Despite vociferous opposition from British MPs and the clamoring protest of British protesters outside the parliament Prime Minister David Cameron has pulled it off — another vote by another western nation to make war and bring ruin to the Middle East that is. Its nothing new and this vote went forward before the world knowing, more than ever before, that bombing ISIS/ISIL targets in Raqqa, Syria irrevocably means killing civilians, and cannot ISIS anyway. The sheer criminality and foolish enterprise inherent in bombing Syria and Iraq has already costed over 4,000 civilians lives since the US and other wester nations started bombing there in 2011. After the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Russia has been joined by France, and now the UK as the latest heroes of the “civilized world.”
And yet this does not tell the whole story. One hundred years ago (beginning 1915) it was Britain, France and the USSR who were bombing Syria and dismantling the Ottoman Empire into the highly volatile Middle Eastern states we have today. The trio was known as the “Triple Entene.” 1915 and the aftermath of World War I set the precedent for so many of the conflicts re-awoken in the region today: disenfranchising Sunni Arabs (by abolishing the caliphate), suppressing Kurdish independence and creating artificial borders now refashioned by ISIS.
History compels us to ask, what really are the trio doing in Syria? Bombing ISIS (and civilians) — sure. But, this new round of aerial bombardment in 2015 is part of a much larger context, one in which the UK, France and Russia are forcibly, violently — desperately — trying to put their century old Humpty Dumpty back together again. They scarcely notice, or care, that their belligerence in the region has created Frankenstein’s monster instead. What part of Frankenstein’s monster do we hazard to replace now? What border in Syria and Iraq does the New Triple Entente seek to erase and re-create? The game is doomed to fail.
Syria was lost years ago, when every single one of its neighbors penetrated her borders to make war. The questions now — from a historical perspective — is, what will the next Sykes-Picot (1916) looks like? When is the next Treat of Versailles (1919)? At what point will dividing and conquering the Middle East truly become the stuff of un-harming history text books, and not the most dangerous series of global military blunders in the 21st century?