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.
In conflicts it is so often the young and the old who suffer most. Yes, all generations suffer but those at either end of life are the most vulnerable, and least able to protect and nourish themselves. In the case of young people there are additional concerns.The children of Syria are a prime example. Living in an unstable country many children are lacking basic education, nourishment and care. Those in their formative years will be learning little apart from hate and an unsatisfied need.Whatever is going on in Syria, be it a revolution by the people, an uprising by a minority of citizens or a created conflict by outside forces, there will be many losers. A protracted period of unrest is not productive to anyone.By the time this conflict is resolved the infrastructure of Syria will be wrecked, buildings destroyed, lives lost, and hearts hardened forever, We will have sympathy for the children living through this terrible time in Syria's history but once they become violent teenagers or adults we will not. Yet in many cases they will have grown into the type of person they are because of this conflict.We are already seeing in Libya and Egypt that once dictators are ousted it is not plain sailing. Without knowing who is going to take over int
erfering in such civil wars in merely destructive.Yes foreign forces such as the US, the UK, Germany or whoever may feel happier knowing that Gaddafi, for example, has gone but are the people really any better off?Today Sky News has carried a report on those who have fled the conflict in Syria. More than 250,000 Syrians have fled the country. At least half of the Syrians in refugee camps are children. That is a sad and sorry state of affairs. They may be away from the direct harm of conflict but their lives will not be good.
In Islahiye, Turkey, 4,500 children are reliant on the Turkish authorities for the basics of life, that is water and food. Their lives for now are played out in a "tent city" behind a barbed wire fence. Whilst it is good that these refugees have shelter it is a prison. The adults are not allowed to work. They can only leave the camp for a few hours each day..Not all children though have parents with them. There are some children who are alone. Orphans whose parents have died in the conflict. The longer the Syrian uprising continues the tougher it will be for these children. They have already had to grow up fast.How will they cope with adulthood, assuming that they survive.
Secrets and lies
It has been more of the same in Syria
this week. There have been deaths on all sides, rebels and regime supporters, There has been killing by the hands of both sides, rebels and regime supporters. This week though events have taken Syria a step closer to all out war.
Early in the week TEK reported on video footage broadcast in the UK apparently showing rebels brutally killing pro regime
militia. There was no verification but it was hard to cover up the shootings as they were so graphically captured on a mobile phone and uploaded to the Internet. There has been more killing by the regime, done in the name of stopping terrorism and more.
Finally yesterday August 2, 2012 UN special envoy for the Arab League in Syria Mr Kofi Annan
resigned in frustration at his inability to make any inroads in the Syrian conflict.
The World was left wondering what now for Syria?, and today we are beginning to find out what the country's future could be.
It is no secret that Syria will never be an easy problem to solve. World leaders such as those in Russia, China, the US, The UK and beyond all have their own agendas. This means that all will view Syria in a different way.
Israel wants Assad and his regime ousted. That does not necessarily mean the majority of Syrian people do. After all it should be they who ultimately decide the future of their own country.
The West continues to say that it supports democracy and Assad as a non elected dictator should go. That may be true but it must surely be up to the people of Syria to decide. The West has chosen to ignore many similar regimes which are dictatorships. We do not interfere in Russia, China, Korea et al demanding democracy, do we?
We choose which middle eastern country to interfere in as far as democracy goes, don't we? Atrocities continue in Bahrain, for example, but remain off the mainstream media's radar for most of the time.
The Syrian civil war is hard to assess but the situation has worsened. The problem is that the Regime still attempts to ban media reporting from Syria. The rebels are made up of at least two hard line groups, at odds with each other.
The West is over confident about what it can do in Syria, following its apparent success in Libya. Syria is not Libya though. Many are starting to wonder just why the west appears to want a broken Middle East. A region which will be unstable.Is it all part of a master plan involving Iran?
The day after Mr Annan's resignation already western leaders are plotting. In the UK foreign Secretary William Hague has announced that the UK will step up its practical help for the Syrian rebels. Just when and why we begun to support rebels around the world is not clear. It will not be for the reasons given, such as to widen democracy, but rather for a hidden agenda.
Mr Hague has said that Britain is giving its support to the Syrian rebels but in truth he should have said, "The British Government is giving support" This blogger for one does not want more conflict in her name. Hague told media sources that he would make more announcements in the coming days and weeks. For now he has said that the UKs help will be "mainly advice and expertise, help with communications and capacity to plan."
