Case for attacking Syria not yet made, says leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance
28th August 2013
In a message to the national elected representatives of the Christian Peoples Alliance on the CPA Council ahead of a parliamentary vote on attacking military assets in Syria, the leader of the CPA, Sid Cordle MBE, said the party should oppose western intervention. (A position the CPA also took before the Blair-endorsed attack on Iraq). He re-iterated the long-standing opposition of Christian Democrats to the possession and use of weapons of mass destruction and condemned their use in Syria. But he said the case for a US-led attack was “not yet made”.
“The case for bombing President Assad crosses over into taking sides in the civil war and is action ahead of the facts. Parliament must have the assessment of the UN Chemical Weapons Inspectors and key MPs must be shown the intelligence that proves the Damascus regime used chemical weapons. Until then, a decision is premature.”
After discussions in London with a representative of the CPA’s political allies in the European Christian Political Movement, Sid Cordle sent 6 reasons to the party’s policy-making body on why launching attacks now is wrong:
1) There is no UN mandate. US action would be on the basis of their condemnation of the Assad government, as already demonstrated by the delivery of arms and military advice to the rebels, with the involvement of Britain. The motion at the UN Security Council urges “all necessary action to protect citizens.” Yet western action in Afghanistan and Iraq has caused the deaths of innumerable citizens. Bombing sites in Syria would risk the deaths of more non-combatants, breaching international law. The resolution gives no mandate for bombing except in defence. However, a no fly zone to prevent Syrian aircraft being used in the conflict would be more likely to give protection to civilians.
2) It is not yet proven that Syrian rebels didn’t themselves capture and deploy chemical weapons to draw-in the involvement of America. The use of chemical weapons in opposition-held areas while UN inspectors are present is suspicious and deplorable. It is known that Assad’s forces, with the help of Hezbollah, have had the upper hand in the fighting, having retaken Homs and with successes in flushing out rebel forces in other areas. The claims of Damascus that they didn’t use them here must be considered seriously and Russian claims of evidence for this position given fair examination.
3) Military intervention would benefit rebel groups firmly allied to al Qaeda, who are in the ascendant in the Syrian opposition. The invasion of Afghanistan that cost hundreds of British lives had the intention of stopping al Qaeda, so such action would be inconsistent. Furthermore it could be indirectly endangering Britain, as there is a real risk foreign Islamic combatants in Syria could return to bring jihad to the West.
4) Rebels in Syria have been burning churches and killing Christians and preventing aid reaching them as part of their Islamisation policy (See below). By intervening now in support of one side – without first enforcing a change of stance by the opposition – turns a blind eye to these actions. It is the rebels who are attacking Christians not the Assad Government.
5) The cost of intervening both in lives and in military hardware involves money that could be spent much better elsewhere not least on humanitarian aid to the millions of refugees that have fled Syria to neighbouring countries.
6) Peace talks are planned and intervening now in support of one side will make the Western position in brokering peace talks completely untenable. How can the chair of peace talks possibly be also involved in bombing one of the participants?
Sid Cordle concluded:
“For these 6 reasons, a Christian Democratic position should be to oppose attacking Assad. Instead, the installation of a no fly zone is a better policy, accompanied by the feeding of refugees and urgent peace talks.”
Sid Cordle MBE has been leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance since December 2012. Since then he has launched a clear strategy for the party to focus on the European elections 2014 in co-operation with Christian Democratic parties from elsewhere in Europe including the French and the Dutch.
FOR BACKGROUND: Report from Barnabus Fund