Limited and Fastidious Intervention in Iraq and Syria

It is an odd war that is being fought in Syria and Iraq. It seems that the intervention of foreign powers in the war, albeit limited and fastidious, has one aim of wishing to expunge the soi disant Islamic State (which is neither Islamic nor a state) but other aims of supporting or toppling President Assad, depending on which intervention you are thinking about. There are other subsidiary aims – a home land for the Kurds, expansion of neighbouring states, political ideology and philosophical and religious dogma. War makes death; if you fight for principles those principles must be stronger than life and must support life. Continue reading

How to Defeat Isis

I am not a pacifist but I do abhor war. History teaches that we must defend ourselves from aggression and nations are entitled to do that and when they do that they must pursue their defence with all possible means that accord to the rules of war and are consistent with accepted civilised conduct. The activities of ISIS in Syria and Iraq are considered by many world leaders to be a threat to many nations and those leaders believe that threat extends to acts of terrorism carried out in places other than Syria and Iraq.  Continue reading

Why Don’t you stay in your own country and fight for it?

“Why Don’t you stay in your own country and fight for it?” was the cry of a very old Greek woman on the island of Kos to Syrian emigrants; the population of Kos is 33,000 and there are some 10,000 emigrants who have arrived there. Most have come from Syria through nearby Turkey. Continue reading

Heroes and Villains

I heard of a man who died fighting for the Kurdish Militia in Syria. His death was portrayed as heroic, but death in battle is never heroic, merely messy and squalid. I heard of a man, said to have been quiet and bullied when young who specialises now in executing by beheading people whose only purpose in being executed is to shock and terrify those watching.
For some the man is a villain, but for others a hero.
Women make the choice; The “with it or on it” (ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς) taunt of the Spartan womenfolk to their men before they went to war meaning come back carrying their shields, or dead being carried on their shields. The women, usually mothers, gave the choice to their children of dying like a hero or living like a villain.

Eventually every fighter will die or come home or find a place that becomes their home and the places that are home will be full of heroes and villains who will be the same people viewed with different eyes.
The old song comes to mind
“Once at night the cotillion squared the fight
And she was right in the rain of the bullets that eventually brought her down
But she’s still dancing in the night
Unafraid of what a dude will do in a town full of heroes and villains”.

Bomb early, bomb often

The bombing is working in North East Syria, but not in the way that those who decided to bomb had intended. Continue reading

How did ISIS Manage to Grow so Quickly?

I am not sure whether I should refer to them as the Islamic State or the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq or as IS or as ISIS because I do not know what they call themselves. They seem to have grown into what is a de facto state, controlling certain areas of Iraq and Syria. Under traditional rules of recognition the British Government (and many other governments) would have recognised them as a state once they controlled two thirds of the land that they claimed, but these days the international recognition of a state depends more on political convenience rather than practical rules. Continue reading

Bomb Them

Mr Obama has developed a strategy to defeat the Islamic State. His strategy is threefold but that strategy only one part is new; Continue reading