Do you support British involvement in air strikes against Islamic State?

It looks as though Parliament will be recalled this Friday to discuss British involvement in air strikes against Islamic State. I thought it might be a good idea to see what you, our readers, thought about this.

I don’t often approve of military action, but I might be open to the possibility on humanitarian grounds alone. I certainly was ok with the airstrikes on Libya in 2011. On IS, we cannot have these people being allowed to chase whole communities up mountains and leave them to starve. We can’t have people being summarily executed for refusing to convert to a particular religion. Standing by and doing nothing while that is going on is not an option. However, we can’t just go wading in there. Air strikes alone will do little more than contain IS. We need a long term solution.

Legality is important and international law professor  Philippe Sands has said that strikes on Syria may not comply with international law. It’s less problematic in Iraq because their government are likely to formally request our help.

Of course any military action is likely to lead to more murders of hostages. We don’t know how many British hostages they have, although Newsweek reports that they have potentially thousands of hostages from across the region including 186 Kurdish schoolgirls taken around the same time as the Boko Haram kidnappings of 20o girls in Nigeria.

In all matters of foreign affairs I look to two people, Ming and Paddy, before I make up my mind. Ming was quoted in the Independent as saying that:

The outstanding legal question on a matter of this importance would have to be considered and, indeed, answered. Nothing would be more damaging to the coalition that the Americans are seeking to establish than if there was a widespread belief that what is proposed is illegal.

Paddy gave an interesting and wide-ranging interview to Reuters on Monday. He said that military action may be necessary but it was a very small part of what needed to be done to resolve the situation. The big danger, he said, was this fight between Sunni and Shia Muslims bringing in the west on one side and Russia on the other. He also said that some of Cameron’s rhetoric on this had not been very helpful. He said that we need to work with Russia and Iran to create the global alliances necessary to sort it all out.

It’s actually worth listening to the whole interview in which he also talks about Scotland and English. He’s a lot more on message about the timetable to deliver the extra powers to the Scottish Parliament than he was on Murnaghan on Sunday. 

Going back to the Islamic State issue, for me his is way too complex to think that a few airstrikes are going to do anything other than frustrate IS for a while. There are good humanitarian reasons for action, but we need to be very clear about what it’s going to achieve and know when to stop. It also must be seen to be done as part of a strong international coalition in accordance with international law. If I were convinced of these things, I may be able to support it.

What do you think?

Update: 11:35: David Ward MP has just been on the BBC News Channel to say that while he opposed action in Syria last year, he is open to the possibility in Iraq now. He says the situation in Syria is more complex. He says it’s essential that Parliament is recalled before any decisions are made.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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91 Comments

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Sep '14 - 9:53am

    IS needs to be defeated morally. Push out, again and again again, images and accounts of the horrendous sadistic thing they are doing, to good Muslims as much as to religious minorities, and ask “Is this your Islam?”.

    We can see how many naive youngsters have been attracted to it by accounts of it being some sort of force fighting on behalf of Islam against the enemies of Islam. Well, capturing schoolgirls and selling them off as sex slaves? Is this your Islam? Casual sadistic murders, is this your Islam? Surely it is now possible to put together enough horror stories from people who have fled IS, and who are just as much “brothers and sisters in Islam”, to end this idea that IS are in any way some brave force on the side of Muslims as a whole against their supposed enemies.

    Dropping bombs on them will allow IS to do the usual shroud-waving technique. It will enable them to generate more “the west is killing Muslims, you must join our fight against it” propaganda. And, let us remember, an innocent kid killed as collateral damage of such a bomb is us saying “innocent people have to die in order to defeat our enemies”. Is that so different than IS killing journalists and aid workers one by one with the argument “this is necessary for us to make our point”?

  • Rabi Martins 24th Sep '14 - 9:56am

    My main worry about this is that I think it will be just a matter of time before we moe from Air Strikes to troops on the ground Once we allow ourselves to be drawn into yet another US led conflcit I cannot she that we will be able to extracate ourselves
    The other issue is that there appears to be no clear declared objecties for our inolvement
    I find it hard to understand how we are treating some of the regimes in the Middle East we tried to put down not so verty long ago as our “partners in this potential war crime”

  • Leon Duveen 24th Sep '14 - 9:59am

    No, further military involvement by western powers will not help rid Iraq & Syria of the menace of IS, indeed it may well help strengthen them.
    The 24 year history of military adventures by the US in the Middle East, in Iraq, Afghanistan & Libya, has been a disaster. While they may have deposed dictators, the result has left each of these countries with a weak central government unable to control the whole country, militants (mostly fundamentalist Sunni Muslims but not exclusivity so) have lead uprisings in each of the 3 countries leading to the current situation with IS.
    Given this history, does anyone really think that a bit more bombing or militants in Syria or Iraq will resolve the real issues that these countries suffer from, corrupt authoritarian governments that seems to care little for the people who live in remote rural areas, leaving them open to the lure of extremist rhetoric? Indeed bombing (as Israel has found out in Gaza) will not weaken the militants but because of the inevitable civilian casualties, help the extremist gain more support.
    Don’t get me wrong, IS is a cruel and repressive organisation, un-Islamic and dedicated only to forcing it’s version of the truth on all others, and we need to oppose it. This should be by showing that support for the central government will help resolve the issues that the area IS controls suffer from (lack on development & investment and corruption of the army & government). Military force from the US & the UK will not do this.

  • Steve Coltman 24th Sep '14 - 10:11am

    I have two comments to make. Short-term ISIS need to be defeated or at least seriously knocked back on the ground. I don’t believe air strikes alone will do it. There needs to be some appreciation of what they are exactly. In the military sense they are “motorized light infantry”. They are not guerilla fighters, which is what a lot of terrorists are. They are mounted on pick-up trucks (known as ‘technicals’) armed with heavy machine guns and other heavy-ish weapons . They have some artillery, light armoured vehicles, anti-aircraft weapons, even some tanks liberated from their enemies. Some of their number are Saddam Hussain’s former professional soldiers. This goes someway to explaining their success, and also points to the way to the right way of fighting them. In Syria they were expanding into a vacuum, the Assad regime has lost control of eastern Syria. In Iraq the army they were facing were not just disaffected Sunnis, alienated by the Shia government of President Maliki, they were also mainly a counter-insurgency, internal-security orientated army. It is not commonly appreciated that this kind of army is not well equipped, trained or organized to fight another army. They lack the heavy weapons, mobility and mind-set to fight a mobile war. It also explains the relative lack of success for the otherwise respected Kurdish Peshmerga. They originated as a guerilla force and one thing guerillas never do is try and slug it out with a ‘proper’ army and try and hold ground. So, ISIS have swept all before it. There seem to be several obstacles to tackling them. Geography is one of them; their new ‘caliphate’ is far from the sea, which is a base of US military power. It is difficult, logistically, to insert outside forces into northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Turkey seemed to be strangely passive in all this. If allied forces could operate from Turkish territory it would be much easier, but ISIS captured about fifty Turkish diplomats and their families and this seems to have paralyzed the Turks who rightly feared their execution. Even now these hostages have been released, Turkey seems likely to stay out of the conflict. Air power can certainly harass and weaken ISIS, but they do not present a very good target for attack at the best of times, they are a lot of low-value targets rather than a few high-value ones, and air attack is inhibited by ISIS’s ruthless use of their prisoners as human shields. No-one wants to put ‘boots on the ground’ but I think we have to face the facts, nothing but boots on the ground will defeat them. Or, to be more accurate, rubber tyres on the ground. ISIS can only be beaten by ground forces that have the same mobility as themselves. That means wheeled, fast-moving but not necessarily very heavily armed units. Unfortunately there are not many countries that have this kind of force and the air-transport resources to put them in place and support them. France has, to some extent, but France is only just pulling its forces out of Mali and if it is correct that ISIS have 30,000 fighters, the French mechanised forces are not big enough anyway. Britain does not have this kind of medium mechanised force at all, but the USA does, in some numbers, and the US has enough air-lift to carry one such brigade anywhere in the world in 4 days. This is what these units were designed for but Pres. Obama seems not to have the resolve to use them. There is no alternative. Either the US acts or ISIS will survive, with who knows what human and political consequences.

