Monthly Archives: December 2015

Questions from Jamaica about Britain’s role in Syria

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Noting that a few MPs have voiced concerns on British involvement ‘much to the anger of their hawkish colleagues’, wingswithme continues:

Many of us have been here before – 12 years ago – with the Iraq War. We have grown fatigued at the constant use of British forces in the Middle East while political leaders in that volatile region sit on their hands, spend billions on arms, yet do nothing of substance in both Iraq and Syria.

French President Francois Hollande is trying to shore up a grand united force to attack IS strongholds in Syria. But is Hollande riding on an emotional crusade that clouds proper judgement? [similar to George Bush’s ill fated post 9/11 Middle East strategy].

The fighting in Syria and Iraq is currently a cocktail of confusion. Is my ally in the north an enemy of my ally in the east? Should the few British jets and personnel be asked to be a part of this chaos?

  • You have the Kurds fighting IS,
  • Turkey is no friend of the Kurds. Strong claims that Turkey are purchasing oil from IS at favourable rates.
  • Free Syrian army and IS are fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Yet IS and Free Syrian army are on opposing sides.
  • Iran is also fighting IS but Free Syrian army want nothing to do with Iran.
  • Did Turkey and the West sit complacently, hoping the IS march towards Damascus would have toppled Assad?
  • Arab League want Assad out
  • US led coalition are bombing IS areas
  • Then the Russians have arrived to shore up Assad’s defence and are bombing a multitude of anti-Assad militias including Free Syrian army, al-Nusra Front and IS.

With Russia now on Syrian soil, can NATO and their regional allies (& enemies) remove Assad? (Ed: ruled out, see today http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-nato-idUSKBN0TQ0HU20151207)

Many of the MPs who are pro airstrikes will use background intelligence reports/briefings from the government to defend their decision. But who needs intelligence reports & briefing to know that what is going on in Syria is totally barbaric?

When will the Arab League of nations finally lead, co-ordinate and resolve their own regional problems in a solely political and secular manner? Why hasn’t the West forced these Arab leaders to commit far more of their own troops and air power?

When large parts of Yemen were recently over run by the Houthis, Saudi Arabia did not wait for any UN resolution or NATO guidance to launch airstrikes. Quickly the Saudis managed to get Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan to join their coalition against the Houthis.

The upheavals in Syria have led to major refugee management challenges for European governments. What is it about the current EU leadership that seems weak in pushing Arab leaders to shoulder more of the weight of refugee management that has impacted on Europe?

Is it the billions of dollar gained through arm sales to these Arabs nations? [Arms industry will be delighted at the constant purchase of their military arsenal] Is it because some of these Arabs nations have invested billions across EU?

Ironic that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has offered up to $200 million to build 200 mosques in Germany for the benefit of the refugees. Yet no EU government leader has publicly suggested to King Salman to sling his hook and build the 200 mosques in his own Kingdom and take in a large number of those Muslim refugees.

It is such below average leadership across NATO/EU that force citizens in their nations –  who are normally refugee friendly –  to shift politically to the right, giving such political parties carte blanche to amplify their stench of hatred.

It is 12 years since Tony Blair’s disastrous Labour government joined the Iraq War and 5 years since the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry started. It is for such critical moments as Wednesday’s debate/vote that Chilcot’s report should have been completed years ago, so that the decision making errors of the Labour government’s Iraq War of 2003 are not repeated under David Cameron’s leadership in the same region.

Read the article here: https://wingswithme.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/as-britain-considers-air-strikes-in-syria/

Scottish government invests in less polluting shipping – built in Scotland. Will it go one step further?

In September 2014, Ferguson Shipbuilders, then in administration, was bought by Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers Capital. The business, renamed Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, rehired some of the 70 employees who had been made redundant.

The shipyard then secured a new £12 million contract with Scottish state-controlled ferry company Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) to build a new diesel-electric hybrid ferry for operator CalMac. The Ferguson yard had previously built two other hybrid ferries for CalMac – the MV Hallaig (below) and MV Lochinvar.

calmac hybrid ferry

In October this year, a £97 million contract for Ferguson Marine Engineering of Port Glasgow to build two 100-metre long ferries for the government’s Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) was signed.

Mr McColl says the hybrid ferries have been criticised for their far higher cost, but there is increasing demand for less polluting shipping as the European Union tightens curbs on sulphur emissions. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added, “This new vessel will be fuel efficient and have lower maintenance costs, whilst ensuring a quality service for passengers . . . Scotland remains at the forefront of ferry design and innovation.”

Mr McColl is hopeful of winning a CMAL tender for two ferries to be decided in the next few months, but for a company only recently out of administration, collateralising the bond required for a new vessel is “quite penal” he says: “I have mentioned it to both the Scottish government and the UK government and everybody’s very willing and keen to make sure that something’s put in place but meanwhile life is going on:

“If you’re focused on building up your engineering and your manufacturing sector . . .  you have to put in place the kind of support that the Germans and the Poles and the Turks have got for their industrial base.”