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Bishop urges govt not to arm Syrian rebels: The Church of England Newspaper, June 23, 2013 p 7. June 27, 2013

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Arming Syria’s rebels will make a bad situation worse, the Bishop of Bristol has warned. “The history of the Middle East seems to be that today’s allies are tomorrow’s enemies.  Remember Iraq”, the Rt Rev Mike Hill wrote on his blog at the diocesan website on 14 June 2013.

The situation in Syria was bleak he observed. The Civil War between the asylum regime and the Islamist dominated opposition has led to 90,000 deaths. The use of chemical weapons by the regime was a “truly shocking way for any Government to behave and is totally inexcusable, “ and could escalate beyond the bounds of Syria.

“When I heard that our Government had been complicit in lifting the ban on sending arms to the ‘rebels’ in Syria, I was worried,” Bishop Hill wrote.

“Surely such a move brings with it some unmanageable risks.  Will sending more lethal weapons in to Syria mean more deaths not less?  What kind of Trojan Horse is the rebel movement?  What different interests lurk within their ranks? There is plenty of evidence that both sides of this conflict have been involved in atrocities.  How do we guarantee that these arms will only fall into the hands of ‘moderates’?  What will happen to all these weapons when, please God, the fighting comes to an end?  These are questions that need to be answered,” before arms are sent to Syria, he said.

The best way forward “is to work with Syria’s allies to bring about a ceasefire,” he argued.

While negotiations have so far failed to end the fighting “I would rather we kept trying this course of action rather than send more weapons to a bewilderingly complex situation.”

“I have seen first-hand the disorder that follows civil war.  Even when conflict ends, people retain their weapons, ‘just in case…’  The result is a violent and potentially ungovernable society.  Syria already has this and it’s time for the international community to bring this bloodshed to an end, not add to it or sow the seeds for future instability,” Bishop Hill said.

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