    Longer term, it might be worth reading Jonathan Powell’s article in this weeks Sunday Times, he argues that ISIS are a political force that needs to be talked to at some point. Well, the Sunnis in Iraq and Syria need a voice, certainly, but ISIS need defeating militarily first.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Sep '14 - 10:13am

    No I am opposed to Britain joining the air strikes. I was against the intervention in Libya too. We cannot bomb people into behaving in a civilised way, especially when some of the partners are not averse to a bid of beheading etc. themselves.
    I also think that it goes against common sense that air strikes alone can alter the situation and that there will be ‘no boots on the ground’.

    What exactly will our involvement achieve other than get us drawn into a conflict that others are already dealing with in their own way?

    I want to see more humanitarian aid and help for those countries who are attempting to alleviate the suffering of those caught up in the conflict .

  • Jayne, I’ve got a Syrian tenant moving into my rented house in Cambridge this week. All he wanted, when I asked him about the conflict when I met him, was that the West had imposed a no-fly zone over Syria in 2011 so that the rebels could have fought Assad on a level playing field. So yes, bombing does make a difference because all the rebels needed was for Assad not to be able to use airpower against them.

    And no, you can’t bomb people into behaving in a civilised way, but you can take out of action, a few dozen at a time over a long period of time, those that butcher innocent people. Airstrikes aren’t for preaching and converting. They are for killing.

    You know, it’s rather a lot more than a couple of westerners who have been beheaded. Hundreds and hundreds of villagers who have opposed them. They have displaced entire communities (especially those non-muslims). Don’t say “not averse to a bit of beheading” in that manner. They really quite far more nasty than anything else we have seen.

    So, you’re wrong. Air strike can do a lot, over time, to allow the ground forces of Iraq and the Kurdish Pershmurga to halt and reverse the advance of IS. We will then begin, as the airstrikes unfold, to find out if those ground forces are enough to defeat IS or if we need to do more.

  • Mark Warburton 24th Sep '14 - 10:33am

    Jayne,

    Whilst I agree that air strikes on their own will not do much in solving the ISIS problem, providing humanitarian aid only will also do little to solve the problem.
    I believe air strikes are needed in tandem with policies aimed at crippling ISIS funding and support of the Iraqi armed forces. Short of our own bootson the ground, which I imagine would be welcomed by the Iraqi government, we should be advising the moderate Arab countries on how to take effective military action.
    The core problem of ISIS is it’s ideology, which cannot be defeated by military action alone. A strong, inclusive, democratic government in Iraq is the key to decreasing the support for ISIS amongst the population of the country. We should be more than willing to do all we can to help Iraq build the democratic and institutional infrastructure it needs.

  • Yes, I support The Air Strikes, in both Iraq & Syria.

  • John Barrett 24th Sep '14 - 10:53am

    If we want to unite groups such as Al-Qaeda and others on the ground, that is the way to do it.

    The recent joint statement by various terrorist groups saying , “we have no choice but to stand in front of the hater of Islam and Muslims, the US and its allies, who are the real enemies of the Muslim world,” confirm that.

    If we want to join in with a group of Arab states best known for repressing human rights, denying democracy to their own citizens and being guilty of corruption, we should join in with the USA in their coalition.

    If we want to ensure our position has the international support of the other permanent members of the UN Security council, who include the words largest arms exporters, we too must continue to supply too many arms into conflict zones around the world.

    Is it any surprise we are where we are?

    Dropping bombs from a great height will not solve the problem.

  • Conor McGovern 24th Sep '14 - 10:55am

    Opposed. When are people going to realise that these military adventures only exacerbate tensions between communities and religions? The British people by and large don’t want to be sucked into another war in the Middle East.

  • No. It’s not OK to bomb other people’s countries. It’s not up to British politicians to interfere in other countries or to decide who should govern them.

    To start bombing Syria would be utterly indefensible. Any member of our armed forces prepared to take part in such an action should go to prison. As should any politician prepared to order it.

  • Yes, but it can’t be allowed to turn into another destabilising exercise.

  • How do you win the population in which ISIS is thriving by bombing them?

    Cameron has not set out a coherent case for war which would need to include our military objectives, the rules of engagement to be applied by any coalition and how the “liberated” territories would be governed.

    So on the information currently available if I was an MP I would vote against Cameron’s proposal.

  • Richard Dean 24th Sep '14 - 11:31am

    ISIS are an invader force who have systematically terrorised local communities, killing many, driving many from their homes, oppressing those who must remain, profiting from their “spoils of war” but not generating new value, and threatening to do the same to half the world. Of course we must resist them militarily, politically, and in terms of psychology and propaganda.

    Not only is it in our best interests to do so, but it is also needed because of our common humanity with those innocent people and communities who suffer and die under their regime. To not do so would surely invite condemnation from those who suffer and die, and would be to allow ISIS to trick more naïve people and psychopaths and death-freaks from around the work to join them, thus enabling ISIS to spread and cause suffering to even more innocent people.

    The ISIS video “Flames of War” and the videos on VICE News suggest that we’re not up against a militarily weak or disorganized enemy. I’m sceptical of the ability of airstrikes to do more than take out equipment, fuel, and ammunition dumps. That will happen over the next few days or weeks, but ISIS are intimately embedded in the places they occupy. Surely everyone knows that boots and rubber on the ground will be needed to complete the task of liberating the oppressed peoples?

    Humanitarian aid is going to be needed too, and political changes that give people a strong stake in stable and peaceful change. The propaganda and psychology that ha allowed people to be fooled by them also needs to be countered – and that must surely mean changes in relation to equality, fairness, compassion, education, stakeholding, belief-systems, democracy, and leadership in our own communities at home.

  • A Social Liberal 24th Sep '14 - 12:38pm

    I agree with Steve Coltman in that bombing on its own does not work. Yes, we could hope that the Iraq army and the Kurds are able to up their game and capability to effectively oppose IS but I am sceptical. The latter were supposed to have been trained to a level where they were able to protect their country and yet on their first test they collapsed.

    To defeat IS and remove them as an effective military force will take disciplined tenacious troops fighting in ‘flying columns’. This means that they will need a logistics trail which can keep up, in reality an airborne resupply. As Steve has said, the UK is unable to equip the army with the protected patrol vehicles needed given that they have been sold off or left in Afghanistan. Therefore, to all intents and purposes the US is the only country able to provide capable troops with capable weapons.

