Latest, News, Our Picks, Sections

Here’s what you need to know about ‘Syrian exile’ groups

Exile groups like the so-called "Friends of Syria" group, which recently had a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, exist to tell Western leaders what they want to hear.

It’s always somewhat amusing to see a clearly stupid individual pretend to be the opposite. A recent example of this was obscure US presidential candidate Gary Johnson interviewed on live television and not knowing what Aleppo is (let alone where). But what about an actually intelligent man going out of his way to look stupid?

Long before he was a global figure known for insulting Chinese culture in China and getting stuck on a zip cable above a park in London, Boris Johnson was something of an insightful political commentator. Whilst the ethics of some of his journalism were questionable, his analytical works were often superb, demonstrating a wide ranging knowledge of global cultures.

Because of this, it is scarcely believable when Boris Johnson comes out with ridiculous statements that belie his actually knowledge. A prime example was during his infamous Brexit campaign where his economic strategy for a post-EU Britain was to sell the French cakes whilst producing French style undergarments. But now the joke has gone too far.

Recently Mr. Johnson issued ridiculous statements harshly criticising Russia’s support for the government of Syria and the legal intervention in President Assad’s legitimate war against terrorism. Specifically he spoke of Russia’s aid of Syria as ‘indefensible’.

No, Boris, what is indefensible is supporting terrorist groups by pretending they are killing civilians in the name of democracy and then burying your own head in the sand when a 12 year old Arab Muslim is beheaded by these terrorists for being a ‘spy’.

But the stupidity goes even further.

These remarks came after Boris Johnson met with a group calling itself ‘Friends of Syria’.

For those unfamiliar with the subterfuge of ex-pat politics in London, here’s what you need to know. Any small group of men or women who look like Arabs, have a cursory knowledge of Syrian history and can claim some sort of Syrian heritage (however vague or even untrue) can form a political pressure group and be taken seriously. If the group’s aims are even slightly in line with government policy, one can easily get a meeting with a Member of Parliament and if the ex-pat group is from a country going through war, one can even meet a Cabinet member like Boris Johnson.

Sure enough, when one Googles ‘Friends of Syria’ one cannot trace the existence of the group Mr. Johnson met with. There are in fact a number of groups calling themselves ‘Friends of Syria’, and many of them are actually pro-Assad.

For those who remain unconvinced by the ease with which one can convince a member of the British Parliament that their ex-pat political pressure group carries any kind of political weight, just look to Russia.

Imagine if you will a middle-weight Russian businessman who did some dodgy deals and didn’t pay his dues to the Russian tax man. At this very moment, the man realises that he’s not a crooked businessman after all; instead he is an oppressed millionaire political dissident who seeks to lead a harrowing campaign against President Putin.

He uses this story in order to move to London where he’ll take time out of his busy day drinking champagne in Knightsbridge to give interviews to the British press who refer to him as a ‘leading Russian opposition figure’, in spite of the fact that he’s not a household name in his own country.

Although there is a silly element to the fact that these Russian losers are taken seriously by members of the British establishment, when it comes to Syria there is a far greater danger.

Russia is a stable state and one of the strongest in the world. No amount of temper tantrums by self-appointed leaders of a fake opposition group will have any impact on events in Russia.

With Syria this is not the case. Syria is sadly no longer a stable state and when British politicians lend credibility and have policy influenced by unofficial groups of self-interested individuals ready to lead a ‘democratic revolution’ from the safety of a basement flat below a London Kebab shop, it shows how spurious and capricious Western policy makers have become.

This is why the Russian example of only working with official state bodies and proper international bodies like the United Nations, is the only legitimate, effective and honest way of conducting international affairs.

Deep down Boris Johnson knows this, he knows a great deal. Prior to becoming foreign secretary he even praised Russia’s aid to Syria in liberating Palmyra from ISIS occupation.

Unlike the other Johnson in America, Boris knows where Aleppo is. Perhaps the world would be better if he did not?

Previous ArticleNext Article