The Disgraceful Face of Political Expediency Between the UK & Syria

Much has been said and reported on the ‘deals in the desert’ that were done by the previous Government to bring the unhinged Gaddafi back into the ‘mainstream of the international community.’ The deal was that Gaddafi and Libya would have trade sanctions lifted and a rehabilitation of their ‘image’ in the UK and Europe. The benefit for Blair was that he would be seen as someone who could deliver ‘a safer world’ after the disaster of Iraq and the illegal invasion of Iraq for which he was the chief cheerleader. This whole debacle saw our then Prime Minister shake the hand of an unhinged dictator who had no problem using torture against his people. All for the sake of cameras and political kudos – sick really!

Yet, what nobody has picked up was that the previous Government was also warming up and developing links to the Syrian regime of Assad. These took place through two departments, namely the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government and they took place through Prevent (Preventing Violent Extremism) conferences in Damascus and through meetings in Syria. Believe it or not, Assad’s government was touting Syria in 2008 – 2010 as a beacon for countering extremism – within that read torturing and killing individuals who stood against the Government whether religiously or politically inclined. Yet officers from the UK were directed to attend these conferences and they were co-ordinated through a grade 6 civil servant at the time in the FCO. Through that individual, UK civil servants spent time in Damascus ‘learning how to counter extremism’. Furthermore, visas were approved through the UK office of the Syrian Embassy and under the Ambassadorship of Sami Khiyami, the now embattled mouthpice of the disgraceful Assad regime. (Nonetheless as a person Sami Khiyami seemed decent enough, save for the cloack of the regime and its murderous track record.)Nobody seems to have picked this up and it is very much an unsaid story. Yet, seeing what Assad has done to his people, there is a time for the truth to out and for these ‘links’ never again to be developed with such regimes. But as a realist, I know that little will change for the sake of political expediency. I just hope we learn that bringing in muderers from the cold does nothing for our morality in the long term. It just means that we are steeped in the lies and untruths that eminate from such links.

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