    So, whilst I am in favour of intervention against IS forces in Iraq, action only from the air just doesn’t cut the mustard.

  • mike clements 24th Sep '14 - 12:46pm

    There is little to be gained from a role in winning any war if winning does not bring peace and in this conflict I cannot see how peace will follow when the combatants who do not have the will for peace will treat this as round one in a contest that does not end until there is a knock-out, The nations and sects in the Middle East must be left to sort out their problems themselves.

  • Yes, ISIS are essentially invading sovereign states, stealing their territory and trying to create a new state that will no doubt fund and support the spread of a violent and terrorist ideology. Leave this unchecked and it will affect the entire world. All countries should play some part in this fight against ISIS and I’m glad that the UK is not running away from it’s responsibilities.

    The only trouble is I think we are not tough enough on other countries who have allowed this extremist poison to be exported all over the world. Certain gulf states cannot be allowed to fund this sort of thing for political reasons anytime and anywhere it suits them and leave the West sort out the mess afterwards. Funding or supporting this wicked ideology should be considered a crime against humanity and something that no nation state is allowed to do.

    ISIS’s brand of Islamism is a poison, it cannot be reasoned with or accommodated. There is simply no place for this medieval barbarism anywhere in the modern world. Whilst it is true that some of our foreign polices do fuel resentment and even terrorism and need addressed this is not the case with Islamic extremism like this – no matter what we did ISIS would still insist on doing what they’re doing now.

    The only solution to this kind of violent barbaric Jihadi ideology is to attack it with overwhelming force everywhere it exists until it is completely and utterly destroyed. We need to stop being so soft on this lunacy. My only dilemma is what we should do with those brainwashed by it, should they get de-programming and de-radicalisation or should we just lock them up? Should this kind of religious insanity be treated like a form of mental illness?

  • jedibeeftrix 24th Sep '14 - 1:06pm

    Yes. Yes, I do.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Sep '14 - 1:13pm

    @ Malcolm Kilpatrick.
    I understand your argument. I have been listening to Sky news for long stretches over the past weeks. I have listened to more expert opinions than one could shake a stick at.

    I am not flippant about the sadistic barbarism of ISIS . I am as distraught about the torture and death of every Muslim victim as I am of the western hostages. My comment about beheading related to Saudi Arabia.

    One expert commented that the chief beneficiary of military action would be the Assad regime, and sure enough, the Assad regime has now given approval for the fight against ‘terrorists’, the very regime we were supposed to oppose one year ago.

    When have we ever improved things by meddling in the Middle East? The idea that if we had intervened to help the Free Syrian Army is mere speculation. We cannot impose our values on the region. The ideology that leads to such barbarism must be defeated by the people most involved. I remain firmly of the view that it is not the job of America to lead in this war, or that it is right to join in, until someone assures me that it will not be western forces that will be killing innocent people and that the intervention will not lead to even greater hatred of the Western democracies and everything that we stand for. I have heard no such assurance.

  • Geoffrey Payne 24th Sep '14 - 1:16pm

    I agree with David Ward that there is more legitimacy in intervening in Iraq than Syria. Even so I am sceptical. Western military intervention has been disastrous not just in Iraq and Afghanistan but in Libya as well when you look at the state of that country today. We are always told we can do it better next time, but we never do. However I would certainly like to see policies in place to protect the Kurds and the remaining parts of Iraq. I would like to see the Islamic State retreat and ultimately defeated, but this involves their ideology being defeated as well as their occupation of Iraq and Syria, and I have not seen that anyone knows how to do that.
    I am particularly alarmed where I read that this intervention may take many years before it works. To me this indicates that like in Afghanistan the objectives are not clear and we will end up continuing the war so as simply not to lose face.
    To be fair we are dammed either way. Not intervening is also a flawed strategy. So for now I am undecided about Iraq.

  • Mark Warburton 24th Sep '14 - 1:23pm

    I can never understand liberals who are so opposed to humanitarian intervention. Why should we not get involved in helping solve the problems of the Middle East? Just because its ‘not our problem’? We should confront ISIS now before it indeed becomes our problem!

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Sep '14 - 1:23pm

    I am in favour of negotiating with ISIS, but also airstrikes. There is a fine line between believing in selfless peace protesting and selfish cowardice.

    We need to not get complacent over this, because, as Caron mentions, ISIS are only one group. We have others such as Boko Haram too.

    I was kicking and screaming over the plans to bomb Syria last year, because it seemed to be mainly about Obama’s strangely drawn red line, but this is different.

    The more people speaking against ISIS the easier it will be to defeat them.

    Regards

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Sep '14 - 1:25pm

    John Barrett

    The recent joint statement by various terrorist groups saying , “we have no choice but to stand in front of the hater of Islam and Muslims, the US and its allies, who are the real enemies of the Muslim world,” confirm that

    Right, so how does selling off girls as sex slaves help with that? What about all those we have seen fleeing in terror from IS and the like? Are they also all “enemies of the Muslim world”? Is it really so difficult to expose the horror of what these people are doing and therefore to demonstrate to all those naive types tempted to give them support, whether moral or financial or personal, that if THIS is their Islam, then their Islam deserves nothing but contempt?

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Sep '14 - 1:30pm

    @ Richard Dean,
    In what way can those who go to join ISIS be described as naive? Do they live in a bubble where the barbarism of ISIS is not there for all to see?

    I’m sorry, but those who join ISIS, must by now have a very clear picture of what sort of sadistic monsters they will be associating with and what will be expected of them.

  • @ Mark Warburton

    “I can never understand liberals who are so opposed to humanitarian intervention”.

    Perhaps because some, so called, “humanitarian interventions” are no such thing. Remember Ali Abbas? For instance during Labour’s invasion of Iraq we were repeatedly told that it was not our government’s policy to assess how many civilians we were killing. Difficult to assess the effectiveness of a “humanitarian intervention” if you refuse to count the casualties.

  • Jenny Barnes 24th Sep '14 - 2:04pm

    The USA appears to have already put about 1600 combat troops on the ground, although they are called advisers. It’s unclear what the legal basis within the US is for the air strikes that have already taken place; there is clearly no imminent threat to the USA from Daesh which is the usual legal basis for military action in advance of formal Congressional approval. I think this cartoon says it rather well:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/sep/24/first-dog-terrorism

    Bottom line – no, it didn’t work very well in Algeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Gaza, there’s no reason to think it will work well this time either.

