This is what I’ve been saying from the very beginning, we have no dog in that fight, there are NO good sides to rally behind, only one type of totalitarianism being a tad more benevolent than the other.
No one doubts that the Syrian regime and its Russian sponsors have committed ghastly crimes — but so have the rebels. That is why no faction properly deserves Western support.
MAX HASTINGS: Why I believe that, despite the horror, the West MUST stop meddling in the powder keg in the Middle East
- For years, the Western powers have pursued the wholly incompatible ambitions of simultaneously fighting Isis and toppling Assad
- In Syria, President Assad will almost certainly continue to dominate shrunken dominions to the west, with rebels controlling the outlying areas
- This is not a series of single dramas or problems, but instead a cat’s cradle for which no one should fool themselves that there is a ‘solution’
This week the Mail has asked leading thinkers to analyse major global events of the year — from Brexit to Russian belligerence — and predict what might happen next. Today, historian Max Hastings addresses the terrifying problems engulfing the Middle East.
Foremost among the images of 2016 have been the anguished faces of children in stricken Aleppo. They stumble amid the rubble of what was once a Syrian city of two million people, which I can testify from my own remembrance was once among the historic wonders of the world.
Now, it has all but gone, and its victims have touched hearts and consciences across the world. The cry has gone up: ‘How could we allow this to happen!’ Nor is misery confined to Aleppo. Conflicts across the Middle East create swathes of desolation and tens of thousands of corpses, yet, despite the ceasefire announced yesterday, seem further than ever from long-term resolution.