Our Syria policy has been a failure for years

We won't ever have a Chilcot-style inquiry into our non-intervention. Perhaps we should.


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 Up to 100 people have been killed and more injured following a sarin attack in Syria, which, according to the Foreign Office, bears all the hallmarks of being from Bashar Al-Assad's government.

"Two war crimes in one day: first killed, then bombed" is the i's splash. "Children gassed as they slept" is the Metro's, "Outrage against Assad after nerve gas attack" is the Times, while "Assad Gassing Kids Again" is the Mirror's.

The US, France and our own government are calling on the UN to "investigate" the attack. As a symbol as to how little that's worth, and how little Western politicians have done in the face of Assad's crimes, members of the Syrian diaspora are giving out nosepegs to symbolise Western inaction.

The grim truth is that our Syria policy has been a failure for the best part of a decade long. Four years after Ed Miliband "stopped the rush to war" we see how ludicrous that claim was. Now that Donald Trump, who regards Assad as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, in the region, is in the White House, the chances of any serious consequences for his regime have flickered down from "slim" to "non-existent".

Instead, we're counting down the years until a Secretary of State for International Trade stands at the steps of a palace, and salutes a President, who fought a terrible, hard war against "domestic insurgents" and praises his commitment to anti-jihadism. We won't ever have a Chilcot-style inquiry into our non-intervention in Syria. Perhaps we should.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.