Dear Mr Eustice
The Syrian Conflict
I am writing to you, as an ordinary British citizen, because of my very great concern regarding recent events in Syria, and in particular the Khan Sheikhoun explosion and responses to it.
1. American Response
The recent chemical explosion, which the American administration has designated a chemical attack by President Assad, has precipitated a sequence of events whose overt explanations lack credibility, and whose underlying motivations remain hidden from ordinary citizens such as myself. This sequence of events has the potential to lead to very frightening consequences.
The chemical explosion which took place at Khan Sheikhoun on or about 4th April 2017 was such as to demand immediate investigation by qualified independent experts. Mechanisms for this are in place, and full cooperation for such an exercise has been offered by both the Russian and the Syrian administrations. The US administration apparently made no attempt to set this in motion, or to await the results of an assessment before springing into action.
Experts are on record as saying that the US attack on the Syrian air base would have taken considerable planning – planning which had to have started some time before the alleged chemical attack.
The air attack by American Cruise missiles was clearly an act of war, illegal by all international standards, representing as it does a unilateral invasion of a sovereign state. Never the less, American commentators persist in referring to the Syrian conflict as a ‘civil war’.
The fact that the alleged chemical attack, militarily ineffective and reputationally destructive, took place on the eve of potentially game-changing peace talks at a time when the Syrian Government was in a winning position, makes it demonstrably improbable that an intelligent leader (which Assad clearly is) would carry out such a catastrophic venture.
President Trump’s decision to launch the counter-attack effectively in the presence of the Chinese leader seems to indicate a political agenda which has little regard for the welfare or security of either US citizens or indeed the desperately suffering Syrian people.
Subsequently the US administration has reaffirmed its commitment to regime-change in Syria, although the true reason for this ambition has not been explained; there must be a presumption that the US wish to exercise a dominating control over the region for their own ends. If that presumption is correct, it would indicate an arrogance, and a disregard for ordinary people, which would be at odds with the values embedded in the American constitution.
As to the likelihood that the American explanation of the chemical explosion is the correct one, this has been called into question by a number of impeccable sources. The independent consensus (by which I mean independent of the influence of the American administration) seems to be that the Russian explanation of the event is the more likely one.
I refer you to an interview with former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, who gave this interview to Sky News :
…and further, to this interview with American Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an army veteran who served in Iraq and has recently spent time in Syria:
There are several other sources of independent opinion, from independent journalists who are not associated with Western backed groups such as White Helmets, and from interviews conducted on the ground in Syria, who universally cast doubt on the White House narrative, or at the very least, the wisdom or legality of the American counterattack
2. British Response
Sir Michael Fallon was extremely quick to identify with the American position, without any substantial evidence for that position. If there had been significant evidence in support of that narrative, there would have been no reason to do other than make it public.
Mr Boris Johnson took the extraordinary step of pulling out of planned talks in Moscow, at a time when surely the most productive activity, no matter who caused the explosion in Khan Sheikhoun, would be dialogue. One is tempted to wonder what the British Government’s agenda is here.
Most of us have painful memories of previous occasions when we as a nation have chosen to back the Americans in their forays into other countries. The results have almost never produced positive outcomes, and have sometimes led to considerable loss of life, and life changing injuries, amongst our service personnel, without detectable benefit to this country. In some cases we are still coping with the aftermath several years later.
It would be as well to remember that Harold Wilson decided not to become involved in the disastrous Viet Nam debacle, with no negative effect on the much prized ‘special relationship’.
3. In Summary
President Trump’s impetuous and illegal attack on a sovereign country is in danger of setting off an escalation in Syria which could prove uncontrollable, all in the interests of regime-change. Were the dialogue for peace to continue, without a spurious hidden agenda, with a view to proceeding to free and fair elections in Syria (which Assad is already agreeable to) the people of Syria could take their own decision regarding the future of their country.
The interventions of the West in the affairs of the Middle East has almost always ended in tears, going right back to the imposition of the puppet Shah of Iran in place of a stable democratically elected Government, engineered by the CIA in 1953. The echoes of that interference are still reverberating today.
With memories of the Iraq invasion still fresh in our minds, I do not believe the British public would be sympathetic towards a Government once more offering unquestioning support to an aggressive White House. The consequences of such support would doubtless increase the risk of terrorist attacks in our Country.
I would ask you as my MP to question the Ministers involved, and ask for an unequivocal explanation for their stance: I am certain that I am not the only Briton with these concerns. At a time when we are struggling with the complications arising out of Brexit, further involvement in this American adventure would be a very negative step, with potentially very frightening consequences. Further, if our ‘special relationship’ means anything more than words, please urge our Government to act as a restraining influence on the US administration.
I look forward to a timely response from you, as events are moving at a frightening pace,