The National Health Service in the UK has many staff who are not native Britons. Doctors in particular come from a wide range of countries, including those in the Middle East, Syria and Iraq. The NHS relies on these foreign workers. Without them currently it would not be able to function.
Today there have been reports that a terror suspect has been arrested as he entered the UK via Heathrow Airport, London. There are claims that he is, or was, an NHS doctor.
The 26-year-old man arrived in the UK from Egypt. He was accompanied by a 26-year-old British woman. He had worked in the UK for the NHS but had taken a sabbatical. What he was up to during that sabbatical is now the question.
The British authorities believe that during his time away from work he was in Syria heading a terrorist organisation. Such groups in Syria have increasingly had members from other countries or former citizens who have travelled back home. The groups are helping those who want to remove President Assad from Syria.
The allegations against this man are that he was heavily involved in the terorist group which shot and kidnapped a British photographer in Syria in July 2012. Dutchman Jeroen Oerlemans was also captured and held captive along with the veteran phographer, John Cantlie. Both men were released after a week or so.
Mr Cantile was injured during his capture and he claims that a member of the gang said he had worked as a doctor for the UK NHS. In the end he treat Mr Cantile's wounds.
There have been many reports of supporters of the Syrian rebels leaving the UK to actively work on the ground in Syria. For some it will remain home. They may also have family still living in that country. For others they may have their own reasons for wanting President Assad removed from Office.
The two who were arrested at Heathrow are both British residents. Police investigations are ongoing. Under the prevention of Terrorism Act police have conducted searches of two residential properties in London.
Syria is crumbling more each day. It may not be all out war but it is civil war which is becoming increasingly nasty. Both sides, the Syrian Regime and the Rebels, have committed atrocities. Both have blamed each other. Tit for tat reprisals always fail to achieve anything except bitter hatred of each other.Yesterday shocking footage of the killing of pro regime militia in Syria made for grim viewing. Today the rebels have claimed that the regime is on a killing spree once more. As usuall verification of events is not easy to find. Video footage however often tells a raw tale of what is going on.UN Arab league peace envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, has tried hard during the last year to help resolve the conflict in Syria. Today August 2, 2012, he has given up and resigned.It will have taken a lot for Mr Annan to hold up his hands and say I surrender. It shows just how embroiled in conflict the people of Syria are
and how ineffective the UN's best efforts have been.A press conference was hastily held today so that Annan's resignation could be announced. He said,
"I did not receive all the support that the cause deserved. I accepted this task, which some called mission impossible, for I believed it was a sacred duty to do whatever was in my power to help the Syrian people find a peaceful solution to this bloody conflict."Mr Annan cited the increasing miltarisation of the unrest in Syria by both sides as one of the reasons he was resigning. He also attacked a blame culture in the UN and the inability of leaders to agree. The once heralded six point plan for peace created by Mr Annan has collapsed as both sides have not adhered to agreements.No doubt some World leaders will be happy to see Mr Annan go, hoping to hit Syria harder. More sanctions are inevitable, as are more deaths on all sides.However, much as most Western leaders play up Assad's short comings and play down the rebels failings,
both sides are now at fault. When the civil war is over it will be exactly what happens after all wars. It will be the winning war criminals trying the losing war criminals.War is a dirty business with atrocities and human rights breaches happening daily.
It remains to be seen where this conflict will go and when it will end. Then of course the big question will be what happens next?
As Arab League Ministers call for President Bashar Assad to go, even offering safe passage for Assad and his family, Syrian rebels close in. The situation in Syria continues to worsen by the hour and life for ordinary citizens must be a daily struggle.
As rebels press ever closer to the current seat of power in Syria once again questions are raised about just who the rebels are?
In the West mainstream media tends to report on the Free Syrian Army (FSA), as the only rebels gaining ground. They are not alone though. There is also the Salafis, a rival group made up of hardline Islamists. They are looking for the creation of a Syrian Sharia Sate if and when Assad steps down or is ousted. These two groups of rebels are each made up of two factions, working against each other.
