Daily Archives: August 26, 2013

Veterans of intervention recognise the signs: a ghastly atrocity against civilians tips reluctant politicians and public opinion into action. The chemical attacks last week in the Damascus suburbs of Ghouta have echoes of the massacres in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica or more recently the imminent killing of civilians in Libya by the forces of the late dictator Muammar Qaddafi. In each case, caution is put aside as the moral and geopolitical costs of inaction appear greater than the costs of action.

Syria seems today to have reached that point. The regime’s belated agreement to let the UN weapons inspectors cross town to investigate what happened in Ghouta may reflect that it realises it risks isolating itself as a pariah. In the UK and France, commentators and politicians have made up their minds that it is time to do something about Syria. Government forces could only have instigated such an attack, with UN weapons inspectors just arrived in town, in order to seek a psychological knock-out blow against the rebels: if Bashar al-Assad can do this with impunity and still the West dithers, goes his implicit message to his opponents, then the rebels should give up on ever getting the western weapons and military support they had counted on. Continue reading »

The A-List

About this blog Blog guide
Welcome. This blog is available to subscribers only.

The A-List from the Financial Times provides timely, insightful comment on the topics that matter, from globally renowned leaders, policymakers and commentators.

Read the A-List author biographies

Subscribe to the RSS feed

To comment, please register for free with FT.com and read our policy on submitting comments.

All posts are published in UK time.

See the full list of FT blogs.

What we’re writing about

Afghanistan Asia maritime tensions carbon central banks China climate change Crimea emerging markets energy EU European Central Bank George Osborne global economy inflation Japan Pakistan quantitative easing Russia Rwanda security surveillance Syria technology terrorism UK Budget UK economy Ukraine unemployment US US Federal Reserve US jobs Vladimir Putin


Africa America Asia Britain Business China Davos Europe Finance Foreign Policy Global Economy Latin America Markets Middle East Syria World


« Jul Sep »August 2013