘I don’t think we’ll be having any liaison with President Assad, but it is perfectly possible that we will find that we are fighting organisations which are also fighting against the Syrian regime, also fighting against the Iranians, for example.’

Hammond added:

‘I don’t envisage us having any kind of relationship with the Assad regime, but that is not to say we may not find ourselves fighting common enemies.’

But the point is that the West is fighting Isis, and whether or not the boots that are going in are aid boots or advisory boots or combat boots (Hammond has been making that distinction elsewhere this morning), Isis sees this as a war.
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Show comments
  • excel

    My comment was deleted from here yesterday for saying that there would be a deal with Assad, irrespective of anything said by Philip Hammond. Today this is front page news!

  • Allen Booth

    Why is the BBC advertising for the terrorists by showing footage of them campaigning for more jihadists to join them, why did they show the journalist just before he was butchered, what is their agenda. I remember the bad old days of the mods and rockers, the BBC would say on the Friday night news that the mods and rockers would be at Brighton for a punch-up, and sure as eggs, come the weekend, there they were having a punch-up, same old BBC, helping the troubles along to ensure a good story regardless of the hurt it causes

  • Conway

    Philip Hammond made quite clear on the Today programme that this
    government is ‘utterly opposed’ to everything that Isis stands for
    ” That would be islam, then. Can’t see Dhimmi Dave doing that.

  • Brigantian

    There are a lot of bellicose utterances on this issue and very little common sense being talked. The Trots are at large again, reinventing history to justify the demonisation and parasitisation of western democracies. We are told Iraq and Syria are the inventions of Western Colonial powers. On the other side the problem is identified as Islam. When Tidal King of Nations subdued all of Mesopotamia and invaded what is now Israel, Abraham was still alive. Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, Cyrus, Alexander and a whole host of Romans and Persians all followed before Muhammad was even born. Syria is one of the oldest countries in the World: Iraq has been at times divided in two, four or more states, often as border provinces of larger empires, but for a lot of the time it has also been a single unified state.
    Before Columbus discovered America and while Western Europe was beyond the civilised World, a place occasionally raided to provide slaves, there was war in Syria and Iraq. Whatever people may call themselves, we enter dangerous territory if we blame either Islam or Western Colonialism for what is happening now.

  • Augustus

    This isn’t the first time in Western history that our Christian West has had to fight Muslim expansionism. There was the Battle of Tours in 732, also called the Battle of Poitiers, in which the Frankish ruler, Charles Martel (grandfather of Charlemagne) saved Christianity and Western civilization. The historian Edward Gibbon said ‘that had Charles fallen, the Umayyad Caliphate would have easily conquered a divided Europe’: “A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity
    and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”

  • http://english-pensioner.blogspot.co.uk/ english_pensioner

    The Muslims are very much like the traditional secret society. Even if they disapprove of what one of their members have done, they would never speak about it to an outsider. Hence the total lack of disapproval from the so-called moderate Muslims, and not a word from Warsii or any of the Muslim MPs.

    • Tom M

      Quite so english_pensioner. Apparently we are at war with these terrorists but we tolerate them and their vile ideology on the streets of the UK.
      When WW2 was declared all belligerent’s nationals were interviewed and those considered security risks were interned.
      What is it that is preventing this or something similar on the streets of the UK at the moment?
      I would suggest that someone openly flying the enemy’s flag in London would be a good place to start.

    • Conway

      How can they disapprove when these people are carrying out the injunctions of their holy book?

      • http://english-pensioner.blogspot.co.uk/ english_pensioner

        It is their particular interpretation of something written over a thousand years ago in a language where the meanings of many words will have changed in the intervening period.
        Many words in the King James Bible don’t mean the same now as when it was first published, there is no reason to believe the Koran is any different.

  • Augustus

    While this deed is, of course, particularly tragic for Foley’s family, and the other American which IS have captured, there aren’t that may Western heads which Allah’s foot soldiers can lay there hands on in the caliphate. But in Britain and Europe there are thousands, or even possibly tens of thousands of Muslims who welcome Foley’s murder, not to mention the returning jihadis. Isn’t it time for napalm, phosphorus, Daisy Cutters, bunker busters, Patriots, Tomahawks, and everything that’s available, to exterminate this plague and wipe out this fundamentalist Islamic cancerous growth? Or must we wait until Hammond & Co. decide on a formal approach to this ‘organization’, and the consistently ignored elephant in the room – Islam?