  • I agree with all commenter’s, that do NOT want British involvement in air strikes in Syria and Iraq. But I would like to list a few thoughts that expand on that.
    1. It’s been repeated often enough to be cliché, but it is no less true. ‘ You cannot bomb an ideology’. They [ISIS], genuinely believe, that anyone who doesn’t see the world in terms of their brand of Islam, are infidels, and by definition deserve death. Bombing them, simply proves [to them!], that they are right.
    2. It is interesting that Obama, does not even have Congress approval, (let alone UN approval), to send air strikes [uninvited], into the sovereign nation of Syria. But more interesting is the fact that Hillary Clinton is hastily distancing herself from Obama’s air strikes. This is doubly interesting, because Obama’s term ends in 2016. He can’t seek re-election, and so he doesn’t need to justify [at the ballot box], what are illegal air strikes into a sovereign country (Syria). Whereas, Hilary Clinton *is* seeking election in 2016. As such, she is well aware that she must disassociate herself with the air strikes into Syria, which *is an illegal act*, and would hurt her at the ballot box.?
    3. The western *war machine*, operates in a hierarchical command and control system. However, ISIS appear to operate in a more *cellular* fashion. This is why bombing them is frankly pointless. By operating in a cellular way, their ‘survival’, is structured much more like the internet. The internet was originated on a system of ‘nodes’, and designed such that if any node ‘or cell’, failed the ‘http system’ creates a redundancy or ‘work around’ in order to keep the integrity of the Web whole. An ISIS cell can be as small as a Toyota pick-up truck full of ISIS believers. A laser guided bomb dropped on that truck is all well and good, but the ideology embedded in all the other autonomous cells, will simply create a work around.
    4. There is no ‘Let’s Bomb Them’, solution to this.
    5. The solution to the stopping of ISIS, is more likely a strategy to stop their ‘blood supply’. The things that need to be ‘hit’, are not people, but the import and export structures into that region. Those oil rigs that ISIS are controlling, can be rendered useless, if necessary spares are unable to be replaced. A Humvee, is a pile of scrap metal, if a crucial spare cannot be sourced. Thus, the weapon of choice should be Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. If you are intent on using bombs, at least use them intelligently, by bombing *stuff they [ISIS], need*, rather than people.?

  • @Mark Warburton
    “I can never understand liberals who are so opposed to humanitarian intervention”

    I can never understand people who think they can get away with calling the dropping of high explosives on civilian populations “humanitarian intervention”

  • As always, the party’s support for humanitarian intervention should, at the very least, be subject to approval from the UNGA or UNSC. My own personal feeling is that military intervention, especially in the Middle East, causes more problems than they solve; indeed, the IS is basically the price the West is paying for the illegal Iraq War.

    That does, of course, not rule out economic and political sanctions against the IS for conduct unbecoming a state if they choose to act as a state. However, John Dunn’s comments above may show why even that may not work.

  • Opposed. No, definitely no. It will not work to stop violence with violence. We need absolute transparency on the motivations for this. It is tragic what is developing in that part of the world, but we do not take military action on every country at war. It is not our place to stand by and watch suffering but I do not hold violence to ever be an answer. Thank you for reading.

  • The air strikes that have already taken place have killed a handful of militants, but also a number of civilians. In doing so, ISIS’ capabilities have been reduced by however many deaths, but their potential recruitment pool has grown by a greater amount. Net benefit to ISIS. Images of civilians killed by the west will spread, justifying the jihad narrative.

    Air strikes cannot solve this problem alone. Air strikes on civilian targets, or on areas so enmeshed that it is impossible to distinguish military and civilian targets, can only make it worse.

    John Dunn is right to say that ISIS can be opposed more successfully by going after their support structures. They make money from oil, we should seek to destroy that infrastructure where possible. They make money from donations coming in from wealthy Gulf states businessmen. We should put pressure on the complicit Gulf states governments, Saudi Arabia foremost among them, to put a stop to that.

    But the policy of throwing high explosives at people inside ISIS controlled territory merely vindicates the guilty and kills the innocent.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Sep '14 - 4:41pm

    Disappointed by the number of people on here opposed to military action. What is the ethical principle? Against force? If it is against force then should we oppose police action too?

    It is times like this when I understand why we introduced conscription. Free riders benefiting from other people risking their lives.

  • David Evershed 24th Sep '14 - 4:43pm

    Before agreeing air strikes we need to know:

    1. What is the objective?

    2. What is the exit strategy?

    3. What kind of communities do we expect to see there after the air strikes have finished and how will they be supported?

  • Eddie Sammon, ethical principles have nothing to do with the policy that’s been pursued in the Middle East for far too long.

    ISIS beheads the innocent. This is an evil act, one we should oppose. Saudi Arabia is our staunch ally in the region. Do you suppose that poor unfortunate we saw in their annual beheading statistics was really guilty of sorcery? Where then morality?

    But that is a digression, I suppose. For me, it is a question of ethics and practicality. Is it ethical to kill thirteen civilians in the process of killing two ISIS affiliated militants, as the Reuters news reported? And is it practical, having killed those two, to then have the thirteen innocents used as propaganda recruiting far more into ISIS and its affiliates?

    Agitating for conscription won’t change the fact that western involvement in this ongoing war is badly thought out, blindly optimistic and doomed to fail as presently constituted.

  • Who is going to pay the bill if it’s us then no, no way can’t even afford utilities but we can afford bombs great

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Sep '14 - 5:02pm

    Hi T-J, I can understand those preferring boots on the ground, rather than bombs, in order to reduce civilian casualties, but singing from the pacifist hymn sheet that others have done leads to innocent deaths too, but also the triumph of these regimes.

    We need diplomacy all the way through, we can’t just ignore their concerns and write them off as evil, but there has to be a limit to what we accept.

  • @Eddie Sammon

    We introduced conscription to stop a country that was attacking other countries – not to be the attackers ourselves.

  • Richard Dean 24th Sep '14 - 5:40pm

    ISIL’s actions follow no ethical principles, nor any religious ones. Here they are, training children to kill civilians …
    http://news.sky.com/story/1341044/families-living-in-fear-in-is-controlled-raqqa

  • No
    What must be understood is the disjunct between the governments of the the Gulf states and the peoples in those countries. Military action is not going to win any hearts and minds for the West in the Middle East.

  • Mick Taylor 24th Sep '14 - 6:30pm

    Military intervention will never solve the problem – or indeed any conflict. In the end it always comes down to negotiation and sitting round a table with your enemy. Cameron is a war monger and has to be told no way should the UK be involved in bombing or boots on the ground. I strongly urge all our MPs and Ministers to vote against any proposal to draw the UK into this conflict.
    Why not short cut the whole thing, avoid all the killing and go straight for a peace conference? And yes, we’ll have some pretty unsavory customers at it and we’ll need to make sure people stay till agreement is reached, but as that once Liberal Winston Churchill said, “Jaw Jaw is better than war war.”
    And yes, I’m a pacifist. My Quaker faith makes that a given.

  • We all know who we mean but we use different names for this year’s enemy.
    If we cannot even agree on their name, what hope is there for hitting on a winning strategy for dealing with them.
    Please read the full article in The Belfast Telegraph link below but pay particular attention to the request from The Islamic Society of Britain and the Association of Musim Lawyers.

    I have said before in LDV that just because the Ku Klux Klan regarded themselves as Christian Knights when they were bombing, lynching and killing people on burning crosses nobody mistook them for representatives of wider Christianity. We should ot insult the millions of followers of Islam from all over the world from Indonesia to Brazil, from mainland China to Central Glasgow by using the term Islamic State, or initials including IS.

    Some helpful background from The Belfast Telegraph :—
    “It is neither Islamic, nor is it a State. The group has no standing with faithful Muslims, nor among the international community of nations,” a letter to David Cameron signed by the Islamic Society of Britain and the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/isis-islamic-state-isil-or-daesh-what-the-different-names-mean-and-why-it-matters-30609895.html

  • My main worry is that yet again the west will be seen (rightly) as killing innocent men, women and children – bombing is always morally indefensible and never solves anything but merely creates further problems as in Iraq war.

