Archive for July, 2013

Christopher Lee

July 16, 2013

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Why Oh Why does UK back rebels? Because PM’s wife tells him to do so

16th July 2013

The UK is sending anti-chemical warfare kit to the Syrian rebels.  That’s very good.  It means that the rebels can protect themselves while they use the crude version of CW.

If we’re to believe the nudge-nudge coming from Whitehall, one person influencing PM Cameron’s decision to arm-up rebels is his wife, Mrs Cameron.  She’s been to refugee camps and amazingly thinks the way to help the refugees and future refugees is to arm the rebels.  These are the same rebels who met a few days ago and when there was disagreement, one lot (the Islamists) killed the leader of the other lot.  Mrs Cameron stay out of this.  You’re a smashing well meaning lady but this is not something you understand.  You’ve been sold a line in Jordan and you’ve met with tragedy.  The decision about army rebels has to be taken by someone who can stop back from that.

Now Mrs Cameron and the increasingly neo-con William Hague believe its just fine to send CW protection.  That they say is a gift from the people of the UK. Rot. Every poll, every bit of anecdotal evidence, every bit of advice to Downing Street from the chiefs of staff is simple: it’s too late Mr Cameron. Do not arm the rebels. No one can any longer control who gets the weapons.

Hague tells the Commons today the the “gift from the UK” as he calls it consists of 5,000 escape hoods and nerve-gas pre-treatment tablets – just what a rebel needs for protection when preparing to use CW.  The UN thinks rebels are using CW. Cameron and Co don’t both to mention this.  Publicly, as Mr Hague says, the UK is sending this stuff to the “Supreme Military Council of the Syrian National Coalition which the UK recognizes as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.” Wonder how he explain the Islamist hold, especially in parts of eastern Syria on the energy, water, food supplies and medical treatment that the Syrians find so welcome.

British aid to the rebels so far comes to about £350 million. It helps keep the war going.  The war is not going Mrs Cameron’s way.  President Assad’s lot seem to be doing better. Best send a few more weapons next month plus a bunch of special forces who can tell them how to use them.

It is an absolute puzzle how Cameron & Hague are the only people in the UK who think it’s a good idea to arm the rebels.  Perhaps Mrs Cameron should explain.

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Christopher Lee

July 14, 2013

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The Binning of Trident – a Great Opportunity to Guarantee Election in 2015

16th July 2013

Today the LibDem view on the options on what to do about replacing the UK Trident intercontinental ballistic missile system have been published.  How come Clegg & Co are supporting nuclear weapons anyway?

They’ve joined the club called government when all three major political parties have agreed not to even consider getting rid of the UK’s nuclear weapon system altogether. Thus even the LibDems, that party of the campaign for nuclear disarmament, have copped out of eye-balling the US and saying we’re still your conventional pals but not nuclear inmates.

The Tories have always been the Party of nuclear capability so their position is understandable.

Labour wants to keep nuclear weapons because in spite of it s general image as a Party against them its leadership has always been in favour of nuclear weapons policies since the leadership of Hugh Gaitskell in the early 1960s. Modernization of nuclear systems have been carried out nunder Labour governments.

The decision to deploy American cruise missiles in the UK in 1979 may have been a Thatcher decision, but the original agreement with the United States to bring them to the UK was made by the Callaghan Labour government in March – two months before the Tories got in that Spring.

The LibDems have been the Party against the deployment of nuclear weapons. Today they publicly agree to stay a nuclear power because that’s the only way they see of staying in government. No point in voting for them if you’re looking for the obvious solution for the appalling A&E system. (Trident costs = A&E costs for 20 years. You choose.)

The government is thinking about Trident because the present system of aging submarines and out-dated missiles will need replacing in about ten years or so. The first replacement should, if that’s the way the UK goes, should be in service by about 2028.

The system works its theoretical task with four boats each with 16 missiles carrying multiple re-entry warheads. A crude illustration would imagine a missile launch from somewhere deep in an ocean, going into orbit, re-entering the earths atmosphere and multiple warheads descending like a cascade onto more than one target.

To do this properly, the Royal Navy “needs” four boats. One is on a three month submerged patrol. One is getting ready. One is on standby, assisted maintenance or testing and the the fourth, is in total refit. The idea then is that there is always one fully nuclear armed submarine at sea. That would be the easiest replacement option, albeit an expensive one, to go with the system you know works.

Of course even that proposition is hard to get along with without asking the obvious question: how do you know it works? You have never been tested.

There is no record of a British nuclear warhead in a submarine ever scaring off an enemy about to attack or as it is is said it does, of acting as a deterrent to other countries not to mess with the UK.

The other options open to the government and ones that will be discussed at the Royal United Services Institute in London today include keeping the present system but with three instead of four Trident boats; putting nuclear armed missiles cruise missiles in more conventional submarines; returning to cheaper but vulnerable land-based systems.

