A report claims British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived at the United Nations on Sunday to work on a deal that could end the Syrian civil war without removing dictator Bashar Assad from power.
The UK Guardian reports some mixed signals coming from the British government. The Prime Minister and his foreign minister, Phillip Hammond, officially believe Assad “must ultimately step down but could remain for a while as part of a transitional government.”
Hammond discussed the idea of letting Assad supervise such a transition as outgoing dictator for six months or so with parliament, but “a government source said Downing Street does not have a specific timeframe in mind, raising the possibility it could be longer.”
Removing Assad from power seemed like a remote possibility after Russia began building up military forces in Syria to assist him. It sounds like the West is slowly, reluctantly coming to terms with that reality. President Obama’s offensive against ISIS in Iraq is dead in the water, while theories that the Islamic State would swiftly collapse under its own brutal mismanagement have not panned out. The notion of letting the Syrian civil war percolate forever because three regional villains—Assad, ISIS, and al-Qaeda—were bleeding each other out became unsustainable when an army of Syrian refugees marched into Europe. Europe is facing a worse existential crisis than Bashar Assad at the moment.
The reason given for Assad’s inevitable ouster sounds logical but is based on propaganda and fantasy, not reality. “The prime minister’s view is that there is not a long-term, stable, peaceful future for Syria where Syrian people can return home with President Assad as its leader, and that’s what we’ve got to work towards,” a British government source told the Guardian. “We would be open to working with other countries on a solution whereby there is a transition. We haven’t got a specific timeframe for when we think Assad should go. We’ve always been clear that there would need to be some sort of transition.”
The bulk of the refugees flowing into Europe are neither Syrian nor “refugees.” The people throwing their passports from other Middle Eastern nations into roadside ditches and falsely claiming to be Syrian don’t care whether Assad runs the country or not. The economic migrants pouring into Europe have no intention of returning to Syria no matter who controls it.
“Russia’s continued backing for Assad, including the dispatch of troops and aircraft to Syria last week, appears to be forcing the west to reconsider its position on the four-year civil war, in which the dictator is battling Islamic State and a wide variety of other insurgent groups,” writes the Guardian. It further suggests that growing British discomfort with the 0.7 percent of GDP spent on foreign aid, in a time of “austerity” cuts to domestic programs, is raising the pressure to find a solution to the Syrian situation.
“We need aid to provide life-saving support for refugees in Syria and neighboring countries so they don’t embark on perilous journeys to Europe,” Cameron declared… rather oddly, given that refugees from Syria and neighboring countries are making perilous journeys to Europe and creating perilous situations upon arrival.
The British Left wants more migrants accepted into the U.K. Their demands will grow louder as fresh thousands roll into continental Europe. Ending the Syrian civil war is the only way to ease that pressure. Bashar Assad knows that, and he’s got fresh reinforcements from his patrons to hold ISIS at bay, so he won’t be in any hurry to sign a cease-fire deal that would remove him from power.