Baroness Judith Jolly writes…Towards a pluralist, peaceful Syria

Interviews with Syrians of all faiths and sects have shown that, as with all of us, they wish to live in a pluralist society, as they used to. The want to return to the days when Christians and Druze were friends and all lived on the same street. The action we take must contribute to this aspiration

Lib Dem MPs voted to support the government based on five criteria, or principles. Any action taken must be legal, there must be a diplomatic framework, we must ensure pressure is placed on the Gulf States and Turkey to re-engage and support efforts to destabilise Daesh, there must be a post Daesh plan, and we must do more within our own borders to combat British extremist groups and ensure safety for refugees.

ISL are not a regular army, they are a collective mafia, they are not restrained by borders, and they will not sit around a table. The international community has made a very clear statement that the world is united in its goal of defeating Daesh. As an international party we must play a role, joining with this united voice, and our efforts must include Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Bombing alone will not solve anything, this has been made clear by all sides in debates this week. We must work multilaterally to cut Daesh’s resources, their money, their oil, their recruitment pool, and their weapons. We need to deny Daesh the use of the world banking systems and oil markets. Daesh is not short of arms and armour – it took American kit from Iraq and Russian kit from Syria, but it does need ammunition. There is always an arms trader who wants to make an easy dollar, renminbi, rouble, euro or pound. The UK should lead a concerted international effort to put pressure on the Gulf States to stop their nationals funding jihadi groups within the region and worldwide.

Ultimately, we have to work with our friends, our allies, and others who stand against Daesh around the World to degrade Daesh, to crumble their foundations and end their grip on the region.

The government must be challenged, as Tim has done, to step up to accept Syrian refugees, and opt in to Save the Children’s proposal to rehome 3000 unaccompanied refugee children from with Europe. The government must be challenged to ensure that debates over military intervention do not drown out the cries of those desperate for our help. And the government must be challenged to ensure a future for Syria that allows for peace, growth and pluralism.

* Baroness Judith Jolly is Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Health and Social Care.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

19 Comments

  • Dave Orbison 4th Dec '15 - 12:21pm

    Tim – set out five tests. Correct.

    Five tests not met. Tim and co carry on regardless though credit to Norman Lamb and Mark Williams.

    Tim Farron predicts LibDems could run Labour a close second in Oldham – see Manchester Evening News. Actual result another lost deposit. Anyone know the meaning let alone the importance of ‘credibility’ with the electorate?

  • When the folly of invading Iraq became clear LibDems gained enormously from their opposition….

    Today we have to hope for the Syrian situation to achieve positive results quickly (the longer it goes on the greater the chance of a disaster)…

    Yet again we have pinned our hopes on a Tory plan….However, we’d do well to remember that, like in the coalition, if things go well, Cameron will claim the credit and, if things go badly, ‘Teflon’ Dave will spread the blame around…

  • @expats Precisely. As I posted on the other story, there are no votes in being slightly less pro-war than the Tories. Whereas we have now relinquished the credibility and support we won from having consistently opposed military interventionism in the Middle East, which always fails. It is not as if our votes were ever going to make any difference to the outcome, and the decision to go along with Cameron was baffling.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 4th Dec '15 - 12:57pm

    The day electoral consideration is the reason for a vote for or against military action is sorry one. Thank goodness mps on all sides including ours did otherwise. principled.

  • Taking in more ‘refugees’ isn’t going to make Syria more plurist or peaceful. However, recycling refugees back into Syria (and Iraq) as part of the mobilised force to overthrow Daesh and marginalise it’s supporters will. Hence the pressure we need apply isn’t to take more people in but to transform the way we look at refugee camps and those in them.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 4th Dec '15 - 1:11pm

    Ian you are wrong on our record. Consistently pragmatic would be accurate and not consistently against, military intervention. Our parliamentary party was yes for Afghanistan, no for Iraq, yes for Lybia though with caveats, various views on Syria. There is danger in getting involved, but in not doing so too.

