‘Syria: not too late for diplomacy’


Sir, – Your editorial is right that “the prolonged Syrian impasse is better tackled by renewed and more determined diplomatic and political efforts to resolve the war” than by “sporadic outrage” and the knee-jerk western military action it so often leads to (“Syria: not too late for diplomacy”, April 17th). I am thankful, then, for the presence of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the UK opposition.

He has said that the “British government needs to act as a restraining influence in this crisis, not a camp follower”; in other words, the UK should promote lawful non-violence instead of being a toady nation waiting for the nod from Donald Trump to back up US strikes.

Mr Corbyn has throughout his political career consistently erred on the side of peace, not least in Ireland.

In contrast, most other UK politicians, of all political stripes, have a long and tawdry history of competing in a macho race to order the deaths of anonymous, mostly faraway foreigners and, in doing so, put British armed forces in harm’s way.

Mr Corbyn’s demand that Britain should focuses on diplomacy and a negotiated settlement in Syria is inspirational and strong. It is also, in the context of British politics, remarkable – coming, as it does, from the leader of the Labour party and a potential future prime minister. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – A few weeks ago in an editorial (March 19th) you told us that “Ireland is justly proud of its military neutrality”. You did not say how you had discovered this. Later you found reassurance in the so-called triple lock, whereby any deployment of our forces overseas, however appropriate or deserving our Government and Dáil might consider it to be, cannot go ahead without UN approval.

In the House of Commons, Theresa May defended her decision to attack Syria without waiting for UN approval by saying that she did not wish to give Russia a veto over UK foreign policy.

Through the aforementioned triple lock we have given such a veto not only to Russia but also to China, the UK, the US and France. Hardly, I would suggest, a huge cause for national pride. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – As a citizen of a country which is considered to be part of the “West”, I am appalled at the utter hypocrisy of western leaders Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron, and Donald Trump in launching a missile attack on Syria. Their own countries have delivered much death and destruction throughout the world in living memory and are certainly no paragons of virtue. It is outrageous and utterly immoral that the US and Russia, together with their allies, should be using Syria for a proxy war.

The battered people of Syria do not deserve more disaster heaped upon them. Could not our Government be more active in international forums in endeavouring to bring an end to the hypocrisy of it all? – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – We are told that the missiles fired on Syria, by the US, Britain and France cost about $200 million.

Could this money have been better spent rescuing these unfortunate people who are suffering in Syria due to the conflict?

This would be a more humane approach, surely, and a better example to the world of how to really show concern for humanity. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.