In its Newsnight show of 3 July 2014, the BBC revealed that in early 2012 the government of David Cameron came close to validating a plan against Syria crafted by Lord David Richards, then the Chief of the British Armed Forces General Staff [1].

The United Kingdom envisaged to train and equip 100,000 men in Turkey and Jordan, who would have launched a ground invasion of Syria and taken Damascus, bolstered by a British air strike on a comparable scale as the one unleashed on Baghdad in 2003.

The plan was submitted to the British National Security Council and to Washington (the real sponsor of the Franco-British war), but not to Amman or Ankara (who just had to obey).

The BBC does not mention the role played by France. It also fails to indicate the reasons which led the Prime Minister to reject the plan (likely stemming from Washington’s opposition after France withdrew from the war against Syria, in late February 2012, following the secret Gueant-Shawkat agreement).

Such revelations have been corroborated by Professor Michael Clarke, Director of the Royal United Services Institute.

The BBC concludes by querying whether the plan was a missed opportunity or whether it served as a lesson (implying that there should be no hesitation about intervening in Iraq).

[1Syria conflict: UK planned to train and equip 100,000 rebels”, by Nick Hopkins, BBC, 3 July 2014.