British government’s position on Syria is ‘shambolic, chaotic and nonsensical’

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond © Suzanne Plunkett
A strong group of moderate fighters is a fantasy that the British government needs to grow out of; they need to make a sober analysis of the situation in Syria and stop indulging in wishful thinking, says former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford.

RT: In one of your latest interviews, you called Britain's prime minister 'a serial bungler'. Could you explain why?

Peter Ford: Let’s start with Syria. The British government has been predicting the imminent downfall of President [Bashar] Assad for the last five years, they appear never to learn. Now, I am afraid, the British government has gotten themselves into a situation where they are effectively supporting some groups of jihadists while they are trying to strike other groups of jihadists. This is shambolic, chaotic and nonsensical.

Virtually, all the opposition armed groups in Syria are Islamist radicals: either ISIS or interchangeable with ISIS. The idea that there is a strong group of moderate fighters is a fantasy that the British government needs to grow out of, they need to make a cold, sober analysis of the situation in Syria and stop indulging in simple wishful thinking. They appear not to want to face up to the fact that there is a difficult choice between wishing for the survival of the present government or the deluge or the disaster of the complete Islamist takeover in Syria.

RT: Britain has dropped its demands for Assad to go immediately. Does it mean the UK may eventually agree to work with Assad, at least in the short-term?

PF: I think that the British government is trying to tiptoe away from this position that they got themselves stuck with. Now, again they are beginning to talk about putting up with Assad for a so-called transition period. This is marginally better than for the position of just a week ago when the mantra from David Cameron was “Assad must go.” But it is still not facing up to the reality that they have no substitute. You notice that they are careful never to spell out what they see as the successor arrangement to the present government. And why? Because they don’t know.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.