“ISIS first, Assad later” gains traction but St. Jeremy makes UK the weakest European actor against ISIS

Most of Europe is now falling behind the Russian strategy of “ISIS first, Assad later” as being the only viable way forward in Syria. The UK is also acquiescing with this line, but only verbally, since it is prevented from making any strikes in Syria without parliamentary authority to do so. With the self-canonised St. Jeremy Corbyn now in charge of the Labour party, such a vote may be a long time coming. After Paris, Hollande – though a St. Jeremy soul-mate in normal times – is forced to go all out against ISIS and is now coordinating attacks with Russia. Even Germany is considering supporting military action against ISIS. France has invoked a treaty provision for the first time ever and called for support from the other EU countries. All EU countries have promised that – as yet undefined – support. But the UK is now perceived as the weakest European actor against ISIS terrorism. The instant and automatic opposition of the SNP to any government motion and the naivete of St. Jeremy (which is not so innocent) has seen to that.

The Barack Obama – US led coalition’s “strategy”, if it can be called a strategy, has been to get rid of Assad at all costs. What was to happen afterwards or the question of whether Syria, as a nation , could even exist was left to the future to determine. It has been Russia’s reluctance to abandon Assad and his regime which has prevented any UN resolutions of any significance. Before the Russians recently started their attacks on ISIS they tried to rally support for the strategy of attacking ISIS and other rebels/terrorists first (which would help Assad) and then arranging for Assad to leave the scene after ensuring a transition to something sustainable. Obama and Kerry virtually dismissed that idea but did not go so far as to set themselves up against any Russian strikes on ISIS. The US and their coalition partners did, however, try and project the view that Russian intervention was more harmful than helpful.

After the Russian passenger plane was destroyed by – it is claimed – ISIS, the Western objections to the targets of the Russian strikes were a little more muted. Now after Paris, France has signed up to the line of “ISIS first, Assad later”. The rest of Europe is falling-in line with the notable exception of the UK. The Kurds love this, the Turks don’t. Saudi Arabia is very apprehensive that even if Assad eventually goes, a Shia government could still remain in place. Besides, they are reluctant to be seen to be accepting the demise of a Sunni organisation, even if it is as murderous as ISIS. From Kerry’s recent statements it seems as if the US is preparing the ground to also accept this strategy though the US, of course, can never be seen to falling-in behind Russia.

One way for the UK to save face and even get involved in Syria, would be if a UN resolution establishing “ISIS first, Assad later” could be accepted in the Security Council. Possibly the UK could propose it and recover some of the face they have already lost. Neither the Russians or the US would then veto such a resolution, though one or both might abstain depending upon the text. But it should not be impossible in the present climate. That would give the hapless St, Jeremy something to hide behind when a vote is called for in parliament. But he has already cost the UK a great deal of political clout in the fight against ISIS.

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