  • Smell that? You smell that?
    Nae plan, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.
    I love the smell of nae plan in the morning.

  • Bill le Breton 4th Dec '15 - 2:02pm

    “ISL are not a regular army, they are a collective mafia”. Indeed they are Judith. And like the Italian mafia they are fiercely territorial.

    The trouble is that there are a number of other ‘families’ – to continue the mafia analogy – ‘feeding off the people of this region.

    Let’s look at a few of them. Putin’s gang. Are you happy, medium and long term, for Russian to continue to have its bases in Syria as part of the strategic settlement? They may indeed be prepared in the medium term to withdraw support from Assad but they will want to ‘pick’ his replacement. Are you happy with that?

    If the gangster Putin doesn’t get his way, he will lose face with both his internal audience and with his client states who may think he is no longer able to ‘protect’ them. To demonstrate that he is still their Godfather, he will revisit Ukraine, perhaps even Moldova. No doubt he will sow discontent in certain communities in the Baltic states. How will you react to this?

    What do you intend to give Iran?

    The Kurds are brave and the main source of effective fighters against Da’esh, How will you recognize their merited demands when their ambitions are opposed by our Nato ally, the Turkish Government?

    And of course revisiting Da’esh and its mafia system: does that territorial nature not give you concern? That they may not have had any direct hand in recent terrorist activities outside of their ‘Caliphate’? Their strategy is quite unlike Al Qaeda, which sort to use large scale atrocities across the globe.

    There are grounds therefore to assume that recent atrocities have been ‘independent actions’. The arms for the January Paris atrocities were I think bought from the criminal world in Belgium via those in the Balkens. One might assume that the recent killings in the city were armed from similar sources.

    Have we not therefore seriously increased the number of disaffected young people across the globe who rather than making their way to dārul-islām will dream of going the ‘independent’ route?

    Forgive me for thinking that their has been some very shallow, short term thinking on all this.

    As Gareth says, “No strategy then.”

  • @expats “When the folly of invading Iraq became clear LibDems gained enormously from their opposition”

    We gained the votes of a lot of leftist Stop the War types and Muslims, some of whom left us in May 2010 and most of whom left us shortly afterwards. Hardly worth the bother in the end.

  • TCO 4th Dec ’15 – 2:20pm………………@expats “When the folly of invading Iraq became clear LibDems gained enormously from their opposition”…………………We gained the votes of a lot of leftist Stop the War types and Muslims, some of whom left us in May 2010 and most of whom left us shortly afterwards. Hardly worth the bother in the end………………..

    Really? and I thought I was cynical…Tell the 53 MPs who voted ‘No!’ that it was ‘hardly worth the bother’….I’d love to see your reasoning …After all, from 57 to 8 MPs (to say nothing of local councillors and MEPs) there must have been an awful lot of these lefties and Muslims leaving……..

  • Back in the real world. No states are going to listen to the Westminster government. They all have their own agenda. The middle east is a power play area Russia Turkey Iran the gulf states Saudi. None of them are going to listen to the nation that caused all the problems 96 years ago. Our airfix air force has a few aircraft adding very little apart from increasing hours on the airframes and wearing them out.

  • Dave Orbison 4th Dec '15 - 3:04pm

    TCO – “we gained some votes of a lot of leftist Stop the War types and Muslims some of whom left us in May 2010 and most of whom left us shortly afterwards. Hardly worth the bother in the end”

    ‘Bother’??? What was this bother to which you refer? I’m sorry but I thought the LibDem stance against the war in Iraq was based on a firm belief that is was wrong, on principles and a reasoned analysis of the situation. I didn’t see it as a cynical plan simply to attract “those Stop the War types”. By the way I find the reference to ‘leftist Stop the type and Muslims” in the context of you comment to be more worthy of UKIP than the LibDems – remember the preamble? In any event that stand taken by the LibDems, despite the relentless beat of war drums, was indeed a large factor in persuading me to swap from Labour to LibDem. I am sure it was for many regardless of ‘which type’ we were or for that matter our religious beliefs. . I think you will find that “those type” helped you get the number of MP’s you achieved in 2010 through which you seized the moment and entered Government. That said having seen all that has transpired, I rather think the shoe is on the other foot and it is a large part of “those types” who wish they had never had bothered.

