Tag Archives: Assad

Just to be awkward, Russia is bombing Syria

This is about the least-distressing image I could find to describe the situation in Syria.

This is about the least-distressing image I could find to describe the situation in Syria [Image: BBC].

Russia is bombing parts of Syria in raids that appear to have been planned, not to relieve the suffering of innocent people there, but to cause logistical and diplomatic problems for the USA and its allies.

According to the BBC, Russia has claimed it is targeting Islamic State, but a US official has said none of the targets appear to be in IS-held territory. War planes have attacked what appears to be territory held by rebels against Syrian President Assad in the Homs and Hama provinces.

This has created serious complications in what are already seriously-complicated hostilities.

Russia gave the US an hour’s notice that it would be launching air strikes, along with a demand that America and its allies, in effect, get out of the way – but we don’t know who the targets are.

America is, in its usual bullish manner, saying it won’t halt any of the operations it has already planned with its own allies.

This makes it possible that US and Russian forces will end up shooting each other – even if they say they don’t mean to. Americans have an extremely poor record in this regards – as their British allies in the Second Gulf War learned to their cost.

In the midst of all this, the UK’s damned-fool Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has asserted that this country will continue bombing IS, in Syria, for “as long as it takes” – even though the Conservative Government has no Parliamentary mandate to do anything of the kind.

MPs rejected military action in Syria, almost exactly two years ago. They have since approved strikes against IS in Iraq, but the ban on raids in Syria is technically still in force. Our personnel should not be there.

In the light of the new development, there is even more reason for the UK to pull out of Syria – but of course our Defence Secretary is a damned fool.

This is a situation that could escalate into a shooting war between America and Russia, if damned fools like him are allowed to continue running around like bulls in front of red rags. That should be the last thing anybody wants – but do you see anybody trying to stop it?

And what about the innocent parties in all this – the Syrian citizens who just want to be left in peace? Nobody seems to care about them, even though the addition of Russia into this apocalyptic mess means even more refugees streaming into Europe.

If anybody has any ideas about how to restore sanity, could they please make those ideas known – before we’re all blown to smithereens?

It all makes the fuss over Jeremy Corbyn saying he would not launch a nuclear missile look a bit silly, doesn’t it?

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RIP Hugo Chavez – when can the UK have a Prime Minister like you?

Which would you rather have - Chavez or Cameron?

Which would you rather have – Chavez or Cameron?

Isn’t it amazing, the amount of joy the right-wing press and its adherents can project over the death of a man who improved conditions in his country beyond all expectations?

That is what we are seeing after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But we should not be surprised – after all, these are the same newspapers (and their bosses) who support the nation-wrecking policies of David Cameron and the Coalition – an unelected dictator and a cadre of manipulators whose only linked interest is their own enrichment at the expense of anybody else.

Chavez was not perfect. There are some aspects of his personality that would give any reasonable person cause for second thoughts. His support for foreign dictators is one. Any man who can draw tributes from Ahmadinijad and Assad is questionable. The rise of violent crime in his country is another – and extremely worrying. Violent crime is linked with poverty, and yet…

And yet any criticism of his presidency on economic grounds is absurd. His nation’s wealth tripled during the first 12 years he was in office. Tripled!

As for his association with unelected dictators – this seems beyond strange as he was not one himself. In fact, his share of the popular vote at his last election was enough to turn every British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill pale with envy.

That last election was won under one of the fairest and most robust voting systems in the world – that was implemented by his own party. Former US President Jimmy Carter thinks its system is superior to that of the US. Turnout was more than 80 per cent, with 55.1 per cent of voters casting for Chavez. It’s notable that the 44.3 per cent of votes cast for rival Henrique Capriles would shame every single UK Prime Minister since Harold Wilson in 1966.

In other words, Venezuela’s former president was elected by one of the most democratically-sound systems in the world, and gained more support from his people than any British PM since Churchill.

Not a despot, then.

He has cut extreme poverty by two-thirds, and general poverty by almost half.

He has cut infant mortality and improved equality; and he has cut unemployment by almost half, to 8.2 per cent (strikingly close to the UK level).

He has improved his nations infrastructure and public services.

And he has proved that left-wing policies can improve prosperity and increase economic growth.

That’s why the right-wing press hate him. He shows there is a better alternative to the nightmare we are living through.

So let’s look at David Cameron, shall we?

Only 23.47 per cent of eligible voters supported David Cameron in the UK general election of 2010 (compared with 44.32 per cent for Chavez in January this year).

That election was marred by the fact that many voters were prevented from casting their vote at polling stations that closed at exactly 10pm. This was incorrect – all voters who had arrived and were queueing by 10pm should have been admitted to the building and allowed to cast their vote. So the UK election of 2010 was carried out in an improper way.

The result was a hung Parliament, with no single political party gaining power. The Con/Dem Coalition was formed in a backroom deal between Cameron and Nick Clegg, and had nothing to do with the will of the electorate. Therefore Cameron can be said to be unelected. Less than a quarter of the eligible voters wanted him and he did not win enough Parliamentary seats to justify taking office.

Then we come to dictatorship. How many unwanted policies have we had since this rabble slithered into government, determined to restrict our freedoms just as much as possible?

Policies like, for example, the cuts to Legal Aid?

Secret courts?

The Internet snooping Bill?

The plan to gerrymander the number of Parliamentary seats and the boundaries of constituencies, in order to deliver an unfair advantage to the Conservative Party in the next election (which, thankfully, failed)?

How many policies have been imposed on us with the intention of impoverishing the poorest in society?

The Welfare Reform Act?

The Localism Act, with its reintroduction of the hated Poll Tax (that’s the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, for those of you in England who have to deal with it)?

The Bedroom Tax?

AUSTERITY?

And then there’s the Health and Social Care Act, an attempt to ‘fix’ the National Health Service when it wasn’t broken, in order to let private operators get their hands on the huge cash opportunities it offers. Has anyone noticed that the nation’s health has worsened, according to many indicators, since the ConDems took over?

And there has been no mention yet of all the policies to put money in the pockets of the very rich, donors to the Conservative Party, bankers, people who park their money in offshore tax havens (thereby keeping it away from the taxman) and the many other corrupt ways this government’s members have been filling their own pockets with cash (and those of their friends and donors) when they should have been looking after the national interest.

Yet the right-wing press supports Mr Cameron and his cronies, despite the fact that they have been a worse disaster for the UK than the financial crisis that preceded their arrival.

Can we ever hope to have a champion like Chavez in this country?

Or is the British system now so badly corroded that it can only ever attract the worst that society has to offer?