    How will bombing save a decent human being – Mr Henning? We need to negotiate his release

    How will bombing defeat ISIL but merely create martyrs and further enemies for the West and who they regard as traitors to Islam i.e. Saudi Arabia etc. & other gulf states who they see as Western lackeys – this will lead to further terrorism and not eradicate it on our streets and elsewhere

  • Richard Dean 24th Sep '14 - 7:13pm

    Appropriate military action against ISIL will certainly win hearts and minds in the Middle East. Why else are a number of Middle Eastern countries supporting the effort?

    Ask the Yazidi’s who willingly got aboard the West’s helicopters during their rescue. Ask the thousands of refugees streaming across the Syrian border into Turkey. Ask the residents of Raqqa when Raqqa is eventually liberated from the ISIL psychos. Ask the women who are now the ISIL “spoils of war” and who the West and its Middle Eastern allies will liberate and hopefully try to heal.

    Obviously military action should not be the only thing that is done. We must ensure that the people are helped to recover, and that the social, political, and economic conditions change in a way that improves their lives and makes this kind of thing much less likely in the future.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Sep '14 - 7:23pm

    Just read about Clegg’s email, but Caron has asked us to keep the debate on here. Remember people, these militants do not believe in democracy and will continuously expand through violence unless we stop them. This is why even other Sunni Muslim countries are attacking them.

    Listen to the senior Muslim groups in Britain say they are not even Islamic. They are partly using religion as an excuse to take power.

    I want to say how brave Clegg and others are who vote for military action. We need solidarity and extra security for everyone at risk. The whole country needs to get behind this. No one should be repeating anti-western myths. Including certain newspapers.

    Best wishes

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Sep '14 - 8:07pm

    T-J

    ISIS beheads the innocent. This is an evil act, one we should oppose. Saudi Arabia is our staunch ally in the region. Do you suppose that poor unfortunate we saw in their annual beheading statistics was really guilty of sorcery? Where then morality

    And in the USA people die slowly and painfully after receiving lethal injections intended to kill them. Plus they don’t seem to bothered about due legal process, especially when the accused is poor and black. So should we bomb the USA as well?

  • Just a reminder that small groups of murderous thugs, who mix religion, politics and horrific killing are not new, are not exclusive to muslims and indeed we used to have just such people in the UK not so very long ago

    For those who are too young to remember the Shankill Butchers in the 70s and 80s see —
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankill_Butchers

    Fortunately, nobody in the USA thought that it would help to launch air strikes on Belfast.

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Sep '14 - 8:33pm

    Eddie Sammon

    Listen to the senior Muslim groups in Britain say they are not even Islamic. They are partly using religion as an excuse to take power

    So why in the appeal to them from the Muslim leader near where I live were they addressed as “Muslim brothers and sisters”?

    Sorry, but these people really do feel not just that they are Muslims, but that they are the best and most holy of Muslims. And there is no clear dividing line between standard Islam here and these people, one can slide slowly from one to the other. I’m sorry, but it is just not good enough for Muslims to say “Nothing to do with us”. They must investigate how they put across their religion, what they themselves may have done wrong in interpreting it which has led others to take it even further down this disgusting way. How many of them, while not actually endorsing ISIS, have nevertheless pushed things their way by whipping up inflammatory sentiments, playing the victim game, turning their religion into a sort of Trotskyist anti-Americanism, aggressively attacking anyone who seeks to build a more liberal form interpretation of Islam, taking a delight in interpretations of Islam which are personally oppressive and which excuse or praise the use of violence?

    See, for example, the delight in sending pointless bombs out of Gaza, the cheering on of supposed “martyrs” who kill themselves along with others just to make some political point, the killings we have seen in Gaza without any sort of due process of those that Hamas have dubbed “traitors”. Aren’t ISIS just taking this thing just a little bit further?

    Muslims across the world must take a good hard look at themselves and realise that they have let their religion get pushed this way, and it is up to them and them alone to pull it back from that. ISIS must be defeated morally, and that has to be done by those who have a truer and better interpretation of their religion.

  • Green Voter 24th Sep '14 - 9:04pm

    “All you have to do is look at the state of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya today”

    Iraq and Libya were dictatorships. When you remove a dictator, there can be problems.
    However, that says nothing about air strikes in Iraq today because it is not currently a dictatorship.

    The question is not “are air strikes a panacea” but “are air strikes better than not having air strikes”

  • @Sarah Noble: “My own personal feeling is that military intervention, especially in the Middle East, causes more problems than they solve; indeed, the IS is basically the price the West is paying for the illegal Iraq War.”

    Actually,I would argue that it’s Iraqi and Syrian civilians living under ISIS that are paying the price for the illegal Iraq war.

    I agree that the West removing Saddam is what helped cause this mess, and therefore I think we owe it to those people to help sort this mess out. It will also become our problem pretty soon if we do nothing.

  • Igor Sagdejev 24th Sep '14 - 10:38pm

    Airstrikes – yes, boots on the ground – no, and pleeease no more nation-building!

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Sep '14 - 11:03pm

    By the way, I would also support a ground force. Common sense tells me that boots on the ground reduce civilian casualties.

  • Richard Dean 24th Sep '14 - 11:08pm

    @John Tilley
    Is an Arab somehow worth less that a person from Belfast?

    ISIL have killed or brutalized thousands of Arab citizens, including women and children, and made thousands homeless and possession-less. There are thousands of ISIS people, and they kill, oppress, rape, brutalize, steal, and create no new value. They will continue to do so until someone stops them.

    Do you really think ISIL is somehow equivalent to the Shankill butchers?

  • Holland Risley 24th Sep '14 - 11:10pm

    Absolutely no. We have no right to bomb anyone.

    These attacks will cost countless innocent lives, and will cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Where does this money come from?? Borrowed from the banks of course, at interest for our children and grandchildren to continue paying off for generations to come.

    I would cut all spending on military bombing campaigns and spend the money on renewable energy, we could power the entire country with off-shore windfarms for the price of a couple of years worth of bombing the desert.

    Also, this is a shameless attempt at a corporate takeover of the Golan Heights for oil exploitation. ISIS is a lie, and poses no threat whatsoever to GB public. Who benefits from this war? Dick Cheney’s companies. Rupert Murdoch’s companies etc. etc. (Don’t believe the propaganda you see on Murdoch TV which is shamelessly pro-war in Syria.

    Want to know what’s really going on? I suggest that you watch Max Bygan – The Calling – He explains it very well.

  • I hope the military action isn’t used to over throw assad’s regime. After we get every last one of these isis lunatics we should leave Assad in charge. Assad won’t tolerate this and would have put a stop to it years ago if certain states hadn’t armed these terrorists i think. I was against removing saddam, against bombing Libya and in favor of invading Afghanistan. After we’ve got rid of isis we should leave and make it clear to certain gulf states that under no circumstances will we ever allow them to fund, support or arm violent jihadist lunatics anywhere for any reason or spread poisonous terrorist doctrine ever again. We should have learned not to do that sort of thing a long time ago after what happened to Afghanistan. If any state allows it’s citizens to fund isis or other Islamic terror groups I think the leaders of those countries should be treated like terrorists themselves and be attacked with drone strikes.

