View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


A few words about events in Egypt in recent weeks. It may be held that the Arab Spring there has failed, with the Muslim Brotherhood's president Morsi being deposed by the Army. The murder of hundreds of people in Cairo and other places around the country is a demonstration of appalling brutality, justified by the current military regime by referring to law and order.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not universally popular in Egypt, far from it. A large number of people are apprehensive about the Islamists, fearing the imposition of strict Islamic rule - look at Iran as to what that looks like. Since the Brotherhood came to power, people who initially opposed deposed president Hosni Mubarak increasingly expressed a longing for his return to power. Although his was an oppressive and repressive regime, it was seen to provide a degree of stability at home and abroad.

There is a huge divide in Egyptian society, and for the moment, the military have patched the gap. But for how long, I wonder.


I just want to say that I abhor what happened in Syria. Although there is no cast-iron evidence, I hold the Assad regime responsible. The Russian government, being Assad's primary backers, are indirectly complicit. Mr Putin &co are in a position to reign in the worst of the excesses of the Syrian regime. However, they have swallowed hook, line and sinker, all the lies and fabrications that have come out of Damascus over the past two years. I am not saying that the rebels are any better. They are not. Given the right hardware, they would behave in exactly the same fashion as the Assad regime would.

David Cameron and William Hague (the British prime minister and foreign secretary) are treading a very dangerous path, if they are aiming to militarily retaliate against Syria for the use of nerve gas in Damascus last week. When you engage in a military campaign, you can NEVER anticipate how your adversary will react. I'm not a betting man, but I'd be prepared to wager that Assad will react in the worst fashion possible. An attack on Israel, aided and abetted by his regional ally Iran is almost a certainty. Also, what would the Russian government do in this situation, as in, would they continue to back the Assad regime in the face of an all-out assault? At any rate, the resulting conflagration will spiral out of any control of Mr Cameron and Mr Obama may think they have before you know where you are. I would

The British parliament will debate the issue tomorrow, Thursday 29th August. The motion being debated will be worded in such a way that it its passage through the House of Commons is a virtual certainty, leaving the door open for the prime minister to act as he sees fit. Including military action. I'm not looking forward to the next few days and weeks.