West ignoring warning signs

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GERALD Warner’s brilliant piece on the re-arming of Syrian rebels deserves comment (Strictly Speaking, 16 June). There’s a real struggle going on between forces of modernism and secularism, and those based on religious fundamentalism. As usual, the West backs the wrong horse.

In the past, Syria was a 
beacon of progress in the Middle East. It was effectively a secular state with inclusive education and equal rights for male and female children and women in general. But all this was deliberately undermined by western economic interests, just as in previous eras. Nasser in Egypt and Mossadegh in Persia were overthrown by the West because they were likewise too progressive.

And the biggest struggle of all is unfolding now in Turkey, where the liberating secularism of Ataturk, which swept away an entire culture based on reactionary Islamism, is being eroded now before our eyes by a crypto-Islamic government, cleverly positioning itself to enter the EU. Yet no western government (least of all the coalition in London) appears to heed these warning signs, still less act upon them.

Randolph Murray, Rannoch