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February 24, 2013 11:03 pm
From Ms Diana Darke.
Sir, David Gardner’s Global Insight (“Syria in chaos as west shows a lack of will to arm rebels”, February 21) sets out not just one but successive failures of will by western powers, hampered as they are by the historical baggage of their previous interventions in the region.
Al-Ghazali, the medieval theologian widely recognised as Islam’s greatest thinker, told the story of The Donkey between Two Carrots. The donkey agonised over which carrot might be juicier or bigger for so long that it ended up dying of starvation in the middle.
The moral of the tale? Indecision can be a form of decision and its consequences deadly. The Syrian crisis is being prolonged not just by one but by two metaphorical donkeys – first the west, chiefly America, being unable to decide on a clear course of action, and second Syria’s “silent majority”, being unable to choose between the two extremes on offer – the regime or the rebels.
If there were a middle-ground alternative, a carrot so obviously the juiciest and biggest, all parties might choose it. I believe the ego-free moderate Moaz Al-Khatib is shaping up to be that carrot. Given the chance, he could still save his country from starvation.
Diana Darke, London SW15, UK
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