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Syria Air Strikes – Are Bombs the Way…

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I would like to begin with mention and introduction to the most important factors surrounding the complicated topic of Air Bombing Campaigns. It seems that too often the way is always The Bombing way – Bombs away, bombs away, bombs away!

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Air Strikes

The Governments across the World have been doing this for too long; when will this mad and crazy envisaged and implemented notion stop where so many innocent civilians die and often lives are destroyed for many years if not completely. I can write about this with confidence as I have spoken to people who wish to remain anonymous who have lived in fear of bombs and have had to rebuild homes as well as see family members and friends die from the carnage caused by air strikes.

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Terrorism

Air Strikes have not stopped Terrorism instead fueled it, and it was argued by many that it is an effective approach in combating Terrorism, an argument which now holds less strength, in a World where we’ve seen more Terrorism since 9/11.

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Nuclear weapons / Chemical Attacks

Instead Governments should say away with bombs, away with Nuclear weapons, however I would like to focus for now on how The World should say no to these horrific air bombing campaigns.

The war in Syria is the worst exodus since the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago. Especially with Assad’s use of chemical gas/weapons and most recently with a chemical chlorine attack.

Human Rights

England and many other Western and non-Western countries talk of human rights and being countries integral to Religion with Peace and Harmony at its centrality. Surely causing destruction in other countries caused by these campaigns are far from Peaceful and with ones’ Human Rights on point.

There needs to be some perspective in these situations and the public have shown there concern on many occasions with protests too. Many people signed the petitions to stop the action of bombing in Syria. Which has also been a catalyst to more refugees fleeing the country.

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Public Awareness/Division

The UK public seemed divided on Bombing on Syria as were the MP’s who voted whether to launch air strikes in Syria; significantly this division was seen in the BR-EXIT where those wanting to remain in the EU were closely matched to the numbers to exit, whose main rhetoric was about the influx of immigrants many of whom would obviously be refugees to the UK fleeing Syria. Anti-war demonstrators gathered outside Downing Street and other locations across the UK to make their voice heard, after so many setbacks from the previous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq surely many felt that this war in Syria would have the same outcome.

The UK government’s case is built on the argument that bombing would disrupt the ability of Isis to organize attacks in Europe, while containing the extremist group by denying it territory and access to finance, primarily through oil exports.

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Russian Controversy

Russia has been poor in setting an example, by going all out and bombing everywhere across Syria. The UK and US did not waste much time in bombing Syria either and they were quick to push ahead with their campaigns. President Assad is still in charge in Syria and his cruel regime is still using chemical weapons on the innocent civilians. With President Assad still in power the US and the UK will have seen this as a failure although they may say it is still too soon to title this war as such.

Russia’s President Putin has been backing Assad to stay as President and this has become a confusing combination in the war in Syria with air strikes happening from every direction, targeting US and Turkish fighters as well as anyone seen to oppose the regime currently in place with Bashr Al Assad at the top; the civilians on the ground would obviously find it difficult to differentiate between US, UK, French and Russian planes, and as a result are living with death all around them whilst trying to survive being bombed on a regular basis.

Russian air strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas, striking homes, mosques and a busy markets, as well as medical facilities, in a pattern of attacks that show evidence of violations of international humanitarian law, says ‘Amnesty International’.

“The number of civilian casualties from Russian bombardment is far higher than the number caused by American and French airstrikes,” said Wael Aleji, spokesman for the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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Destruction

There needs to be a leading nation for promoting Peace and instead of engaging in War there has to be further interest in investing against Terrorism. The UK has been bombed in the bygone past when Germany used aerial bombing strikes.

It seems as if those memories need to be related to now, even more so now. How can the insensitivity of bombs which nowadays with all the modern technology available are even more dangerous not be banned all together.

Power in the missiles launched cause mass damage and have huge radius, despite claims that they are precision based strikes there are many innocent civilian casualties in every strike. The destruction happening is reminiscent of the past whether it be Pearl Harbour, Germany bombing the UK, or Iraq and Afghanistan and other middle east countries like Iran and Lebanon.

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Financial Interests

Behind this facade of helping the innocent civilians through bombing campaigns there is the sinister situation where the rich nations are profiting from the sales in modern weaponry and aerial bombs, the arms industry is worth billions and the Governments around the World benefit from this lucrative business trading and buying and selling; once the destructive damage has been done by dropping bombs, the Governments award contracts to rebuild, the UK and US did this in Iraq making money from contracts given to corporations within the UK and US who are often donors to Governments in Power.

