All right – may have sold to Syria.
Back in September 2013, This Site published an article entitled Want to know who we’ll be asked to fight in a few years? Find out who’s buying our weapons now.
In it, I wrote: “If there’s one thing that all politicians believe, it seems, it is that history will teach us nothing.
“That’s the only explanation possible for Vince Cable selling the ingredients to make chemical weapons to Syria, 10 months into that country’s civil war.
“Does he not remember how the United States gave money, weapons and training to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war – then launched its own war against Iraq after that country got too big for its boots and invaded Kuwait? Does he not remember the 16 British firms that suppled weapons to that country?
“Now we have a Tory-led Coalition government that wanted to get into that morally-dodgy but lucrative weapons-selling action, it seems.
“So in January 2012, 10 months after violence erupted in Syria, Vince Cable licensed the exporting of potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to the Syrian government – both chemicals being ingredients of nerve gas.
“The chemicals were sold under licences that specified they should be used for making aluminium structures like window frames – but the government has refused to identify the licence holders. Dodgy!
“Sarin, the gas thought to have been used in an attack last month that killed nearly 1,500 people, can be made from such ingredients.
“This means that, in the same way as the United States with Iraq, it is entirely possible that the Coalition government wanted British troops to attack Syria in response to a situation that the Coalition government created!”
The last paragraph referred to Parliament’s decision not to take military action against Syria in 2013. It had been proposed in order to deter combatants from using chemical weapons.
Now, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has again called for military action – if there is fresh “incontrovertible” evidence that chemical weapons have been used against civilians.
On the BBC’s Today programme, he said: “It’s very important to recognise there’s no military solution that we in the West can now impose.
“But what I think we need to ask ourselves as a country – and I think what we in the West need to ask ourselves – is can we allow the use of chemical weapons, the use of these illegal weapons to go unreprieved, unchecked, unpunished? And I don’t think we can.
“If there is incontrovertible evidence of the use of chemical weapons, verified by the Office of the Prevention of Chemical Weapons – if we know that it’s happened and we can demonstrate it, and if there is a proposal for action where the UK could be useful, then I think we should seriously consider it.”
That is exactly the same argument as the Coalition government wheeled out in 2013.
This Writer has no problem with deterring the use of chemical weapons. But there is a delicate balance of power over the Syrian conflict, as we saw in 2016 when the US and Russia seemed about to go to war over the fighting there. Is it worth the possibility of hostilities spreading beyond the Syrian border?
And underlying everything is the fact that Vince Cable – as part of the Coalition government of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats – sold the ingredients of chemical weapons to Syria.
Maybe those ingredients were used to create window frames – but it seems unlikely in a country where many buildings, let alone windows, have been shattered by warfare.
I am also reminded of the so-called ‘cycle of hate’:It seems entirely likely that Vince Cable’s sale of chemical weapon ingredients to Syria corresponds with “Allied based manufacturers supply weapons to the extremists”.
Mr Johnson would then be reacting to “Extremists use allied supplied weapons to attack western targets”.
If he gets his way, that would be “Allies react to extremism by bombing Middle Eastern targets”.
The result: “Middle Eastern targets are destroyed and civilians die.”
Then: “The behaviour of the allies angers the people whose lives have been destroyed.”
Then: “Some of these angry people are radicalised by extremist groups.”
And what happens then? “Allied based manufacturers supply weapons to the extremists.”
So Mr Johnson is trying to perpetuate the cycle of hate.
Here’s a thought:
Maybe it’s a better idea not to get involved.