  • Jonathan Brown 24th Sep '14 - 11:54pm

    I offer my qualified support for intervention – in both Iraq and Syria. Indeed, had we intervened a year ago, I think it highly likely that things in both countries would have been a lot better. I say this as someone who thinks that ‘military interventions’ can be immoral and disastrous (e.g. Iraq 2003) and moral and successful (e.g. Sierra Leone 1997). I will also say that the government entirely failed to make the case for intervention last year – but a very good case could have been made, had they been paying attention to what’s been happening and thought about their strategy.

    Something I think worth remembering – especially by those who say quite rightly that killing cannot be the only (or any part of) a solution – is that the ISIS ideology is pretty universally hated. A range of Syrian opposition groups have fought long and hard against a group that – with tacit backing from the Assad regime – has helped destroy their country and broken their aspirations for a better future.

    I hope we won’t make the same mistake now of abandoning the Kurds to their fate: bombing ISIS over the last few weeks has probably saved thousands in Sinjar, thousands more in Erbil, and prevented the disintegration of the Kurdish Regional Government. ‘Negotiations with ISIS’ would not have prevented that. Helping the Kurdish government kill ISIS fighters did prevent that.

    I also hope that the government will seriously consider what it’s longer term strategy will be. The Kurds have made it pretty clear that they will not get very involved with fighting a long way from the territory they consider theirs. It’s still open to debate whether or not the new Iraqi government can command the support of large numbers of Sunni Iraqis who are currently supporting ISIS as part of their efforts to avoid being sidelined and persecuted by the government in Baghdad. We mustn’t just assume that they will do so, and must keep pushing for them to co-operate with a new ‘Sahwa’ or ‘Awakening’ of the kind that defeated al Qaida in Iraq in 2006 onwards. Which will be much harder this time due to the mistrust. And we must finally recognise that the Syrian conflict cannot be resolved without enabling the Syrian opposition to defend themselves from both the regime and from ISIS.

  • Conor McGovern 25th Sep '14 - 12:34am

    @ jedi – “That has yet to be demonstrated. The british people have remained surprisingly supportive of our “missionary foreign policy” as compared to our continental neighbours.”
    The British people are just being passive – look at how passive people can be over the constant turn-taking between Labour and Conservative, or electoral reform! – unfortunately, the elite powers-that-be have mastered their ability to influence public opinion through the media. Aside from that, I don’t see how killing civilians in the name of our so-called ‘democracy’ against yet another ‘enemy’ will do anything other than make the situation worse and entrench the worldwide system of divide and rule.

  • Conor McGovern 25th Sep '14 - 12:35am

    Forgot to add – it’s no wonder everyone’s passive, when we don’t have a real democracy to voice our opinions through.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th Sep '14 - 1:16am

    If people want to know how extreme and violent ISIS are then you should read this article written with Islamic Scholars in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world/middleeast/isis-abu-bakr-baghdadi-caliph-wahhabi.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    This is the most shocking part:

    “l Qaeda grew out of a radical tradition that viewed Muslim states and societies as having fallen into sinful unbelief, and embraced violence as a tool to redeem them. But the Wahhabi tradition embraced the killing of those deemed unbelievers as essential to purifying the community of the faithful.

    “Violence is part of their ideology,” Professor Haykel said. “For Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself.””

    We need to inform people better on the true nature of those at the top of ISIS.

  • Matthew Huntback
    The West has done a good job of radicalising various people in the world.
    How are you to tell others what to believe in a faith you know little of?
    Are jehovah’s witnesses representative of Christianity?
    Richard Dean
    Yes- the same bigotry and hatred.
    It is also true to say in post 2003 Iraq that
    The Americans killed or brutalized thousands of Arab citizens, including women and children, and made thousands homeless and possession-less.
    In fact the destabalisation of Iraq has brought the extremists to power.
    Sunni Arabs do not and never will see western Armies as liberators.

  • Mark a williams 25th Sep '14 - 8:23am

    NO

  • Eddie Sammon 25th Sep ’14 – 1:16am
    If people want to know how extreme and violent ISIS are then you should read this article written with Islamic Scholars in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world/middleeast/isis-abu-bakr-baghdadi-caliph-wahhabi.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    Eddie, thank you for providing this link.   Everyone commenting in this thread should read this and take on board the facts about the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia and not confuse them with the 99% of Muslims, including the 3 million Muslims in the UK, most of whom have been born here and lived all their Ives in the UK and would be appalled by some of the wilder comments being made by people who call themselves Liberal Democrats.

    Even if they do not read the whole piece – I hope they will read this —

    Caliph Ibrahim, the leader of the Islamic State, appeared to come out of nowhere when he matter-of-factly proclaimed himself the ruler of all Muslims in the middle of an otherwise typical Ramadan sermon. Muslim scholars from the most moderate to the most militant all denounced him as a grandiose pretender, and the world gaped at his growing following and its vicious killings.

    His ruthless creed, though, has clear roots in the 18th-century Arabian Peninsula. It was there that the Saud clan formed an alliance with the puritanical scholar Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab. And as they conquered the warring tribes of the desert, his austere interpretation of Islam became the foundation of the Saudi state.

    Much to Saudi Arabia’s embarrassment, the same thought has now been revived by the caliph, better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the foundation of the Islamic State.

    “It is a kind of untamed Wahhabism,” said Bernard Haykel, a scholar at Princeton. “Wahhabism is the closest religious cognate.”

  • Richard Dean 24th Sep ’14 – 11:08pm
    Do you really think ISIL is somehow equivalent to the Shankill butchers?

    Richard Dean, Whilst I assume this is a rhetorical question designed to score a clever debating point, I will answer it as if it were a serious question.

    No.  I do not think they are the equivalent of the Shankill Butchers. I do not think one part of Belfast is the equivalent of Syria and Iraq.  Nor do I think they are the equivalent of the KKK, which I have also made reference to in this discussion.

    I draw attention to these two examples of murderous thugs responsible for horrific killings mixing the christian religion with politics and extreme violence to provide some sort of perspective and hopefully to steer people away from comments verging on Islamaphobia.

    As you know I have repeatedly drawn attention to the Saudi royal and religious connection with The Wahhabis who are now killing and raping their way through Syria and parts of Iraq.  You and others may find this hard to stomach because of the very close relationship between our own royals and the Wahhabis who rule Saudi Arabia and a number of Gulf States. Whatever your motivation I hope you will acknowledge that the complexities of this region cannot be simply solved by a couple of weeks of long range bombing missions.

    You and others who seem keen to promote a third Gulf War in 25 years need to explain what victory will look like. What is the final objective?

    Before commiting to an endless war it might be worth spelling out how long you think it will last and what the cost will be.

  • Richard Dean 25th Sep '14 - 10:41am

    @John Tilley
    It is ISIL who have wanted to start a war – indeed they seem to want a 3rd world war. The objective you seek was clearly described by Obama, to degrade and ultimate destroy the extremely dangerous terror group ISIL. That group has declared war on just about everybody, and is doing war already in the region. Everybody has a right to defend themselves. Obviously there could be lots of other aims in terms of developing democracy and improving welfare and human rights there, but the “complexities of the region” mean that that will be a far slower process.

  • Yes, support.

    The ideology of ISIS is an evil that must be confronted, and is commiting moral atrocities at the present time; air strikes would check their ability to do this so cannot wait. I would also support intervention in Syria along the doctrine of humanitarian responsibility. The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy, so I would not insist on holding back for a Government request. Having said that, Syria is a conflict I would dearly like both sides to lose.