The economies of the countries conducting the rebuilding on such a mass scale has a rewarding effect on their economy.

New airports are re-built, buildings, military bases, etc all bring in business; not to mention oil from these countries exported at extortionate prices. These war torn countries economies suffer as a result of this exploitation and this effects its citizens directly.

The Guardian News titled one of their articles in 2013 : “Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern.” The article went on to say that “Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines.” It also mentioned the reliance on Middle East oil :

“The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized… For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources… The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

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Syria’s People – Refugee Crisis

Moving away from financial aspects, I would like to focus on the people aspect however; a recent statistic from Syria provided by Mercy Corps is :

“Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.”

And the UN says millions of Syrians need our help, According to the U.N., it will take £5 billion to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Syrians in 2016. The U.N. estimates that 6.6 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, well over half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders.

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Conflict and Children

Mercy Corps also says of the conflict and bombing that:

“More than five years after it began, the full-blown civil war has killed over 250,000 people, half of whom are believed to be civilians. Bombings are destroying crowded cities and horrific human rights violations are widespread. In October 2015, Russia began launching airstrikes at ISIS targets in Syria. The bombings have continued, so far killing at least 2,000 civilians and forcing even more Syrians to flee for safety.”

Syrians are now the largest refugee population in the world. Almost 5 million Syrians have registered or are awaiting registration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is leading the regional emergency response. According to the UN, more than half of all Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. Most have been out of school for months, if not years.

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Twitter Controversy

Anti-Isis activist group ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ warned on Twitter that airstrikes which kill civilians undermine the fight against Isis and they said of the bombings – “Congratulations to the Coalition u have a new 160 #ISIS new fighters who will join the fight against u after u kill 160 civilian ##Manbij”

Population decline

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution (2011), there have been more than 115 thousand civilian casualties and 5 percent of all deaths in Syria are caused by terrorist attacks. Due to the high number of casualties, millions of people have fled Syria and in 2014, Syria had one of the the highest population decline rates in the world.

Al-Tukhar & Manbij strikes

Most recently was the bombing of Al-Tukhar and Manbij which has resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria.

“There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

Terrorist Trouble

Bombing hinders the innocent Syrian civilians and at publishing the bombing still continues; Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said of the bombings that “In Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Mosul, Isis is living almost totally among civilians, so you can’t hit them.”

He pointed out that thousands of foreign jihadi had managed to travel to and from Syria for the past few years through Turkey and questioned the wisdom of now trying to stop militants with bombs when they could have been stopped with tighter border controls. The Paris conspirators, including the presumed ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, were able to travel between Belgium, France and Syria while the US-led airstrikes targeting Isis command and control were in full swing.

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Legality & War Crimes

The legality of the War in Syria has also been questioned after the world has witnessed foreign intervention, as to who wanted President Assad removed and whether the international bombings in Syria have contributed to human rights violations.

“Some Russian air strikes appear to have directly attacked civilians or civilian objects by striking residential areas with no evident military target and even medical facilities, resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians. Such attacks may amount to war crimes,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

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Syria’s Economy after Foreign Intervention

“The medium-term macroeconomic prospects hinge on containing the war and finding a political resolution to the conflict, and rebuilding the damaged infrastructure and social capital. Violence continues to disrupt the production and distribution of goods and services, and impedes economic activity. Barring a cessation of the conflict, the country’s human and physical capital stock is expected to continue to shrink.” (worldbank.org)

The conflict has significantly damaged the country’s public and private assets including health, education, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture, transportation, housing and other infrastructure. The Syria Center for Policy Research estimated that, for the whole country, the destruction of physical infrastructure amounted to $75 billion. The UN estimated that it would need an investment of $180 billion to bring Syrian GDP back to pre-conflict levels.

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Conclusion

After having spoken to a Syrian gentlemen who lived 19 years in Syria and then moved to the UK; he told me he was upset and saddened to see what was happening in Syria he said that the political complexities are so vast that everyone seems confused about the situation, and the foreign intervention has not helped anything; “I am angered by the amount of civilians dying in Foreign Air Strikes, this war is about more than Assad, if the West wanted him out it would have happened by now. Instead he still lives in the comfort of Syria and is still using chemical weapons.”

