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Peter Ford: The “Permanent Government” Imperial War on Syria & World

Posted on Mar 21, 2019 by in Podcast |

Retired British Ambassador to Bahrain and Syria Peter Ford discusses the Syrian War and its latest developments, including attempts to try Bashar al-Assad at the ICC. He describes the “permanent government” of the U.S. which is a key driver of the war, as well as America’s European counterparts such as France and Britain, who still cling to the coattails of their imperial past glory. Ambassador Ford believes Gulf unity is shattered and that Syria will remain weak, but will slowly rebuild in the coming years.

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Podcast: This is the Geopolitics and Empire podcast, and we’re talking to retired British diplomat and ambassador to Bahrain and Syria, Peter Ford. He is also the Director of the British Syrian Society. We will be discussing the war in Syria, the US and European foreign policy of regime change, the media propaganda that enables it, and what we can expect to see in the future.

Podcast: It’s great to have you on, Ambassador Ford.

Peter Ford: Thank you for having me, I look forward to our dialogue. show

Show Notes

Peter Ford Speech, Panel Discussion, House of Lords, March 2019

About Peter Ford

Peter William Ford (born 27 June 1947) is a retired British diplomat who was ambassador to Bahrain from 1999–2003 and to Syria from 2003–2006.

Ford was educated at Weston Point Community Primary School, Helsby Grammar School and The Queen’s College, Oxford.

Having finished his Arabic studies he worked in Beirut, Riyadh, Paris and Cairo before being appointed British ambassador to Bahrain as well as Syria from 2003-06.

Retiring from the Diplomatic Service in 2006, he became Representative of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in the Arab world.

In February 2017, Ford became a Director of the British Syrian Society, alongside President Assad’s father-in-law Dr Fawaz Akhras.

In 2003, as ambassador to Bahrain, Ford says he sent critical memoranda to London before the Iraq War. Later, he regretted not having been more outspoken. In his time in Damascus (2003-2006), he says he distanced himself more and more from the official policies.

Since 2006, he has been criticised as a defender of the Syrian government in Syria. In 2016, he suggested opposition forces were responsible for an attack on a UN humanitarian convoy in September 2016 which led to the deaths of 10 humanitarians. A UN panel of inquiry said the attack was conducted from the air, and only Syrian and Russian air forces were operating in the area. The UN panel stated “that it did not have evidence to conclude that the incident was a deliberate attack on a humanitarian target”.

He accused the British government of lies and political mistakes in Syria from the onstart of the uprising, thus aggravating the situation. He argued that Prime Minister David Cameron should have either committed British forces or refrained from encouraging opposition forces from mounting a campaign against the Syrian government. Ford believes that the British leaders expected an early end of the Syrian government and overestimated the strength of the moderate opposition, whom they did not provide with sufficient help.

Ford argued that the fall of Assad would open a “Pandora’s box”, repeating the mistakes of Libya and Iraq. In his opinion, the fall of the Syrian government would lead to the massacres of Christians, Shias, Alawites, Druze and other minorities.

On the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, he commented to the BBC that “there [had] been no investigation.. not a dodgy dossier – we’ve not seen any dossier whatever this time”. Ford argued there was no proof of the Syrian government’s involvement in the attack.

Ford participated in the EuroCE conference on the future of Syria from 5 to 6 April 2017 which was criticised by dissidents as pro-Assad, because among the speakers there were Syrian politicians and supporters of the Assad government. At the conference Ford described the British policy as “incoherent and grotesque”, and accused the British government of being among those in the front rank of destroying Syria. He added that following the Iraq War he had been under regular instructions to remonstrate with the Syrians over the flow of jihadis into Iraq, but said he understood the Syrian government’s point of view.

*Podcast intro music is from the song “The Queens Jig” by “Musicke & Mirth” from their album “Music for Two Lyra Viols”: (available on iTunes or Amazon)