Ed Miliband’s Cynical Tactics Encourage the Syrian Regime to Kill More Syrians

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The US has evidence that the chemical nerve agent Sarin was used in a deadly attack in Damascus last month, Secretary of State John Kerry says.

The US blames the Syrian government for the 21 August attack. President Barack Obama has vowed punitive action but wants Congress to vote on it first.

Meeting in Cairo on Sunday Arab League foreign ministers called on the United Nations and the international community to take “deterrent” action against Syria. As things stand now the USA, France and the Arab League supports some kind of military action against the Assad regime.

The United Kingdom, thanks to Ed Miliband, the Labour Party Leader, will remain on the side-lines as an impotent spectator. The Daily Telegraph Monday 2nd September told its readers “Ed Miliband is facing mounting criticism from within his own party for his handling of the vote on Syria, amid fears that Labour’s approach has damaged Britain’s standing on the world stage.” Ed Miliband does not realize that his cynical tactics are a victory for Iran and Hezbollah who are assisting Bashar al Assad’s regime in killing innocent civilians.

Ed Miliband has had a unique opportunity to be a statesman, but he flunked it to play party politics. He is more diminished by the shameful vote Thursday night than David Cameron the Prime Minister. My admiration and respect for Cameron has increased ten fold since his announcement that Britain was ready to stand side by side with the Americans on the issue of punishing Assad. I no longer take anything Ed Miliband says seriously.

David Cameron’s pledge to support President Obama was wrecked by Ed Miliband for narrow political advantage that has enhanced Cameron’s reputation in the eyes of the Syrian people and the world. No doubt Cameron’s credibility was damaged to a certain extent but Miliband’s standing in the country has suffered a major blow. “You just cannot trust Labour, when it comes to major strategic issues such as Gibraltar, the Falklands and now Syria” an ex-British diplomat told me.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has said he is “ashamed” of Parliament’s decision not to back Prime Minister David Cameron on military action in Syria.

Ashdown also said “that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin would be joining MPs in cheering the result, which saw the motion for force rejected by 285 votes to 272.”

“Call me an old warhorse if you wish but I think our country is greatly diminished this morning,” Mr Ashdown said. “The special relationship with the US is seriously damaged, and Britain is now more isolated.”

An article in the Economist Friday 30th August described the House of Commons vote on Thursday night as shaming and shocking.

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State told the world on Friday that the indiscriminate chemical attack led to the death of 1429 Syrians including 426 children. This mattered not to Ed Miliband who stupidly has given succour and support to Bashar al Assad’s criminal regime. In other words in Miliband’s book, inaction is a good option, and silence is OK. What would have happened if America and Britain had not intervened during the Hitler’s atrocities in Europe in the early 1940s? Can Miliband answer the question?

It is not clear whether Congress will give the go ahead to Obama to strike at Syrian targets when it convenes on the 9th September. But we all know this; Bashar al Assad and his allies are delighted with the defeat of David Cameron in the House of Common’s vote Thursday 29th August. The Syrian regime is also pleased with Obama’s dithering reluctant warrior’s stance on the issue.

Forget Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and Arm the FSA

I suggest that we forget about the Tomahawk cruise missiles as they will be ineffective and will not topple the regime. To start with the Syrian opposition warned recently that the Syrian government plans on using civilians as human shields in the face of the expected US strikes.

Different opposition sources confirmed that the Syrian regime has evacuated military and security sites that are expected targets of any Western military strike on Syria, relocating military equipment and personnel to populated areas. What is the point of hitting a Ministry of Defence building that has no hardware and no personnel? What is the point of targeting an empty presidential palace or a strategic command centre that has been evacuated?

It would be better to deliver arms and equipment to the secular Free Syrian Army which must include anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. This action would be less costly and would enable the Syrians themselves to do the job of punishing and toppling al Assad’s regime.

Nehad Ismail is a writer and broadcaster, who writes about issues related to the Middle East from his home in London.