Hague denied that there would be any "boots" on ground or weapons involved. However we have heard all of that before, in Libya for example. When such a person lies continually you tend to look at all such announcements with more than a touch of scepticism.
Hague went on to say that Great Britain will be asking other countries to tighten their sanctions on Syria. He also said that human rights abuses would be noted, no doubt for war crime trials at a future date. Will that include abuses by all sides?
Whilst we agree with Hague that the Syrian people were not happy with Assad by and large we are less believing of his other claims. According to Hague there has been no foreign intervention in Syria, period. Reports that some Libyan rebels had joined the Syrian rebels, that members of the American CIA and others were in Syria and that some in the West were manipulating the situation were simply not true, according to Hague. Mr Hague claims that is all a myth started by Assad.
To convince most people Mr Hague will have to prove that his words are true and we doubt he could do that, even if it were possible to try. In Libya we were told much the same but the truth was we were guiding and directing the rebels.
Today also the US Security Council will hold another vote on Syria. This time it will be to condemn its own Security Council for failing to end the unrest.
So what now for Syria. Tough sanctions which will hit the people as much as the regime and western interference in a civil war? That after all is what is happening. Will it go that step further though? Are we looking at the start of World War Three?Related reading here
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
On the back of the Arab Spring of 2011 people across a range of Middle Eastern countries decided to follow suit and make a bid from democracy. Regimes toppled and new found freedoms led to optimism. More than a year later too many people in the Middle East are still no closer to securing democracy.
Syria has remained a problem. The UN has used limited action such as sending in monitors but steps have fallen short of those used in Libya. However Syria is not Libya.
If you belive the regime, those opposing it are a minority , terrorists and in many cases foreign nationals. The rebels however tell a different tale. They claim to fighting hard to rid Syria of a despot, Bashar al Assad, and his corrupt officials.
Today July 18, 2012 there is fierce fighting underway in the Syrian capital of Damascus. There are reports that a police station is in flames. The latest news is that a suicide bomber has managed to enter the inner sanctum of government and has wreaked havoc.
The dead are said to include the country's defense minister Daoud Rajha, and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law Asef Shawkatwho, who is the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian military. This will be a blow for the regime although currently they are attempting to play the attack down.
The regime claims that there are no other deaths but the insurgents maintain that the Minister for the Interior is also dead. The ongoing fighting between both sides in Damscus has led to civilian casualties.
Early reports indicate that the suicide bomber was one on the regime's own bodyguards. Rebels insist the suicide attack and fighting of the last three days shows that it isonly a matter of time before the regime crumbles. The regime continues to claim that the rebels are being propped up by outside agencies and Forces.
Syria is a mess. There is no doubt that the Assad regime is way past its sell by date. However the West has shown its hypocritical side once more. Playing games with the Middle East is dangerous and is bound to backfire in the long run.
When is a rebel an insurgent or a terroist. It would seem only if they are on a side not supported by the West. All is fair in love and war? That old chestnut will be used by both sides.
Tags: Syrian suicde bomber, Damscus, Arab Spring, Middle Eastern politic, ME, terrorism, suicide attacks
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.
The footage below relates to the same incident but tells a very different story. It is up to you to decide who you believe. Whoever was responsible there is no escaping that more than 100 people were summarily executed on May 25, 2012, in Houla, Syria.
Many were children some of whom had their skulls smashed in and or their throats cut.
World leaders joined forces to condemn the killings. Russia and China's continuing UN veto means that taking action will not be straightforward. Today however May 29, 2012, many countries in the West have utilised their diplomatic option.
In the UK Syrian officials have been expelled from Great Britain. Other countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Canada have done the same. It may be a drop in the ocean against the Syrian regime but it is a start.
Bashar Assad's wife holds a UK passport. Her father is a leading Cardiologist in the UK. In an attempt to persuade Mr Assad to desist petitioners are pleading with Mrs Assad
. Her father has already questioned just what is going on. Whilst some people in Syria suffer oppression and worse she enjoys a lavish lifestyle spending money as if it were going out of fashion. How much longer she can ignore what is happening is hard to guess. If she does know the truth then in the end she will be in as damned a position as the regime leaders.
Expelling diplomats will be the start of what could prove to be a very long road for Syria and the World.