Those in Syria and in the West who want Assad ousted must surely be considering what his exit could mean. Currently the alternative to the Assad regime is conflict. Conflict to remove him and conflict between warring factions until the strongest force wins. The FSA claim that the opposing rebels have the benefit of foreign money which is swelling their arsenals. Do we believe that the FSA is not getting money and more from the West? No we do not.
Both rebel sides will have their foreign supporters. So will the Assad regime, although right now they also have the wealth of Syria.
As Assad continues to ignore calls for him to step down regime Forces have today, July 23, 2012, gone on the offensive once more. They have been driving FSA rebel forces out of Damascus.
Whilst the West purports to support the rebels at least verbally there are many causes for concern.
Israel has voiced its worries over the stash of chemical weapons it believes the Assad regime to hold. These include mustard gas and sarin nerve agents. Its fear is that if the Assad regime topples an "unknown quantity" will have access to or control of such weapons. If those who replace Assad are hardline Islamists will they want to attack Israel or is that just scaremongering?
The West will look to Russia who has exercised its veto all too often in UN votes regarding Syria, to provide Some form of control of armaments.
The Assad regime has also threatened that outside aggression against them may be met with chemical warfare. A frightening prospect. It could be bluff but who would want to take the risk? The regime continues to maintain that such weapons will not be used against its own people though.
European arms embargoes placed on the Assad regime have been tightened today. How much effect they will have is not known.
A heavy presence of US forces in the strait of Hormuz are aimed at sending a clear message to Iran. Many believe that Iranian leaders could see a political vacuum in Syria as a positive.
Countries such as Turkey, that border Syria, are waiting with bated breath. They are expecting refugees and more. They too have a reason to fear a hardline Islamist neighbour it seems.
All in all Syria is in a state of virtual collapse. Still Assad clings to power. It is doubtful that he will accept today's offer of a safe exit from the Arab League. Where he would go is unknown.
Time is running out for Assad but he may, like a ship's captain, choose to go down with his ship. If he does he will take many with him.
Tags: Syrian end game, chemical weapons, Arab League, World politics, Syrian politics, Assad, rebels
The Middle Eastern country of Syria
has been torn apart during the last year. The Arab Spring of 2012 which heralded change in Tunisia, Egypt
spread from one country to another. Syria has experienced a virtual civil war during the last year but President Bashir Assad has clung on to power. Whilst his restrictive dictatorship will not suit all Syrians it is claimed that he still has support from the majority.So much remains a puzzle in this strange conflict. Who are the rebels? What sort of government could they form? Are outside forces at work behind the scenes? How many people have actually been killed by the Assad regime and how many by the rebels?,Around 11,500 people have died during this uprising. Syria is proving to be a difficult problem to solve. The West claim that Russia is supplying the regime with weapons and more. A shipment of helicopters heading for the Syrian regime was intercepted in Scotland last week.
Who is supplying the rebels with arms though?In the last week a Turkish plane which it is thought strayed into Syrian airspace was downed
and reports of defections by senior military personnel have continued. Whether these defections are real is hard to assess. In such troubling times propaganda is used by all sides.