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I would like to conclude with a part of the conversation which really summed up my concern for Syrians being bombed in these horrific air strikes;

“You don’t think about these air strikes till it happens to you or your family or friends, before you accept these bombings from all sides you should really think about the devastation, what if this happened to you, that’s when you really feel it, before it happens to you give some thought to those being bombed and try and make a difference, stand up for the Syrians.”

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India’s submergence in Water, Poverty, Smog and the list goes on …

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India’s Submergence and future emergence is the topic of this post, however I would first like to draw to attention the monsoon rains which are economically important to India when they fall in fair amounts is good for Agriculture with 17% of the population relying on the rains as a means for profit and survival within the agriculture industry.

Unfortunately I mentioned the monsoon early on with the natural flooding disaster which is a sad state to see happening right now in Chennai; where floods have taken hundreds of lives and where two-thousand residents have been evacuated. Many poor people living in wood built homes have been left homeless and many have lost everything including their lives. The Indian Government have come in for criticism for building to close to the rivers which are seen as a reason for the substantial levels of water, with bad drainage and architectural planning taking criticism.

Prime-minister Narendra Modi fresh from his visits to Britain and France (which I will mention more about later) has gone to see for himself the devastation that has been caused in Chennai.

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India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed India’s fourth largest city (Chennai) that the government had released 9.4 billion rupees ($141 million) for flood relief and restoration. Mr. Modi went on to announce an additional 10 billion rupees for relief operations, he said:

“The Government of India stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of need.” Chennai formerly known as Madras is said to have been impacted by the effects of climate change, Mr Modi claims, however this could be an attempt to shy away from ongoing criticism of his Governments handling of the situation and the lack of taking onboard that much of the flooded land is low in level and that this should have been flagged as a danger to Chennai early on to prevent the crisis coming to people wading through the depths of muddy water amongst snakes and debris.

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As Modi was leaving Britain onto his next stop in France for the Climate Conference, rain was beginning to fall continuously across Scotland, David Cameron spoke a week later about the mass floods’ in Scotland (which are still ongoing) and attributed the floods to Climate Change too, although he too came under criticism for the same reasons as Prime-Minister Modi in India.

In France there have been many events occurring such as the awful terrorist incidents, immediately followed by the UN Climate Change Conference held in France near Paris.

The conclusions after these events were a declared war by France on the terrorist organisation responsible (Daesh).

Also a new 1.5 to a Max of 2.0 warming limit has been drafted by the countries involved in the UN Climate Change Conference, the Coalition of about 100 developed and developing countries could have some influence over nations less willing to sign up to a truly ambitious deal due to be finalised soon.

The US have set out an aim for the 1.5 warming limit for the climate, however countries like Africa and India have said that it is not fair that they take the burden of the developed countries who have for the most part developed at the cost of polluting the skies, whilst expecting the undeveloped countries to put their poor people aside and take the burden to clear the airs.

Although the developing countries want to work with greener energy they are still set on the route of fossil fuels like coal to continue burning and stressing that the onus is on the developed countries to cut their emissions and assist in greener development in the undeveloped world.

The UN Climate Change conference has seen most countries asked to answer to the call for a legally binding, fair, durable agreement in Paris that must set a long-term goal, be reviewed every five years and include a system for tracking progress.

India receive aid from the UK and on the back of this Conference taking place many of the British Tabloid and broadsheet papers had eye catching headlines highlighting that the UK gives hundreds of millions in Pounds of Aid to India. Britain gave India nearly £300million in financial aid last year despite pledges by ministers to end the handouts.

India became the second highest recipient of Britain’s aid spending after its funding rose by £10million to nearly £279million, more than Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Syria. Conservative MPs said the amount of taxpayer’s money being given to one of the World’s fastest growing economies is “ridiculous”. India has its own space programme and recently unveiled plans to spend more than £10billion on a fleet of new warships and submarines. “A country with its own space programme does not need aid from us” said Sir Gerald Howarth, Conservative Party Member of Parliament.

Japan gives more in Aid to India than the UK and Germany and the US are said to be giving more in the future which will outdwarf that of the UK.

It sounds unfair that although the developed world have brought about their ease of development through fossil fuels that they can then turn around and expect the opposite from the undeveloped nations. Although India is being helped in aid it is to promote greener cleaner use and implementation of green energy.

It was reported recently that Uruguay now have a solely green energy for the country with 100% renewable energy being used to provide electricity.

