When Syria comes to Britain

A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft above northern England.

A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft above northern England.

YOU WOULD find it hard to believe that just under five years ago, Syria was a relatively peaceful country and, historically, the cradle of civilisation as part of Mesopotamia. Now Syria is one of the most violent and unsafe countries on the planet. Due to the scale of its Civil War (that began in 2011, and is showing no sign of concluding soon), it is difficult to even call Syria a country nowadays. The country is now highly fragmented, like a violent jigsaw that no other country or organisation seems capable of putting back together. Almost like a prime-time soap opera, this conflict has been filled to the brim with twists and controversy, with it becoming less and less clear where loyalties lie in regard to the war. The actors in this troubling performance are all squabbling for control of the main stage: Syria. There is no lead star however, rather Syria’s Civil War is being carried out by an ‘ensemble’: various armed factions all competing for supremacy, with alliances changing on a relatively frequent basis.

Fast forward to 2015, and Syria’s conflict has changed dramatically. 2014 spelled the rise of the Islamic State group (or ISIS), who’s conquests and ensuing atrocities in Syria and Iraq have made world headlines. Unfortunately due to its rapid gains in the country, ISIS has become the most credible opponent to Assad’s regime. To make matters worse, large numbers of supposedly ‘moderate’ rebels that we funded and provided intelligence to, have now joined to ISIS due to its advances. With ISIS now demonstrating a capability to launch attacks in Europe (evident by the recent Paris attacks), David Cameron looks set to heighten Britain’s involvement.

However, I question his decision to do so. Cameron seems eager to satisfy an appetite among many in the world for ISIS’ destruction. Although ISIS is a genocidal regime (so genocidal they could even be considered contemporary Nazis) and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to its activities, relentlessly bombing Syria will only fuel their fire. Syrian children will grow up to the sight and sounds of British planes soaring overhead and obliterating everything below with a greater explosive force than an ISIS suicide bomber could ever dream of. These children will grow up to be even more dedicated to ISIS’ cause than the jihadists of today. We’re not destroying ISIS, in fact we’re sustaining it.  Our involvement in Middle Eastern affairs has contributed to a climate of fear in 21st century Britain that has not only allowed radical Islam to grow but also right-wing xenophobia. Our involvements in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria has led us to being one of the most targeted countries in the world for Islamic terrorism. ISIS seems determined to bring Syria’s Civil War to Britain and indeed the West.

 Unfortunately, neither war nor peace with ISIS is a viable option. Being at war with ISIS will only put the British public at risk of future attacks (both at home and abroad) and push more British Muslims towards radicalisation. However, under no circumstances must we hold a truce with ISIS. Their regime cannot be allowed to sustain as they continue to commit crimes so gruesomely violent that they belong in a Tarantino movie. Every day that ISIS survives, the more entrenched they become. Although the media might not want to admit it, ISIS is functioning as a state in the territories it controls, providing services to its ‘citizens’. Whilst it provides services to some, ISIS maintains a daily operation that seeks to dehumanise and ultimately destroy non-Muslims, women, homosexuals and anyone else who opposes their ideology. As Britain remains on high alert, let’s hope that ISIS’ agents are less 7/7 and more Four Lions when it comes to their efficiency.