Today an email received by TEK;s Peter B Meter
makes for interesting reading.:
"Syria: US in hypocrisy of the highest order, and in a crime against humanity.""The New York Times claims that, "the C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said," an unsubstantiated claim that was similarly made in Libya before Al Qaeda flags were run up poles in Benghazi by rebels flush with NATO cash and arms used to collapse the government of Muammar Qaddafi. In fact, it is confirmed that Libyan LIFG rebels, led by Al Qaeda commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj, have now made their way by the hundreds to Syria (and here). Despite months of the US claiming the "international community" sought to end the violence and protect the population of Syria, the New York Times now admits that the US is engaged in supporting a "military campaign" against the Syrian government aimed at increasing "pressure" on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Efforts to impose an arms embargo on Syria is now revealed to be one-sided, aimed at giving rebels an advantage in the prolonged bloodbath with the intent on tipping the balance in favor of Western proxy-forces - not end the violence as soon as possible as claimed by the UN, and in particular, Kofi Annan.The Times also reported that Turkey has been directly delivering weapons to terrorists operating in Syria - Turkey being a NATO member and implicating NATO as now being directly involved in perpetuating bloodshed in the Middle Eastern nation. For months, Turkey has been allowing terrorists to use its border region as a refuge from which to stage attacks against Syria.Despite this, however, the so-called "Free Syrian Army," according to the New York Times, consists of only 100 or so small formations made up of "a handful of fighters to a couple of hundred combatants," betraying the narrative that the Syrian government faces a large popular uprising, and revealing that the "Free Syrian Army" is in fact a small collection of mercenaries, foreign fighters, and sectarian extremists, armed, funded, and directed by foreign interests solely to wreak havoc within Syria. It should be noted that these terrorist proxies were organized as early as 2007 by the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, specifically to enact regime change and transform Syria into a Western client regime. As the West's propaganda campaign imploded after a torrent of unsubstantiated claims of "massacres" and "atrocities," all unverified, some in fact being revealed as the work of the West's sectarian proxies themselves, it appears that sidelining Syria in headlines while pursuing a clandestine proxy war is now the tactic of choice for the time being. For the United States to claim Syria has "failed" to protect it population while simultaneously fueling the very armed conflict it claims it is seeking to end is not only hypocrisy of the highest order, but a crime against world peace - punishable under the Nuremberg precedent."Whilst it is true that some of the reports linked here are not current, as in today's news, they are relevant to Syria.
Some may be unverified or more propaganda but they all pose interesting questions. More than one points the finger at the US and appears to be a verified report. Syria is a conflict which could easily take the World into its third global war. Is that what we really want?Related reading:
Only two days ago the talk was of President Bashir Assad being given a safe passage out of Syria in a brokered deal. It seems that the G20 summit involved little tete a tetes between various leaders and this plan was created by President Obama, David Cameron and President Putin of Russia. A day as they say though is a long time in politics.
Yesterday a Turkish jet was downed close to the Syrian border. Dropping into the seas around the two countries both Navies are now looking for the pilots. Surprisingly the previously volatile Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoga, reacted calmly to the news.
Initially he refused to blame Syria until he had firm evidence. Today, Saturday, June 23, there are reports that he now accepts Syrian forces were responsible but his reaction remains muted.
This could be for any number of reasons such as:
- The Turkish plane was in truth infringing Syrian air space.
- The Turkish plane was not what it is being cracked up to be but rather was on a underhand mission.
- The Turkish Prime Minster is being directed by outside agencies or leaders.
Perhaps now that Russia has decided that Assad is not pivotal in how they see the future of Syria, Erdoga is prepared to wait and see.
The escape plan for Assad brokered by the three leaders would involve a further no doubt costly summit this time to be held in Geneva. Once again the leaders will ignore the environmental threat of too may jaunts to foreign lands which they try to impose on the people.
Cameron for the UK and Obama for the US are hoping for a Yemen option for Assad which would solve their immediate concerns over Syria. The Geneva summit would include China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France. Russia also want to include Iran which will make it interesting. With western leaders adamant that they will not do business with Iran will this prevent the summit or will they back pedal once more?
Only recently Cameron was insistent that Assad and his wife, who is a British citizen, will not be welcome in the UK, period. How long will this stance last, we wonder?
The irony of David Cameron's statement was not lost on us when he said, “There’s little time left to resolve this. Syria is descending into a bloody civil war with potentially irreparable consequences for its people. “It is welcome President Putin has been explicit in saying that he’s not locked in to Assad remaining in charge in Syria."What we need next is an agreement on a transitional leadership that can move Syria to a democratic future.”
Of course it is the last sentence that amazes us.