The leaders of 30 of the world’s poorest countries said they wanted the world to be 100 per cent renewable by 2050 at the UN Climate Conference.

Renewable energy and climate targets will be a key theme of these talks in the future. There is a major push by poorer nations for their – and the world’s – energy needs to be supplied by renewable energy, as part of their insistence that the climate target be tightened to prevent average warming of more than 1.5C.

India is focusing on strong solar power generated energy, yet it is being said that India may cause an upset in Paris at the UN Climate Conference, with a possibility that they may not play ball in the talks or come to agreement with other countries.

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When will India eradicate poverty and be a key developed country and emerge to be a real Superpower who talks the talk and walks the walk. Prime-Minister Modi before being elected campaigned on the reforms he would bring in and ensure that India will continue to develop at a leading economic rate which they are continuing to do, despite China’s slight slow-down. Modi has made it clear that he will continue as China and Africa will be doing to continue relying on fossil fuels whilst slowly working towards greener and renewable energy.

With PM – Modi it seems his nationalism is what is driving him and he is intent on driving the country to the best possible rise in economy, not a graceful rise but a rise by any means for Modi; India has recently seen pollution that is worse than China’s smog in places like Delhi. Is it right that India are saying that fossil fuels are essential in bringing the poor out of poverty or is it a case that to fund the green projects is less profitable even though green renewable is the right thing for the long-term as it is sustainable and clean.

Government official was quoted as saying “We’ve taken more care for nature than the earlier regime.” The introduction of an air pollution monitoring system, a revision of emission norms and a bill to plant trees in degraded forest areas.

India is not doing enough and have made the talks in Paris seemingly look like it is all about money, and in this world it is always about money to every Country around the globe. The British empire were selfish when they raided India and left it in a worse position economically before they arrived. It will be interesting to see how India reduce its carbon footprint and poverty by 2020, it is a choice that they will decide whether to act on the aforementioned or not.

David Cameron went all out for PM Modi’s arrival to the UK and this was because he wants to promote more investment and trade between the two nations, can the former colonial empire/power work well with India, already TATA’s success in the UK with Jaguar and Land Rover is a symbol of success between the two. India may choose to invest more in the UK and also vice-versa although the Indian market is still seen as difficult to break into for UK companies wanting to expand into the lucrative Indian market.

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train2Before I conclude on some positives about India, I would like to note that there are many upsetting things in relation with India – (the list as mentioned in the title) :

  • Natural Disasters
  • Smog/Pollution/Emissions
  • Poverty still not eliminated although being considered as a superpower
  • Corruption in all areas of governance and black money
  • Banning of NGO’s like Greenpeace India amongst 5,000 other banned NGO’s
  • Forest cutting bad for the environment bad for the Tigers and projects like WWF Tiger
  • Human Rights Abuse not just in India but also in Nepal
  • Internet over-regulated and censored
So does India allow itself to get submerged with all the negatives or does it try and make many improvements along the road of continual support and progress for the betterment of the country and its people, through good governance rather than the nationalistic approach Modi has taken to and feels restricted and promised to, after all he wants to keep his promises.
Contrastingly the positives are that India is one of the biggest contributors to the UN and one of the main contributors to the UN Peacekeeping forces of the UN.
The Times of India’s recent headline is that: At 7.3% in 2016, India to remain fastest growing economy: UN – Times of India
Also India has just contracted Japan to build a Bullet train system from Mumbai to Ahmedabad which will reduce travelling time from 8 hours to 2 hours, India was also considering China for the contract however Japan nipped it to the finish line in this race; it is hoped it will continue to push the Indian and Japan economies and create more jobs.

I hope to have given you all an insight into India as it is leading into 2016 on some of the most important aspects, what Incentives will India choose to act upon and how they go about it will be a point of focus by many nations as India is clearly a key player in the future, it is a leader in its region already, whether it remains in the future depends on Modi for now and his successors; Technology company IBM has said India needs better governance too if it is to be a real leader in the 21st Century.

Will India make it to a Developed nation and be a real superpower, will India set a stable platform on which to lead on, before rushing into a super pose, as Modi seems to be doing a lot of. When will India re-emerge and emerge as a real force for the future, only time will tell, although going by India’s economic performance it can be done and substance will be key, alongside key alliances for economic trade and progress.

India will be a focus and how it emerges in 2016 will be interesting to see.

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Written by Raj

December 11, 2015 at 3:51 am

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