    BUT – two points made throughout this thread are well made and hard to argue:
    1 – we’ve got to get tough on Middle Eastern regimes that we may trade with, but have appalling human rights records. Looking at you, Saudi Arabia.
    2 – what’s the plan for afters? Air strikes might check the progress of IS, but they have popular support, and will still pose a threat. There’s no point bombing and running – we have got to find out how to plan for Governments strong enough to contain Islamic extremism themselves. We’ve had 11 years of failure on this, and I’m not convinced we’ve worked it out in that time.

  • @JohnTilley
    The goal of action is to attempt to reduce the threat from IS terrorists. Terrorism, like cancer, may never be defeated. But we still think it is worthwhile to have people undergo chemotherapy.

  • Richard Dean 25th Sep ’14 – 10:41am
    “….. The objective you seek was clearly described by Obama, to degrade and ultimate destroy the extremely dangerous terror group ….”

    So what will “ultimate destruction” of this group look like?

    Does ultimate destruction mean killing every single member of this group?
    Or does it mean destroying the religious/political fanaticism that spawned and still sponsors this group?

    If the latter, why are you not calling for air strikes on the Saudi Royal Family, along with all the other Wahhabi tyrants?

  • Green Voter 25th Sep '14 - 1:57pm

    The Saudi Royal Family is not sponsoring IS terrorism. That claim is disputed by academics

  • Richard Dean 25th Sep '14 - 3:00pm

    @John Tilley

    There have been a few suicide bombs in the famous Sunbacks coffee shops recently, and the person sitting next to you in Sunbacks right now has a bomb and is just about to detonate it. Do you

    (a) immediately try to prevent her from detonating it?
    (b) paralyse yourself by worrying about (1) her human rights, (2) whether your action needs to be consistent with the action against bombs in Noro coffee houses, (3) whether hitting hard will be successful or not, (4) what to do after you prevent her, if you indeed succeed in that limited aim, (5) how to achieve general agreement amongst other customers on what action to take, (6) whether your action should have wider aims, and (7) whether your objective has been clearly formulated and enunciated to all concerned?
    (c) run away and pretend the problem doesn’t exist?

    Remember, it’s not only your life that depends on the answer, it’s the other 50 or so customers too, and you are the only person near enough to be able to prevent her from detonating the bomb.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Sep '14 - 3:01pm

    Manfarang

    The West has done a good job of radicalising various people in the world.

    No-one else is to blame at all? Those sucked into this love of sadism, this turning girls into sex slaves have no personal responsibility for what they are doing? They are just like little kids who have no minds of their own so helplessly get pushed around by The West?

    How are you to tell others what to believe in a faith you know little of?

    Well, that makes my point well. If these ISIL people with all the horrible things they do say they are the epitome of Islam, who am I to say they are not? It is not my job to say they are not, it is up to other Muslims if they don’t think they are to convince me of that. So they had better get out and do that.

    Are jehovah’s witnesses representative of Christianity?

    Actually JWs are fairly harmless, but I do find there are certain loud-mouthed groups who deliberately make out they are just “Christian” (mostly what they mean by this is “evangelical Protestant”) and then push extremist interpretations, which I feel as someone with allegiance to a different (and I would say more correct interpretation) of Christianity I do have a duty to speak out against, especially when others take what they say and quote it as “Christianity”. Most recently I felt I had to do that here when someone was coming out and writing about “Christian Zionism” giving the impression that it is a natural and central part of Christianity to be extremely pro-Israel.

    It is also true to say in post 2003 Iraq that
    The Americans killed or brutalized thousands of Arab citizens, including women and children, and made thousands homeless and possession-less.
    In fact the destabalisation of Iraq has brought the extremists to power.

    So again, no blame at all falls on those various gangs and sectarian sorts and the like killing each other out there? All of these you think are just like little kids, only the white man has the real intelligence and authority, so he must be held responsible for all that happens there?

    Sunni Arabs do not and never will see western Armies as liberators

    Well, there you are then. If they think what ISIL is doing is bad, then they themselves must take the responsibility of stopping it. And if they do not feel it is bad, if they are content for these things to be done in the name of their religion, and will do nothing about it, then I shall view all of them as the most disgusting specimens of human beings, and their religion as something truly vile. As you say, it is not up to me to interpret their religion for me. It is up to them to persuade me that their religion is something nice and decent. The ball is in their court. Stop blaming others for what I might think when violence is done in its name.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Sep '14 - 3:16pm

    Richard Dean

    There have been a few suicide bombs in the famous Sunbacks coffee shops recently, and the person sitting next to you in Sunbacks right now has a bomb and is just about to detonate it.

    Not quite.

    The issue is more like this Sunbacks is on the other side of the world. Sure, I am powerful, I can get a bomb dropped on Sunbacks, which might kill this person, and I just might be able to do it accurately and not kill too many others. Or maybe not, these things go wrong sometimes.

    Also, there are large numbers of other people who think I am the evil one, and actually it is me who likes dropping bombs on Sunbacks and killing people. In fact the lady with the bomb in Sunbacks has been sent there by these people, who want me to drop the bomb, so they can use all the pictures of the damage caused to bystanders to say “Look what a bad person he is, look what he has done, you need us as your defenders against him”.

    And there are other people much closer to the Sunbacks who could intervene and help stop this lady and those directing her. But they want to play it both ways. Sure, they say they don’t like the lady and her bosses and what they are doing, but they also quite like the line those bosses are putting out about me. However, when other people have done similar things to what the lady is doing, they’ve been happy to push the line “It’s him – he made them do that”.

    So I think in those circumstances I would be quite right to say “Sorry, after all you’ve said about me, I’m not that happy to jump in here and stop her. I’m a bit afraid that if I do, you’ll play your usual line of blaming me for the consequences. So, hey, if you really disagree with this lady and what she’s doing, why don’t YOU go in there and stop her?”.

  • Richard Dean 25th Sep '14 - 3:22pm

    @John Tilley
    So you are going to let her kill the 50 other customers. I’d say that disqualifies you from participating in any form of moral argument, and from participation in any responsible post such as a government one. Let’s hope it’s not the LibDem position.

  • Richard Dean 25th Sep '14 - 3:38pm

    @John Tilley.
    Apologies. My last response should have been addressed to Matthew Huntbach. However, I hear on the news that there was an explosion, and that Matthew is no more. Oh well, press on !

  • Green Voter
    google Wahhabi and then google Daesh or Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

    You might want to revise your assertion that there is no connection between the Saudi royal family and the murderers of the self-styled caliphate .

  • Green Voter 25th Sep '14 - 4:27pm

    here is my source, giving the names of the 2 academics who dispute the idea that SA is behind IS terror
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/islamic-state-saudi-arabias-oil-wells-are-the-ultimate-goal-for-isis-30579087.html

  • Green Voter
    You may have decided to ignore a whole host of experts and informed opinion on this and rely instead on your two academics.
    But how independent an opinion do you think you are getting on this subject from Saud al-Sarhan who is the research director at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh ??

  • I’m all for stopping.Isis.

