Milne is a Marxist-Leninist who emphasises the "imperialist" continuity in Western foreign policy. My conservative position is that "liberal intervention" stems from overdependency on securing access to cheap and stable supplies of oil in the Gulf region due to democratic capitalism's need for it.
Milne is right that the strategy is to knock out Syria because it is an ally of Iran and Iran is targeted for "regime change". It stands in the way as the only bulwak between Western hegemony of both the Middle East and Central Asia and its supplies of oil and gas.
The interdependency of these regional power players is what stands in need of explanation and not the taking of mere polemical point scoring positions in the style of Christopher Hitchens who thought that because Galloway is a dictator worshipper, that there was a vast struggle of good vs evil between the US and Iraq.
One opponent was incapable of grasping this,
Despite pretending to disagree with Milne, it seems to me you share his obsession that everything that happens in the Middle East is secretly controlled by the West in their own strageic/economic interests.Events in the Middle East are very far from being controlled by the West. Even, the Afghanistan War has not succeeded in securing the route for the TAPI Pipeline to be constructed ( and that's concerned with blocking off Iran from the east).
The fact that Western Powers are aiming at hegemonic control, because of the overdependency upon oil and gas in both the Middle East and Asia, tends towards a strategy of desperation and confusion rather than some pre-ordained plan.
Yet war objectives and Western interests are crucially connected to the Middle East and Central Asia because of the fact the world's largest reserves of oil and gas are located there and China, Russia and Iran are all involved in using energy as a tool of diplomacy.
Iran has been a constant obsession and on the defensive because the West has continually attempted to gain control over it's oil for over a century. With the New Great Game becoming more pathological, Iran is really the target of Western realpolitik in Syria.
Western Powers do not control their own allies but they do enter into mutually beneficial partnerships, as with Saudi Arabia. They seek to exploit opportunities and steer events towards their benefit, sometimes wisely and in Syria, unfortunately, unwisely.
Yet in the previous twenty years the quality of Western statesmen has declined as the become less independent minded, far more prone to "think tanks" with their penchant for ideological groupthink and selling war globally as being best for world peace via "public diplomacy".
Milne just gets off on "imperial aggression" as he's crestfallen that the Sopviet Union ( his sort of Empire ) collapsed pathetically in 1990-1991. Yet with that has come a Eurasian New Great Game for resources. This is what contemporary history must be concerned with.
The myths amd misconceptions on Syria and the so-called 'rebels" abound. The idea "most" Syrians were demanding "Assad Must Go" is a Western propaganda myth In Fact as opinion polls found, and ones conducted by the DOHA states, Assad was wanted to retain a measure of stable transition.
As Johnathan Steele wrote in 2012
The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria's borders. What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future.It was the Western Powers from the outset that decided that "Assad Must Go". By that and getting the CIA to back the Free Syrian Army, they helped cause the current carnage that 55% of Syrians did not want when they wanted Assad to remain for an interim period.
Absurdly many of these Sunni militias are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood or its ideology, the sort that was , until the Arab Spring, suppressed by secular dictators in other Arab lands because it did not suit Western power politics in the Middle East.
Potentially Assad could have held elections. A transition as with Franco could have taken place. 55% of Syrians did not want "Assad to Go" because they knew it would cause civil war, strife and militant sectarianism from those the West so earnestly backed.
The idea that throughout history has only seen force to see of dictators is arrant nonsense. The trope that those against "intervention" are "moral relativists" is a fallacy. Moral relativism comes from progressive Western leaders who believe that any means that can justify their ends can, should and must be done.
As in the USSR, the Eastern bloc, Spain under Franco, Chile under Pinochet, Portugal under Salazar. The list just goes on and on to back up the complete lack of historical understanding or genuine knowledge of how the world actually works that seems to be leading Western leaders in the US and UK into error.