Nick Clegg has been writing in the Evening Standard about how he think the UK can best help Syria:
The impression the Conservatives seem to give is that they wanted to take military action all along but were thwarted in doing so by the Labour Party — or because they didn’t have a majority in Parliament of their own.
This is not true. The decision not to bomb Syria was taken by Cameron and myself and discussed across both sides of the Coalition. The logic was simple: there was no coherent ground campaign in Syria to which air strikes could usefully contribute. While we were, of course, aware of the parliamentary constraints we faced, the overriding reason we did not push for air strikes in Syria was that dropping bombs on a country without a workable military approach on the ground made little strategic sense.
On the substance on which we based our collective decision in 2014, nothing has changed. If anything, the evolving circumstances make air strikes less justified. All there is on the ground in Syria is chaos, blood and anger. We would simply be throwing more bombs into a furnace.
And in the skies we have an increasingly precarious, unpredictable situation as US and Russian fighter jets operate in close proximity with two very different strategic objectives.
Where Britain can help the people of Syria is by piling on the diplomatic and political pressure to secure a lasting settlement — working with unlikely partners from Iran to Russia — providing humanitarian relief and playing our role in giving overt and covert advice and support to the Free Syrian Army and other moderate forces within Syria. Cameron said this a year ago. It was the right approach then and it remains so now.
Yesterday, Tony Blair rightly said that we should ensure that any final peace agreement in Syria has our imprint on it, and not just Russia’s. But playing catch-up with other people’s bombing raids is hardly the most effective way of doing so.
He went on to add that it would be easy to drop bombs on Syria to be seen to be doing something – a line echoed by Tim Farron on Question Time last night.
You can read his whole article here.
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