  • Green Voter
    Someone has kindly pointed out to me that your other not-so-independent source is no other than —

    Nawaf Obaid is a visiting fellow at the Belfer Center for 2013-2014.
    Currently, he is a counselor to both Prince Mohammad bin Nawaf, Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Prince Turki Al Faisal, who served as Saudi ambassador to the United States and was the longtime director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service.

    From 2004 to 2007, he was was Special Advisor for National Security Affairs to Prince Turki Al Faisal.

  • Green Voter 26th Sep '14 - 9:30am

    “You may have decided to ignore a whole host of expert”

    okay, you tell me. Which expert has decided that Saudi Arabia is funding IS terrorism?

    I have looked at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr_al-Baghdadi

    and see no mention of SA government funding

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Sep '14 - 5:35pm

    Richard Dean

    So you are going to let her kill the 50 other customers. I’d say that disqualifies you from participating in any form of moral argument, and from participation in any responsible post such as a government one.

    As I said, your analogy is false because I am not “sitting next to her”. Also because there is not an easy-peasy harm-free just stopping her solution.

    Saddam Hussein was killing large numbers of Iraqis. The UK government intervened, along with the USA one, to bring him down. I think that Blair really did think this would be a quick knock-out operation, just like your removal of the suicide bomber from Sunbacks. So, should we Liberal Democrats, who opposed that, be told we should be disqualified from participating in any moral argument on that basis?

    Well, we actually spent years basking in thinking we had got it right, and perhaps we had. However, just suppose it had worked out as I think Blair thought it would. Saddam Hussein deposed, a reasonable pro-western liberal government put in its place, people happy with that. Would we not be denounced as shameful people who would have let the dictator carry on with all his cruelty if we had had our way?

    The sad thing is that the readiness of so many Muslims to play the anti-western card HAS made it much more difficult for us to intervene here. This readiness to push the line that somehow Blair and Bush are guilty of all the killings that have gone on in Iraq since the invasion, and that no guilt falls on the various gangs who actually aimed the violence at each other means one is very much tempted to say “Sorry, you lot sort this out among yourselves”.

    If I felt this time we could intervene and it wouldn’t be used just to generate more anti-western fervour in the Muslim world as a whole, which some among them would use as an excise to direct actual violence at us, of course I’d support intervention. But I need some sort of guarantee from the Muslim world that it wouldn’t. And so far I haven’t had it.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 27th Sep '14 - 8:42am

    I wish to remind the ‘Hawks’ that many people joined the Liberal Democrats as a result of its ethical stance over the last Iraqi conflict which was all about regime change rather than humanitarian, and let’s face it there is nothing humanitarian about dropping bombs on people from a great height for innocent bystanders are equally maimed and killed by the shrapnel.

    I fear that many of the people who left Labour or became politicised and joined the Liberal Democrats will now be having second thoughts about remaining unless we as a Party are seen and heard to be the voice of restraint and reason.

    Although I personally see no reason for the use of air strikes, I am not naive enough not to realise that at times there is a need to use the military to undertake such things as hostage rescue missions, which by their very design are far more precise and seek to reduce casualties.

    We as a Party have now assisted in an escalation of violence which will ultimately mean putting ‘boots on the ground’ and then the death toll will include British service personnel as well as the local population. Worse still we have embarked on this road without even an exit strategy, and surely we should have realized the error of this from past experiences.

    There is now an urgent need to reassure the many individuals and communities here in the UK that this current incursion is not going to lead to a protracted campaign that has the potential to further radicalise more disenfranchised people against ‘The West’.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera
    Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrat – Vice Chair

  • Green Voter 26th Sep ’14 – 9:30am
    okay, you tell me. Which expert has decided that Saudi Arabia is funding IS terrorism?

    I have looked at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr_al-Baghdadi

    Green Voter, I am puzzled this link that you have included in your comment takes you to the article which includes —

    “According to several Western sources, al-Baghdadi and ISIS have received private financing from citizens in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and enlisted fighters through recruitment drives in Saudi Arabia in particular.[34][35][36][37]”

    Note there are four separate sources.

    But if that is not good enough for you a rather more explicit article written in August by Paul Vallely may help (link below).  It includes the following, which I think you will agree is quite clear? —
    “…..Instead we encouraged two oil-rich Arab states, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to continue arming rebel groups to oust the ruthless dictator in Damascus. Now, thanks to those weapons, one of the groups has grown into the Frankenstein’s monster of the so-called Islamic State whose brutal fighters have swept through Syria and Iraq, crucifying and beheading like a deadly inhuman tide.

    Saudi Arabia has been a major source of financing to rebel and terrorist organisations since the 1970s, thanks to the amount it has spent on spreading its puritan version of Islam, developed by Mohammed Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century.

    The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism. EU intelligence experts estimate that 15 to 20 per cent of this has been diverted to al-Qa’ida and other violent jihadists…….”

    Paul Vallely is visiting professor in public ethics at Chester University

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/isis-having-spent-billions-the-wahhabists-of-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-find-they-have-created-a-monster-30533853.html

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 27th Sep ’14 – 8:42am
    I wish to remind the ‘Hawks’ that many people joined the Liberal Democrats as a result of its ethical stance over the last Iraqi conflict ….
    I fear that many of the people who left Labour or became politicised and joined the Liberal Democrats will now be having second thoughts …

    Yes indeed Ruwan. You are absolutely right. But this is not the only policy area. Until the last four years people joined and supported the Liberal Democrats for example because of our 70 year commitment to the NHS, because we wanted the greenest government ever, because we opposed replacement of Trident, because we opposed Tuition Fees, because we opposed new nuclear power stations, because we opposed the Conservatives but were not socialist. People can add to this list, it could be much longer.

    One by one, the reasons to support the Liberal Democrats with your vote or by joining or by becoming an activist have been stripped away by Clegg as if he was hell bent on destroying the party.

    We now languish in single figures in the opinion polls (7% in YouGov this week- in fourth place behind UKIP or if you are in Scotland or Wales, in fifth place.). If Clegg had spent all his waking hours for the last seven years deliberately
    trying to destroy the party, it could not have been worse.

  • Green Voter 2nd Oct '14 - 6:23pm

    I repeat what I said before “The Saudi Royal Family is not sponsoring IS terrorism”.

    You now claim that citizens are funding. Well citizens are not the same thing as royals.
    You also say that funding has been diverted.

    Well, if the money has been stoled by terrorists, then the terrorists are responsible for that, not the royal family.

    So I stand by my claim

  • Richard Dean 2nd Oct '14 - 7:29pm

    Something to illuminate …
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2777067/ISIS-behead-five-Kurdish-fighters-including-three-women-severed-heads-shared-online-terror-fanatics.html

    Rather than fear a domestic backlash, we need to be talking in ways that make sense to those amongst us who may be vulnerable to ISIL propaganda. We need to develop our own information-sharing systems, focussing on truth and credibility, remembering that the vulnerable also include the very young. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11130463/Teen-jihadist-from-Bristol-was-Grade-A-student-with-a-bright-future.html

    And rather than the Tory strategy of expulsion, we need to welcome people back who’ve gone to ISIL and come back disillusioned. They’ll have valuable information and will be well placed to dissuade others to go.

  • Vivienne Watson 13th Oct '14 - 1:56pm

    I do not agree with the government air strikes against IS it costs a Tornado flight 57,000 an hour, what for, surely the money can be better spent in our own country

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