The West has gleefully helped the people of Egypt and Libya destroy their old regimes and destroy much of their respective countries. Egypt currently has a power vacuum. In the last week the old military leaders who were hand in glove with ousted President Mubarek have seized power. There has been a military coup in all but name. The people are on the streets again with democracy and fair election just a hope on a distant horizon.
Then there is Mr Putin. Yes he knows all about free and fair democratic elections doesn't he?
More than 11,500 civilians have died in Syria since the uprising began in 2011.
It still remains unclear just who the rebels are, who is backing them and what the majority of Syrians want. Of course reporting restrictions point to an oppressive regime in power. A free and fair election would hopefully put in power the leaders that the majority of Syrian people want.
Would it be crass to remark here that in the UK the majority of people are not represented by our hastily cobbled together Coalition government?
Syria needs peace. It needs it badly, as does the whole middle eastern region. What forces are at work destabilisng the area is not known. Another costly summit could perhaps lead to a conclusion. However surely it is becoming the time when positive action is long overdue rather than more debating the issues. No person wants another war but we have to decide whether to turn away, as we do with so many countries, or intervene, plunging Syria into who knows what.
A weary Kofy Annan was seen on mainstream news reports yesterday, his despair over the problem that is Syria was easy to see. As the International envoy of the UN Mr Annan has had a busy time of it of late. Sadly it has been a fruitless and thankless task more often than not. When diplomacy does not work world leaders move on in stages through tried and tested means of bringing a country into line. Sometimes the tactics work but often they do not. Such is the current state of Syria.The country appears to be getting blown apart in every sense of the word. Apart form the bombing and murders the country's population is in danger of splitting into many uncontrollable factions.If President Assad of Syria is to be believed the problems all stem from terrorists or rebels. However you have to wonder what he has to hide, by imposing a ban on all foreign press from reporting from Syria.
A more open approach could leave the West with a more favourable opinion but that is doubtful. Most leaders in the West want an end to the Syrian rule of Bashir Assad. So do some Syrians but just how many is unclear. Again if the regime is to be believed it is a minority of the population.How to go firward is proving difficult especially as Russia and China continue to use their veto. Without their approval a full scale onslaught by the West is unlikely if not impossible. There are mmany people around the World who belive that the Syrian rebels are being helped by outside forces. Could the CIA be pushing for change more than the people of Syria? President Obama has ruled out arming the rebels of Syria but his opposition for the role of US President, Mitt Romney, would not be so reticent. That must surely be a worry for the World?Romney's stance may appeal to the bravado brigade in the US and even US followers in Israel but the world must see what a terrible step that could prove to be. We know the West has done this before but interfering in what is by and large a civil war is playing a dangerous game. It is a step too far.With Syrian allies such as Russia and China it could easily lead to global conflict. Romney may care not for destroying other countries across the world but surely Americans have more sense than that? With their economy still fragile do they want to spend time, money and manpower in another conflict? One that could prove to be lengthy?
One that could end up pointless. Afghanistan is starting to look unwinnable surely Syria could prove the same.Images filtering out of Syria appear to show mass killings and more. The footage has been hard to date. Hard also to authenticate. Even if it is current and authentic just who were the perpetrators remains unclear,
Perhaps Mitt Romney is urging President Obama to arm the Syria rebels for his own reasons. Could it be electioneering plain and simple? Could he have a vested interest in another war? Could he have financial backers interested in conflict?It is easy when you not the actual person in charge to make wild suggestions. If Romney was the President would he be pushing for the arming of rebels. If the answer is yes then surely the man is not fit to be President of the USA. For at the crux of the matter is just who these rebels are and if they are capable of rebuilding Syria.Currently they are an unknown quantity so why would you arm such a rag tag brigade, that is unless you know who they are because you are pulling the strings.According to a report in boston.com the US army is good to go. They are waiting for the President's say so before they go storming in to yet another country. Interfering rather than resolving, once again. Is this what people want? We do not think so.Shame on you Mitt Romney