Former UK Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, slams the Times and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) lynch mob, comprehensively:
“A ‘cabal’ is at work to deceive the British people about Syria. So says The Times. But the conspirators are not those spoken of by ‘The Thunderer’ on 27 October in a harrumphing editorial and full page of articles about a ‘cabal’ of British clerics and peers who have had the temerity to visit Syria and not join in the usual Asad-bashing. Rather the real ‘cabal’ if there is one group the FCO, which appears to have inspired the attacks by The Times and is quoted hysterically accusing the visitors to Syria of ‘endangering peace’ no less, the Murdoch-owned press, and dubious Syrian ‘activists’ anxious to disrupt an upcoming panel discussion of Syria in the House of Lords.
Taking a mandatory time out from fawning over Saudi royalty, the FCO accuses Baroness Cox’s group of being foreign policy amateurs, in contrast perhaps to the FCO geniuses who helped to bring us the Iraq war and who in 2012 predicted the ‘imminent’ demise of Asad. The group are also castigated for abetting evil. The FCO is well placed to recognise such evil, having connived for years with the House of Saud to inflict unspeakable suffering on the people of Yemen.
Were it not also sinister, it would be hilarious that the mighty panjandrums of the FCO with their acolytes in The Times have felt forced to crack down on the 81-year-old Baroness Cox and a group of clerical pensioners and peers who just happen to hold different views on Syria. It’s as though Noel Coward had been asked to imagine the scenario, transposing the treatment of dissidents in Putin’s Russia to London drawing rooms. It is absolutely pathetic.
The timing, of course, is not unconnected with the panel discussion on Syria due to take place in the House of Lords next week under the aegis of a think tank which breaks the usual establishment mold of UK think tanks, the European Centre for the Study of Extremism. This is being attacked by a Syrian activist purporting to have been ‘the last doctor out of Aleppo’ when in fact he has been accused of not using his real name, not even being a qualified doctor, and consorting with jihadi beheaders of small boys.
The game being played here is the establishment attempt to close down all discussion of Syria which might veer away from the official narrative. It is bullying and it stinks.”
Peter Ford was a British Ambassador to Syria; he is now an independent commentator on the regional and international conflicts