What no one will properly consider is why the UK still wants a so-called nuclear deterrent. The Cold War was an easy strategic assessment.  The USSR had missiles and aimed them at the UK. So British missiles were aimed at the USSR. Simple. But that was then. Who today are we to aim at?

The deterrence is aimed at other nuclear states – a couple of which appear on the Intelligence Upsums as Unpredictable – Could Do Anything.

If we are aiming at basket-case powers, then no Brit deterrent is going to scare them off.  If we are aiming at another nuclear power,  say, China does anyone believe that the British force will stop what is known in the military jargon as a Nuclear Release? (Under present planning contingency, the UK has Washington as one of its targets in case the world is upside down one day).

When he was Defence Secretary in the 1980s, Michael Heseltine – one of the best in that trade – was convinced that if the UK did not have nuclear weapons, it would not buy them. That is the question that is not in government thinking this week and will not be.  There are no big thinkers in government. But Cameron et al should be asking the Heseltine question: if we did not have nukes, would we order them? Answer is No. So todays question is this: why replace them?

Britain says it supports nuclear disarmament. Yet new nuclear systems to replace Trident will violate existing treaties.  That is almost a political decision. So it matters not.

But why is it that no British political leader has the guts to say: we must ask ourselves what water-tight case is there for getting new nuclear warheads. No one will ask that question because the answer is there is no water-tight case.

Without taking a moral or CND position it is a fact that the UK no longer needs these systems.  It will not be in a more vulnerable place if it did not renew. In times not so long past, Labour and Liberals would say get rid of Polaris or Trident and the UK could fund the NHS A&E for decades to come. In the present economic difficult the British electorate would buy that. A smart politician should do the sums in time for the 2015 general election.

The decision on Trident does not have to be taken until the year after.

Christopher Lee

July 12, 2013

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Murdering Rebels – Gettit? Mr Hague? We Suspect Not

12th July 2013

Pretty good reports coming out of Syria tell us that Islamist rebels have assassinated Kamal Hamami of  the Free Syria Army’s Supreme Military Council. 

Mr Hamami was in Latakia meeting the Islamic rebel group, the Islamic State “to discuss battle plans”. The Islamist plan is now to kill all of the Supreme Military Council.  As President Assad would say, why should anyone be surprised when dog eats dog?.

These are the guys who want the so-called West to give them more weapons for their 40,000 or so fighters. The most vociferous pusher of weapons to these people is the British Foreign Secretary, a personable and likeable man but seemingly one who is one of the new breed of UK-US neo-cons and whose judgement seems to be zero-based.

Mr Hague seems to believe (or says he believes) that arming the rebels selectively is possible. Cannot he and his advisers see that in the immediate unlikelyhood of rebels getting rid of Assad, they will then have their own war.  The differring rebel groups have a blood-lust that will not be satisfied with the going of the Syrian president – under the present circumstances something that’s not going to happen any time soon anyway.

If rebels took over they would then set about killing each other in an attempt to take over power.  The bets are that the rebels Mr Hague supports would lose that war. Then what? The clue is what happened back in April when Al-Qaeda in Iraq merged with the Syrian Islamist Nusra Front. The new group is Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The just assassinated Mr Hague’s boy.

The Osama Bin Laden replacement, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is throwing all support behind the Syrian Islamists to set up an Islamic state of Syria. We know Mr Hague and his neo-con chums in Washington don’t want that, hence the loud demands to start arming the Syrian rebels next month and insisting that the UK and US have a method to stop arms getting into the wrong hands.

Truth is Mr Hague, the Islamists don’t have too much trouble getting arms anyway. What the British Foreign Office and to a lesser extent the US State Department has thus failed to grip is that unless they send in their air forces to create a no-fly zone against Assad’s squadrons, then Assad is on a role and the Hague-mate rebels are on the back foot.

This week’s assassination and threats to wipe out the non Islamist rebels by the Islamist group should tell Hague et al that they got it wrong in the first place.  

Think Northern Ireland.  When a rebel group, the Provisional IRA foought the British government for control of the province, the British reinforced its standing garrison. Why not? It was defending the state.

Assad was doing the same thing.

Why did not Hague and the others understand that Assad was the guy in charge and had every right to preserve the status quo? In other words Britain backed the wrong guys – yet again. The real experts in the region, the oil men knew that.  Why did not the Foreign Office and State Department.

Now the British are having to go along with the Saudi policy on this.  The Saudis see an Islamist Syria as a regional threat and an encouragement to radicals in Saudi Arabia.  If the Brits don’t back the Saudis idea of arming the rebels then the UK can start getting nervous about arms deals in the Gulf, that the Saudis either control or influence.

Yes it’s a mess. Yes Mr Hague and his friends are digging deeper into it. What’s one more assassination in the civil war/ A warning to Hague that there’s an even bloodier one coming and the UK has already signed up to what looks like being the losing side.