Syria – war and diplo macy


Sir, – Joe McCarthy is “thankful” for Jeremy Corbyn (April 17th) because he opposed the recent US, UK and French limited bombing of Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

However, while Mr Corbyn commendably calls for a political solution in Syria, he has never formally protested Russian or Syrian regime bombing of civilians or called for any action against them, or more specifically the implementation of policies to protect civilians.

Peter Tatchell, a long-time friend of Jeremy Corbyn and probably one of the best known left-wing campaigners in Britain, has been severely critical of him for that approach and the left more generally, as we show in our film Syria – The Impossible Revoilution. Worse still, as Mr Tatchell points out, the far left is on the same page as the extreme right in supporting the Assad regime and Russia’s military intervention.

Your editorial “Syria: not too late for diplomacy” (April 17th) notes selective condemnation is not helpful, and is one of the reasons the greatest man-made human catastrophes of the 21st century still continues with no sign of ending. Indeed, ignorance of the nature of the Assad regime’s war strategy is especially telling, with many asking why would he launch a chemical attack when he appeared to be winning. The answer is compellingly simple, as Chatham House researchers recently pointed out in an expert comment, noting the Syrian regime “has learned that chemical attacks are a tactic that work”. The aim of the regime is to send a message to everyone in opposition areas that if you do not submit to Assad you will be starved under siege and ultimately bombed into submission, and if you survive you will be forcibly displaced.

This happened in Aleppo and many others areas, and just now in Eastern Ghouta.

And just as in Aleppo when the Assad regime met especially stiff resistance, it used chemical attacks as an especially effective and terrifying weapon against the civilian population, compelling them to want to leave.

Diplomacy will work but only when enough pressure is brought to bear on Russia and Iran to compel Assad to stop slaughtering civilians as a means of eliminating all opposition and agree to a democratic political transition. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.