Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Crowded skies or empty beaches?

So we're going to join the war to end all wars in the Middle East and it will definitely all be over started by Christmas. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, if the Fencer Down incident wasn't a big enough whack across the head with the clue stick,* some edited highlights from this article by Yossi Melman in the Jerusalem Post expand on how well it's all likely to work out if the UK joins in with yet another uncoordinated bombing campaign alongside the Americans and our Turkish and Russian frenemies, with everybody charging off in different directions after their various, mutually exclusive, targets and war aims:
In recent years Turkey, a NATO member, has proved to be the “weak link” in the West’s efforts to have a unified policy in the Syrian civil war.

Now after shooting down a Russia bomber on Tuesday, it seems Turkey has no inhibitions to embroil its NATO allies....

...It also signals ... how explosive the situation is in which too many fighters planes and bombers of various air forces are operating in the crowded Syrian skies close to neighboring borders...

...Russian President Vladimir Putin already said that Turkey’s action was a “stabbing in the back” and it is an “accomplice of terrorists,” referring to previous accusations that Ankara either turned a blind eye or even supported Islamic State...

... Russia has already called its citizens to stop visiting Turkey and a leading Russian tour operator canceled its plans to send Russian tourists to Turkey. In 2014, three million Russian tourists visited Turkey – accounting for nearly 20 percent of Turkey’s foreign tourists...

...If one of [NATO's] member states is threatened or attacked, the rest must rally in its defense. But already there are cracks in the seemingly unified front. Czech President Milos Zeman, known for his sharp tongue, denounced the Turkish operation and reminded the world of Turkey’s dubious past with Islamic State...

...For Turkey, the Kurds are the enemy and not Islamic State. And for achieving its goal every measure or risk is worth taking – even a brinkmanship with Russia and at the cost of a splitting-up of NATO.**
The upside is that the resulting mess might finish off the politicians who rushed in without a plan, but that will be cold comfort for those who pay with their lives, not just their careers.

For what it's worth, rather than bombing, my alternative plan would involve a leaf out of the Russian's book and fighting the Turkish government on the tourist beaches until they stop aiding and abetting the rest of the world's enemy #1. It would be rough on innocent locals and disappointed tourists, but the collateral damage would still be less than that caused by laser-guided munitions. And it's not as if there aren't other economies in the region in desperate need of a bit of tourist cash (I'm looking at you, Greece).

If sacrifices have to be made, isn't giving up a cheap fortnight somewhere like this sacrifice enough?
Nice beaches, shame about the football fans.

*How cunning will British intervention plan look when it's downed RAF Tornado pilots being machine-gunned by some warring groupuscule that never heard of the Geneva Convention?

** My emphasis.