  • http://i-squared.blogspot.co.uk/ Katabasis

    “Moderate jihadists”.

    • TheUntalentedRiply

      Sounds like a Channel 4 prog.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Did Hammond just call Islam an “evil ideology”? Or is it just that wanting an Islamic State is an “evil ideology”? In which case, he’s just condemned a number of existing nations. And what’s all this “moderate Islamic opinion”, anyway? There’s that one chap from the Quilliam Foundation, but we haven’t heard much else evidence of it.

  • anyfool

    They are waging war on moderate Islamic opinion.
    What Islamic moderate opinion, there is none, the ethos of Islam is world domination for their ideology.
    Hammond also states that British citizens carried out this act, they are not British, they never have been, nor will they ever be.

    • artemis in france

      Quite. And Ali, the cricketer, should never have been allowed to take to the field with that beard. It is a symbol of hatred and terrorism and has no place on a member of the English cricket team. Until people in Britain wake up to the insidious practices of Islamic fundamentalism and their sneaky ways of gradually making inacceptable behaviour acceptable to a once-civilised Western nation, Britain is doomed.

    • TheUntalentedRiply

      Of course there is moderate Islamic opinion; all the muslims I know (who are well educated and fully adopt British values, it must be said) hold very moderate views.

      I heartily encourage those muslims who do not embrace and hold British values and a moderate outlook to kindly clear off. What is it that people leave the third world only to want to move to a first world nation and drag it backwards by 1,500 years?

  • Hexhamgeezer
  • Hiramspendulum

    Philip Hammond made quite clear on the Today programme that this
    government is ‘utterly opposed’ to everything that Isis stands for

    Is it me, or are journalists and politicians (inc. Cameron and Obama) incapable of recognising that ISIS or ISIL changed their name at the start of Ramadhan to reflect the declaration of a caliphate? It’s uncanny. And I keep hearing ‘Islamic State’ with no definite article.

    it’s difficult to say anything else when militants who clearly luxuriate in evil have beheaded a journalist who was covering their monstrous deeds.

    No, not militantS plural. A British man from London of Bangladeshi or Pakistani extraction, probably left-handed and of average height, decapitated the journalist. A Briton who will be free to return to the UK. That he is a notional Briton of sub-continental extraction beheading a white Irish-American is part of the message, see.

    ‘Oh look, it’s far too late for that debate: we are very clear that we
    are utterly opposed to the evil ideology of this organisation and the
    barbaric, cruelty that they have displayed. We are opposed to them with
    every breath in our body and will continue to oppose them, so any kind
    of threat that they make that if they oppose them, they’ll come after
    us, frankly we’re long past that point. They are waging war on moderate
    Islamic opinion
    , they are waging war against the West and we have to
    deal with them on that basis.’

    Who thinks that Hammond would be prepared to name this anonymous ‘evil ideology’ in public? He can’t mean ‘moderate Islamic opinion’ as the Islamic State are obviously ‘waging war’ on it…

  • Shazza

    Isabel – stop being so coy by referring to them as ‘militants’.

    They are islamic terrorists/savages/barbarians.

  • jesseventura2

    And the muslim vermin who want to return from jihad to welfare benefits heaven?

  • Colonel Mustard

    More c r a p from the “Conservative” party in the form of May’s barmy “Domestic Abuse” law. New (Blu) Labour alive and well and Cameron Tories in full Harriet Harmon mode doing the marxists work for them.

    • John Clegg

      Yes agreed, I’m sure the Christians who are being brutalised, raped and beheaded feel much better because we now have “Family Friendly” policies and “Domestic Abuse Laws”.

      • GUBU

        Perhaps Mullah Al Baghdadi could attempt to stave off Western intervention by endorsing the introduction of equal marriage legislation in the newly formed Islamic State?

        • Barakzai

          I’m astonished this has been up for two hours without Hookes Law’s Pavlonian frothing about nutjob homophobia. Where can he be?

        • TheUntalentedRiply

          And perhaps he should set up a sperm bank for Lesbians looking to get pregnant?

