A recommended reading list for someone wishing to understand what is really going on in the Syrian conflict would probably go back a few hundred years, but historically events of the last sixty odd give a good background.

 There are multiple strands to the conflict, and although the ‘sectarian conflict’ side gets much emphasis in our media, geopolitics and the competing agendas of colonial powers form the main basis of an understanding. The significance of the flag under which the armed opposition is fighting is more than symbolic – it is the old Syrian flag of French rule, and France has played probably the key role in supporting the exiled and external Opposition.

 At the same time, our media tells us that Russia is the foreign power interfering in Syrian affairs, and with ‘business’ interests to protect; the US and UK, France and Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia merely share ‘security’ interests, and seek to protect the Syrian people from Syria’s allies. As elsewhere in this affair, the truth is the opposite; NATO and Gulf states have an agenda of self interest, and a desire to expand their spheres of influence against Russia and Iran.

 Experienced diplomat and ex-MI6 officer Alastair Crooke, now based in Beirut, explained this essential background and context in 2011 – it is all part of ‘The Great Game’ :


Just recently, investigative reporter Russ Baker has considered the possible reasons for the moves by Qatar and its NATO allies to bring Syria into the fold of Western puppet states; this time it’s not OIL, as in Iraq, but GAS:


We’ll be posting a series of significant articles giving an alternative perspective on this page, both selecting from the hundreds published over the last two years and adding new ones as they appear.