Is Britain doing enough to stop arms from Lebanon fuelling the crisis in Syria? The UK Ambassador to Lebanon doesn’t think so.

I’ve been wondering if I should publish this since July, mainly because the person in question appears to have forgotten he was on Twitter. But it’s public domain, so why not.

On the 5th of July it was announced the British Foreign Secretary William Hague would be answering questions and responding to statements on Twitter. To be frank the results were as to be expected. The 50/50 mix of “bomb Assad” versus “Not another war!” was met by Hague’s sabre rattling and numerous comments regarding “human rights”.

Oddly, when asked about Bahrain and what Britain was going to do there, he was totally silent. What he should have said was “we’ll continue to sell them arms“.

I wonder what Assad did to get off the US/UK “Most loved dictator” list.

Anyway, after twenty minutes of embarrassingly obvious propaganda, I’d had enough.

#askfs Has anybody else noticed the amount of ringers in this Twitter chat and how the FO only replies to supporting views?

I tweeted. Which got this reply from Tom Fletcher.

@RobertLeather I disagree – regularly reply to dissenting views/criticism.

Which was interesting because I knew who Tom Fletcher was and it makes his comments funny. You see Tom Fletcher is the Ambassador to Lebanon. And Lebanon is where the arms that are fueling this Al Qaeda backed conflict are being smuggled through.

@HMATomFletcher Well, as the current Ambassador to the Lebanon, I would hardly expect you to bad mouth your boss on Twitter, would I.

Which is true, right? I was pleased to see he accepted it.

@RobertLeather Fair point. But have a look at some of the arguments I’ve had on Twitter with people who disagree with UK policy.

I did. The majority he ignored, and the ones he did reply too were pretty obviously planted.

But while I had him on the line…

@HMATomFletcher #AskFS So what are we doing to stop arms going via the Lebanon to Syrian opposition and Al Qaeda? As reported on BBC etc

Which is where we have our interesting answer (finally I hear you say). Because in this little Tweet Tom is admitting that we are allowing arms to Al Qaeda, we are not providing the kind of support with give arbitarily to other countries and that essentially we are “letting it happen”.

@RobertLeather Give more support -training etc – to Lebanese army to reduce border porosity. And political support for disassociation policy

Which is interesting… because the British foreign policy from Hague with regards the Lebanon appears to be……. nothing.

But before I could get an answer back on this statement Tom went totally silent and jumped off Twitter.

In his place a Twitter account with the handle @LebWatch started hammering me and anybody else who dared mention the arms smuggling.

Was it a robot?

Was it a team, perhaps.

In any case, the Tweets make it clear what the message is. @LebWatch is anti-Assad and pro-revolution. And it plays down the reality of Islamic extremism.

But that’s another post entirely.

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