Monday, 17 November 2014

IS behead 17 captives

Today the media is concentrating on the beheading by IS of American humanitarian aid worker Peter Kassig, but it is worth remembering that in the same incident 16 others were beheaded - all captured Syrian army officers (probably).

Peter Kassig was taken by IS 13 months ago, kept in a cell, beaten regularly and then a few days ago was beheaded. During his captivity he "converted" to Islam and took the name Abdul-Rahman Kassig - presumably a conversion under duress and frankly the casual way the BBC refers to him posthumously as Abdul-Rahman rather than Peter is disgusting. (Before his death, certainly, play along, it might save his life - but afterwards this is just pandering to terrorists.)

Clearly IS needs to be dealt with, firmly and terminally. And here is the man for the job...

Bashar al-Assad, former opthalmic surgeon and current President of Syria.
President Assad is currently public enemy number two or three (after Jihadi John and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the leader of IS.) Why the West has taken against him isn't really obvious. Presumably Israel thought they could get a more friendly regime in their near neighbour, and as an Alawite he is more Shia than Sunni so the Saudis are not keen on him, but he has never done anything to the West. Well Israel must be regretting any part they played in destabilising the Assad regime - the devil they knew was far better than the new one.

Left to his own devices al-Assad would be a reasonably benign despot at home and a friend of the West. He speaks English, despises fundamentalist Islam, trained as a doctor and had his elder brother not died would probably be working in England for the NHS right now with a host of happy patients.

Al-Assad commands considerable loyalty in Damascus and the Syrian army has not left him, nor turned on him, like say, happened in Egypt. And the motivation for the Syrian army to fight IS is enormous now. With Western backing, ie, money, munitions, access to international banking and  oil markets, and the quashing of international warrants out for him, Assad could cut through IS like a hot knife through an infidel's neck.

If IS were attacked on the ground from the west  by a Western-backed Assad regime and from the east by a Western-backed Baghdad regime they would be chopped up in short order. Al-Assad needs to become our new BFF.

Won't happen though. Chaos and beheadings will continue.