Caliphate monster

Your second leader on the situation in Iraq (1 July) is very much to the point, but we need to review all our relations to help this process.

The main source of funds for Isis was Saudi Arabia, which also bought the Egyptian army to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood. The army refused to shoot fellow Egyptians in the demonstrations that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak.

The Brotherhood embraced democracy, but failed at governing. If the army had adopted the same non-interventionist stance the Democrats of Tahrir Square (better organised by now?) could have called for new elections to deal with the crisis, and proposed a government of all the talents, retaining Mohamed Morsi as titular president, but setting up cross-party standing committees to run failing departments.

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Would that have worked? We will never know. Saudi billions deprived Egypt of the choice.

Saudi Arabia is run by an ageing and outdated oligarchy. They will fade away in a few years. If they do not arrange a transition to an inclusive polity that commands the support of their population they may well be taken over by the Caliphate monster they have helped create.

What of Syria? President Assad’s father led a coalition of minorities, supported by moderate Sunnis, against an extremely violent Sunni sectarian government.

Christians and other minorities still strongly support Assad, because he is their only hope of a peaceful life. We should stop all support, by cash or arms, to the “moderate rebels”.

Whatever we give them is seized by the extremists, and used to attack the side that defends the minorities.

Kurdistan seems to be the most inclusive and best run area in the Syrian/Iraqi territory. We should encourage extension of Kurdish jurisdiction to areas outside their present control which have a Kurdish majority, and which they would be able to hold.

As far as Iraq is concerned, we should encourage the elected parliament to meet, and establish as far as possible a government of national unity. There must be many on all sides who do not want to live in a Caliphate.

John Smart

Kinneddar Street


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