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Should We Arm The Syrian Rebels?

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pdq1 | 17:49 Fri 15th Mar 2013 | News
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Even though many have links to al-Qaeda

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21796002

Firstly it must be agreed by the Eurpean Union and some are against it forcing France and Britain to go it alone. The decision seems imminent.

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a snippet

///The status of the rebels has become one of the thorniest issues for foreign governments.

A number of explosions and suicide attacks have been blamed on armed groups believed to have links to al-Qaeda and the rebels.///
no, they are disparate groups, not one cohesive force. Even if they were we still shouldn't do it. Humanitarian aid is the right thing to do, that is all.
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Germany (Angela Merkel) is strongly against it saying arming the rebels will make matters worse and just prolong the conflict. Maybe we should help to get rid of some of the rebels. Assad has never done us any harm so this bandwagon affair of removing dictators should stop.
No it's all too late. Had the Russians backed the UN and put pressure on Assad to bring in reforms 2 years ago, which is all the rebels asked for initially, it would not have escalated into a civil war.
As it is if we help the rebels and the outside Islamists the Russians will increase even more than they are doing already to help Asaad . The Russians want to keep their huge navel base in the M
Like many things in the middle East it's way more complicated than 'never done us any harm'

Syria is still an implacable enemy of Israel probably developing WMD

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syria_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

It's been under US sanctions for years.

With Russian interests too it could all get very very messy.

I can't imagine what outcome they hope to achieve by taking sides here.

But then we're not party to diplomatic intelligence - maybe we've burned our bridges with Assad and him winning would be a very bad outcome.

Difficult to know with limited information
Arming the rebels is arming our future enemies.
Let the Syrians sort it out.
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Cameron like Blair before him strides about as though he is the leader of the free world especially as Obama now takes a back seat. He looks ridiculous!
I think Obama has his hands full with domestic issues, never mind trying to sort out the Middle East.
I would say we should provide arms to the rebels if we think fit and not do so if we that is the appropriate decision for the UK. However….one of the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty (which we were told did not warrant a referendum)) was that he took decisions such as this away from the UK government and handed them to Europe. The only way the UK can act in a way they think appropriate is to defy the EU and face its wrath.

So before the government concerns itself with matters of democracy in places such as Syria it might like to address the matter in the UK first. It might like to explain to the UK electorate why it is we have to get agreement from nations such as Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia before we can exercise the foreign policy which the UK Parliament agrees is appropriate.
No.
If we are going to arm these islamist rebels then why arent we going to arm the nigerian islamist rebels who just murdered 7 kidnapped hostages including one Brit.
Trouble with arming murderous people like this is you dont know where and with exactly who the arms will end up with.

Of course it could be a case of Britain just wants a regime change out there and then a presence in the area, which is practically gauranteed to go horribly wrong one way or another as has been the case with all these places we seem to be interfering in.

as bad as it is some of these places only seem to function if they have a dictator running things and keeping them in order, otherwise its just the same old backwards thinking factions fighting each other for centuries as has been their way.
I've changed my mind on this. We almost certainly should arm the Free Syrian Army. This would actually be a very good example of where we should defy the EU, in their well-meaning but now inappropriate EU arms embargo.
Russia and Iran are arming Assad in his campaign of mass murder. The extreme islamist rebels are also being armed from outside (probably also by Iran!)
When even the medical profession on the ground there are calling for it then you suspect that, despite the obvious risks, it has to happen.
so now we should like the Islamists, aren't we fighting various conflicts with them, and indeed on our own front door..
they take our weapons then promptly turn them on us, great, just like before.
The "Islamists" are only one faction, and they are being armed from outside already. Despite being outnumbered by the main rebel faction they are able to use superior fire power. This really is a humanitarian call. The FSA need anti-aircraft weaponry to halt the genocidal air attacks by Assad's army. This man, largely due to his own actions, no longer controls his own country. He is being propped by by Russia and also, it would seem Iran, largely I suspect for no better reason than to do something different to what the "west" is doing.
The longer this bloody stalemate continues the worse it will be for the region long term. The only people who will benefit from the chaos are the exteme factions. And that won't be good news for anyone.
which is what i said earlier, they are not one group, if we give them arms, they win the wretched war over Assad, then these disparate groups can't agree on where or what to do next, and turn into a unconnected rabble, and start killing one another... and the people caught in the middle, who are already dying in droves.
The FSA is the main, and the largest group by far. They are also closely associated with the "government in exile" in Istanbul, recognised by Britain, the US, France and others. Bolstering their fire power would not only likely shorten the conflict but increase their credibliity.
What happens after is not certain, but it is hard to see how it could be any worse than the current situation, to say the least.
there is the crux of the problem, what happens next, why don't we simply look at what is happening in other countries that have had the same type of upheaval, oust the dictator, in comes the new order, then comes another dictator, no different in reality from the one who was ousted, killed.
We get involved where we should not, i am all for humanitarian aid for the Syrians who are caught in the middle, however i am not up for arming the rebels..
It isn't a question of ousting a dictator. Everyone knows Assad's regime has always been autocratic (despite hopeful beginnings after the demise of his father). For quite a while after the anti-regime protests started (which were almost 100% based on the call for reform and not necessaily the removal of the president), even after the repression started in earnest, the preferred option was not to see Assad leave.
Everything now is based on trying to bring as swift an end as possible to the bloodshed, which has reached epic proportions. Sometimes it is necessary to act and worry about the consequences later, although I am sure that that is already being thought about.
Cameron and Hollande haven't exactly gone out on a limb to be popular here.

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