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The Middle East



Syria: the sharp end of geo-politics

The toll of human misery continues, increasing by the hour, over three thousand dead, many more seriously wounded, thousands fleeing to Turkey, untold numbers locked up for nothing. Syria is a shit hole that no one would pay to use.

No one knows what to do about Syria. No doubt Assad is a nasty man, barely recognisable as a human, leastways definitely lacking in the humanity department. Just the man to safeguard the interests of his extended family, the middle classes, the business elites and the minority Shia population (who make up most of the army).

No one knows what to do. The US have no levers to pull. The UN can't garner any support from China, Russia or anyone that has influence in the region. Iran supports Assad. And no one in Europe wants to upset Iran, even though they dislike the mullars more than they do Assad. Ask that loser Hague and he'll tell you, we can't have the region being destablized by some kind of intervention - that would be bad for Israel.

In the absence of actually doing anything about the carnage of innocents in Syria, the civilized western democracies will sit down and have a jolly good chat about this nasty business. Then, someone will write a furious letter to that Mr Assad to let him know we are not happy with his performance.

In truth, there's nothing that can be done for the citizens of Syria suffering at the hands of Assad. Parallels with Egypt or Libya don't hold up, there are no cracks in the army, all business interests support Assad, there's not even a glimmer of an organised opposition, no mass grass roots organisation - decades of state repression has neutered dissenting voices.

All a bit hopeless but not surprising. World leaders have not just found out that the Assad family are nasty people, they just ignored it and got on with business. Now, some leaders feel a little bit uncomfortable because Syriaian barbarity puts their uselessness in the headlines.