Billions in Aid, But No Closer to the End

The largest amount of money raised in the shortest time ever for one of the worlds greatest humanitarian crisis.

World leaders pledged more than $10 billion to help Syrians affected by the conflict which has engulfed the nation for 5 years.

This was announced by David Cameron at a Syrian donors’ conference hosted in London, he said that the money will provide Syrians with, “Life saving food, medical care and shelter.”

The gathering of 70 nations was described as a great success by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and said, “Never has the international community raised so much money on a single day for a single crisis”. Among the Countries and organisations to commit to the fund included, UK, Germany, France, USA, Australia, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Japan, the UAE, Austria, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark and Finland, along with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Loans to neighbouring countries Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan would also be given in order to support the governments and also to allow the refugees jobs and access to education in those nations.

However, despite the success of the conference, it is still an incredibly dangerous and implicated problem being faced by a country ripped apart by conflict.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “After five years of fighting, it’s pretty incredible that as we come here in London, the situation on the ground is actually worse, not better…If people are reduced to eating grass and leaves and killing stray animals in order to survive, that’s something that should tear at the conscience of all civilised people and we all have a responsibility to respond to it.”

The war is no closer to coming to an end and it is only likely to get worse before it gets any better.

The regime of President Bashar al Assad has used the last 10 days of London talks and diplomacy aimed at ending the conflict, to intensify air strikes by its Russian ally against rebel-held areas.

The effects on the rebels have been catastrophic. Their main supply route from Aleppo to Turkey has now been cut.

Blame for this turn of events has been laid towards the Kremlin.
David Cameron said: “We must urgently redouble our efforts to prevent the intolerable levels of violence against civilians, ensuring all parties in the conflict bring an immediate end to the ongoing violations of international humanitarian law… And we look to Russia to use its influence with the regime to end indiscriminate attacks, especially barrel bombing…Russia should support steps towards a ceasefire as envisaged by the Vienna process and mandated by the UN Security Council”

But this is only part of the bloody tapestry of Syria’s complex conflict.

Russia would be critical in bringing the Assad regime to peace talks and to getting a ceasefire ahead of effective diplomacy.

But Turkey has been blocking Kurd participation in the political process.

The Kurds are one of the most reliable partners for the American-led coalition fighting  Islamic State, and yet they are being bombed by Turkey – which is pledged to fight IS, too.

Gulf nations have given substantial humanitarian donations – yet they continue to sponsor extremist militia like the al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front which is both fighting Mr Assad and seen as a terrorist group in the West.

 

The complexity and confusion regarding the war and conflict with so many different angles and perspectives is why there are no signs for an end to the conflict. Despite the generosity in funds and donations, if there can’t be a diplomatic solution then Syrians and the following refugees will continue to suffer.

ISIS Fighters get a Pay Cut

It seems the coalitions’ air strikes and fighting being carried out by ground forces are starting to take a toll on ISIS. At least, on their source of income.

A document produced by the vicious terrorist organisations financial arm, says that it has been forced to cut the salaries of its murderous fighters by 50%. With indications that the group is struggling to make ends meet after losing territory and oil revenue.

It is reported that Islamic State generates around $80 million dollars a month through tax, oil sales and trading illegal drugs.

The US-led coalition has been mainly focused on targeting the Islamic State’s oil income – which makes up about 43 per cent of overall revenue, alongside this RAF air strikes have significantly degraded the group’s refining capacity, and ability to transport oil via tanker convoys. These tactics are now beginning to show signs of fruition.

A “cash distribution centre” reportedly used to pay fighters was recently bombed by the international coalition in Mosul, destroying millions of dollars stored there.

According to the document released by the Treasury Ministry of ISIS, fighters will now get just £100 a month because of these “exceptional circumstances”.

 

The news that ISIS is beginning to show struggle over it’s finances is a small, but important step to suggest that the attacks on the death cult are working.

Cuts to fighters’ salaries, price hikes on electricity and other basic services, and the introduction of new agricultural taxes will surely start to harm the groups influence and popularity as it attempts to establish itself over it’s claimed territories.

 

£100k Missiles?

Brimstone missiles, the jewel of the RAF.

Cost: £100,000.

Times Used in Syria: 4

The targets: Cranes and a truck…

The Brimstone missile is ‘the most accurate, precision strike product on the market’, it is one of the RAFs most prized assets, with only Saudi Arabia being the other country to have them in their arsenal.

Having a greater degree of accuracy, especially when aimed at moving targets, as well as having a low risk of collateral damage, these missiles were one of the key arguments as to why the UK should be involved with other countries in air strikes on Syria.

However, so far in the air strikes in Syria they have only been used against a few cranes and trucks, and this to me is not enough justification of dropping £100,000 each time.

I am 100% for using these in the battle to fight ISIS and extremism, however I feel the use of Brimstone Missiles should be reserved for more high profile and ‘rewarding’ targets…