  • Bill le Breton 4th Dec '15 - 3:40pm

    (TCO – I remember telling you that Lamb was badly advised by his so-called ‘clever clever’ campaign team in the Leadership election. Instead of using someone’s second hand second rate no marks he needed to construct a vehicle to tell his personal story, what life had taught him and what his fundamental values were. If he had, he might have been the surprise leader and then certainly his vote on Wednesday night would not have surprised anyone. )

  • Looks like I got a couple of bites, then 🙂

    @Bruce “The middle east is a power play area Russia Turkey Iran the gulf states Saudi. None of them are going to listen to the nation that caused all the problems 96 years ago.”

    I think you’ll find it was initially 3 powers (Britain, France and Imperial Russia) who devised the plan to carve up the Ottoman Levant in 1915 or 1916, later whittled down to 2 in 1917 with Sykes-Picot.

    Russia and Turkey have been slugging it out for much longer (along with Persia/Iran).

  • @BlB someone much clever than me defined the current situation as having a social liberal leader who would be expected to be against military action being for it, and an economic liberal rival who would be expected to be for military action being against it. And that the SL leader’s supporters found themselves in agreement with the man they didn’t vote for and vice versa.

  • @Lorenzo Cherin
    “Ian you are wrong on our record. Consistently pragmatic would be accurate and not consistently against, military intervention.”

    Correct – it’s nice to come across a Lib Dem who hasn’t fallen for the rewritten history. In 2003, Kennedy offered support for the Iraq war so long as four conditions were met, the main one being a new UN resolution. Had Blair got that resolution, Lib Dems would have fallen in line straight away, for they did not foresee what would happen next…

    @expats: “When the folly of invading Iraq became clear LibDems gained enormously from their opposition”

    Though this was undeserved, since the Lib Dems had not predicted any of the dire consequences of that invasion – indeed, Kennedy wrote shortly before the war that the removal of Saddam would undoubtedly make the world a “safer place”. In that respect, he was almost as naïve as Bush and Blair.

  • They are not going to get that society. They will get Libya. Why is everybody who supported that so quiet? Guilt? Christians and the wrong sort of Muslim will still be terrorised and killed. The ‘rebel’ groups are still extremists.

  • ‘Interviews with Syrians of all faiths and sects have shown that, as with all of us, they wish to live in a pluralist society, as they used to.’

    This was also the desire of the Iraqi people after the fall of Saddam. Instead there evolved a deeply divided administration which became reflected in all departments and all localities. Shias, Kurds and Sunnis vied for position and status after the fall. In the meantime, some of the Ba’thist senior army officers, who did not want a democratic Iraq, melted away and formed themselves into an armed group that eventually became Da’esh.
    Now that Syria is effectively a failed state cutting itself up into sectarian groups, Da’esh saw fit to extend their reach right up the Tigris, Euphrates valleys.
    While Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey continue their mischief making there will never be peace in the region.
    The west is damned for intervening and damned for not doing so

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Little Jackie Paper
    Peter Martin - 'It’s a great pity that the Euroscepticism of the Labour Party largely passed away with Tony Benn.' Well...it's not been remarked on much bu...
  • David Raw
    @ Peter Martin The Greens are no threat to me, Peter. You assume too much. I appreciate their contribution at Holyrood which is not insignificant....
  • Peter Martin
    @ David Raw, I don't have a problem with environmental radicalism but I do trying to understand why anyone on the left thinks it's radical to support a euro-...
  • suzanne fletcher
    in interval for next phone bank to be ready - how true. My friend and colleague Julia Cherrett who was a serving cllr died last year, and it is the by election...
  • David Raw
    However inadvertently, you managed to vote for a more radical party than usual, Peter ?...