Donald Trump once said that it would be a mistake to overthrow Assad in Syria. Like us, we thought, he must be afraid that Assad could be replaced by something even worse.
Suddenly, the dangerously unstable US President has done an about-turn, in response to “beautiful babies” being gassed, and gone on the attack against Assad.
We already knew that Assad is a monster, prepared to use chemical weapons on his own people and the latest attack is no more murderous than his earlier ones. Trump and Theresa May turn a blind eye to the murderous campaign waged by their ally, Saudi Arabia in Yemen. They seemed set to do the same for Assad, until Trump’s apparent Road to Damascus conversion.
We should draw little comfort from the imminent extinction of IS. The poisonous thorn tree of Middle East terrorism has its roots in the Anglo-French partition of the area, after the First World War. So, indeed, does the despotic Saudi royal theocracy.
Lopping the IS branch off the tree will simply clear fertile ground for new branches to grow. The present monsters IS and Al Quaida are only there because of past western interference. If Assad is overthrown, we can expect either a new strong-man monster; or a vacuum, to be filled by the mutated offspring of IS and Al Quaida.
Is Trump simply looking for somewhere where he can impress his redneck supporters, without the American courts getting in the way? If so, it will once again be the people of the Middle East who pay in blood for superpower sabre-rattling.
AND DAVID ELLIS
Hawks Road, Hailsham