Incompetence is No Crime

But, is this the best Assad can come up with?

1126: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that his country will “defend itself in the face of any aggression,” Syrian state TV reports.

How can this kind of rhetoric help? I thought his ambassador on BBCR4Today was making more sense this morning – even though he was stoutly defending his country and its government, doing his job. The idea that national boundaries may have to be redrawn is suddenly not unthinkable.

Having just completed Scott Anderson’s Lawrence in Arabia, I’m reminded (though it’s not quoted) of Lawrence introductory problem in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom – that in all these questions of self-determination even a question like who are “the Arabs” is moot, let alone “a Syrian”. Can think of no better recommendation, that anyone interested in Mid-East “democracy” seriously digests Anderson’s excellent book.

Whether it’s I / me / we / us / they / them / the other, the question is always overlapping “constituencies” and their histories.

No-one is proposing “aggression” – in fact the two years of inaction is the rest of the world bending over backwards to avoid intervention in what looks like a messy civil war – with no doubt plenty of innocent victims on all sides – though the very idea of “sides” is a simplistication. This is about evidence of a serious horror. Address that Assad, or whoever knows what they’re doing in the Syrian government. Simply saying it’s unthinkable is a “head in the sand” response, not addressing the evidence.

Someone in the Syrian government needs to step up to the plate.

(See point on benefit of the doubt. And responsibility post-script.)

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