If such rebel groups [in Syria] win their battle they have vowed to destroy one of the oldest centres of Christianity in the world and drive out every last Christian or behead those who stay. They have destroyed the ancient centre of the northern town of Aleppo and are uprooting and destroying the historic city of Palmyra, one of the greatest architectural treasures on Earth.
The aim of the jihadists who make up the bulk of the rebels is to expunge the rich and ancient civilisation of Syria.
This is a global tragedy. We are not talking merely of a humanitarian disaster on a magnitude no one can fully comprehend, we are also talking of the destruction of one of the greatest civilisations in the world and its replacement by a narrow, intolerant, dogmatic mutation of Islam.
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But there is a powerful lesson for the West as well. Our reckless attempts to shape the Middle East by intervening with guns and bombs have caused nothing but chaos and murder.
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Above all, we must tackle the insidious influence of Saudi Arabia, which enjoys a cosy relationship with the West even as it sponsors the spread of Islamic fanaticism across the globe.
"The only way to stem this tide is to stop our Middle East meddling: In a haunting dispatch from Syria, PETER OBORNE reveals the real reason the refugees keep coming." By Peter Oborne, Daily Mail, 9/4/15.