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British Counter-Intelligence expert Richard Barrett: Western nations have acted 'a bit too late' in Syria

June 10th, 2014
11:30 AM ET

By Henry Hullah

The inaction of the West has prompted Muslims from across the globe to make the treacherous journey to Syria to join the even more dangerous civil war that has been waged for almost two years.

12,000 fighters have flooded Syria, more even than went to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, have created a violent reaction in western nations known as 'blowback'.

British Counter-Intelligence expert and veteran Intelligence officer Richard Barrett told Amanpour that "In many ways, the Western nations, as Mr. Brahimi suggested, are in a bit of a bind here. What is the correct policy to conduct towards Syria? And I think the retiring ambassador, Robert Ford, also suggested this. It's now a bit too late. But with hindsight, you would have done things differently. But that's always the way. And very, very hard now for Western nations to correct a policy which would satisfy all their citizens that they were doing the right thing."

Amanpour asked if there was any way the U.K., France or even the United States could prevent foreign fighters in Syria returning and encouraging domestic terrorism.

"I mean, there's a big difference I think about being motivated to go as a foreign fighter and coming back as a domestic terrorist. But nonetheless, it doesn't take many. And if it's only 1 percent of 3,000 people already and counting, then that's going to be quite a problem".

This fear has been particularly prevalent in Barrett's homeland, the United Kingdom, where a report released by Ofsted (an official body for inspecting schools) warned of a 'Trojan Horse'; where school children in the Muslim heartland of Birmingham are at risk of religious indoctrination.

Barrett added the way counter this is teaching tolerance. A “sort of basic acceptance that there are other people with other points of view and that you have to tolerate that", Barrett said.

"If schools diverge from that and if schools begin to push a particular line to the exclusion of others so they isolate those children within society, well, that's clearly a very bad thing indeed."

 


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria • United Kingdom
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Payton Hill

    I just watched a news broadcast of an interview with a Syrian rebel leader. He claims that the United States should have steped in and acted sooner. I say to this that I am tired of everyone assuming the United States should step in and solve everyones problems. This is an issue of civil war and this situation is dangerous not only for Syrians but for those nations that choose to step in. Gernany and other countries have allowed Syrian refugees to seek out their borders and are attempting to help them integrate into these other nations. The United States should not have done more and can not be the answer each and every time there is civil unrest. Its not a blanket solution that will eliminate anything, it will only cause more people to act against the United States.

    June 11, 2014 at 3:45 am | Reply

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