    • MirthaTidville

      even the party rank and file (whats left of them) cannot stand May

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    All of the secular dictators, Mubarak, Qaddafi, Assad and even Saddam turn out to have been major contributors to a kind of stability. To suppression of longstanding tribal and sectarian disputes. We had to go and shake the can and now we are surprised when we pop the lid? And now some people have the sheer arrogance and audacity to say they think they know what’s going on. They don’t. I don’t. You don’t. Nor how to fix it.

    • Makroon

      Quite so.
      The FO “experts” are mostly just quaint, the “security industry” are mostly weird, with a painfully obvious agenda.

      • MirthaTidville

        The FO and its ridiculous `Mandarins` have always had a Pro Arab policy..Now that is not as simple as it used to be, they are completely lost….much like Hammond when taken away from number crunching

    • rtj1211

      It was the same in Yugoslavia with Tito. When he went, the sectarian hatreds re-emerged and we had the genocides of the 1990s.

      Western idealists need to consider what the lesser of two evils is when they go on about ‘evil dictators’ who are often, in the highly imperfect contexts of their countries, moderating and stabilising influences.

      • Donafugata

        Exactly, some places need a dictator with big boots.
        Consequences of the past have left certain parts of the world with a volatile ethnic, religious and cultural mix that have long memories and shoulders loaded with chips and ancient grudges.

        The Sadaams, Gadhaffis et al. knew how to keep control.
        Alas, the Lone Ranger and Tonto started a trend supposedly to bring democracy, peace and harmony to the lovely little downtrodden folks which has been the disaster many of us predicted.
        Now they are surprised and use moronic terms like “our enemy’s enemy”.

        • TheUntalentedRiply

          Unfortunately, not only did Tonto follow the LR everywhere but he started to cut the defence budget, a process continued by his fellow sub-standard side-kicks. The rhetoric and self-aggrandizement has increased in direct proportion to the decrease in defence spending. Traitors.

    • The Masked Marvel

      Sadaam would be dead by now, and his lunatic, murderous offspring would be running the place. No stability would have been forthcoming. Qaddafi’s eventual death would have opened up a similar vacuum.Syria itself would remain stable, but it would continue to destabilize the surrounding region.

      All of this would be happening in one form or another eventually. It’s what they do.

    • goatmince

      Dear Rhoda,

      has it never occured to you at the time that our imperialist outlook never changed? Has it never occured to you that there was some form of deliberate will behind any of the actions taken at the time? Has it never occured to you that of course there are long-term solutions from our perspective to all of these events you cared to refer to? Change the outlook and everything will change. Those who wish to continue to control events/nations/regions/economies they ought not control according to their own ethical catalogue of values will find themselves on the losing side in the end. That is how it always ends.

    • Mynydd

      Don’t forget Saddam’s kind of stability involved invading Kuwait, and Mrs Thatcher took us into war over it.

    • Dr. Heath

      Until the commencement of the Arab Spring, I had, wrongly, thought the same about Mubarak and Qadafi: that they contributed to a sort of permanent stability within the borders of their feudalist kingdoms. The belief that the inhabitants of Libya or Iraq or Egypt could be kept subservient to the will of dictators indefinitely and that only intervention by the West could liberate them was insanely stupid and arrogant.

      The lid was bound to pop, with or without outside interference. People everywhere eventually tire of being murdered and impoverished by their leaders. But the most horrendous mistake committed by “the West” was in, obviously, failing to understand what constitutes a nation, in failing to understand that, like Czechs and Slovaks, French-speaking Belgians and Flemish Belgians, Quebecois and English-speaking Canadians, people are generally not content to live peacefully with their neighbours, however similar those neighbours are. Borders – real ones, that is – are the invisible software behind the apartheid that leads to peace over most of the inhabited surface of the planet.

      There are many things that “the West” can do. If it was confident enough in the years after the first world war to squeeze together into one nation people noted only for the fact of their mutual, psychotic loathing, then it surely can summon up the gumption to undo, say, the mess it created by marrying Shi’as to Sunnis and, then, Arabic-speaking Muslims to Kurdish Muslims in Iraq. It’s not dictators that people need but, sadly, ditches, walls, barbed wire, border posts and armed guards and the certainty that they are not forced to share their patch with the two-headed, devil-worshipping perverts much of the human population sees when it scrutinises the dreaded and hated “Other”.

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